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Strange Objects Observed by Astronomers

Space is both the final frontier and the ultimate mystery. Although from here on Earth, and from our limited ventures off-planet, we have gleaned a large amount of data about the happenings of space even well beyond our solar system, there is much that remains enigmatic and unanswered.

Strange Objects Observed by Astronomers
Image is for illustrative purposes only.

The cosmos still holds some secrets from us, and from time to time something unusual arises that leads us to rethink our old conceptions of celestial mechanics. Among the many eccentricities of the night sky observed by astronomers over the centuries are strange, often hazy, lights that appear where they should not.

Sometimes resembling stars or comets, these objects are separated from more conventional astronomical observations due to their peculiar movements and other atypical behaviors.

There is a long history of such observations, despite a modest number of reports that can be considered genuinely anomalous.

As early as 1612, German astronomer Christopher Scheiner had made numerous observations of Jupiter and its moons. In the sketches of his observations, there is an object beyond the known moons of Jupiter, as recognized today. This object, although included in Scheiner’s drawings, appears to have disappeared throughout the astronomer’s ongoing observations.

According to Scheiner, the object first appeared bright and star-like, just like the other Jovian satellites, but between March 30 and the first weeks of April, the object began to darken and eventually disappeared from view. The object is absent in Scheiner’s later drawings, apparently indicating that the mysterious Jovian ‘moon’ had disappeared.

A similar phenomenon was recorded in the early years of the nineteenth century by astronomer Hofrath Huth, who in 1802 described the sight of a round star that produced “weak reddish light” in the area of ​​Theta and Delta Leonis. The object was not stationary either, and although Huth considered it a ‘moving star’, its path indicated a retrograde motion as opposed to other stars and celestial objects. The object was observed between the first six days of January, whose onset saw the ‘star’ being slightly smaller than Jupiter’s moons. However, on January 6, the strange object disappeared and was no longer seen, except for a single observation the following year by Russian astronomer Cornelius Reissig.

A similar observation of a hazy and unusual object occurred more than three decades later, in May 1835, when Italian astronomer Niccolò Cacciatore observed an unidentified eighth-magnitude star at his observation station in Palermo. He stared at Mayer’s catalog star 503 with a circle of Ramsden (an ancient astronomical instrument designed by mathematician Jesse Ramsden to measure the positions of astronomical objects). On the first night of observation, the new star appeared behind star 503, but the next night seemed to precede it. After that, the mysterious ‘star’ was never detected again.

Most sightings of such objects in the scientific record occurred during or before the nineteenth century, after which most similar objects were classified as probable comets or, in some cases, unusual classes of asteroids, such as the Reinmuth object observed by first time in April 1932.

There have been some notable cases where star-like objects have been seen moving through space most recently. One notable circumstance of this kind involved astronomer Frank Clark, who in September 1956 noticed a starlike object passing near the planet Mars. He was able to briefly trace the object, which had a yellowish color. This sighting is noteworthy because it occurred just over a year before the Soviet Union launched its first orbiting artificial satellite on October 4, 1957, apparently discarding any space objects of artificial origin.

As fleeting as these remarks may have been, their presence in the night sky remains mysterious. “Moving stars” like these serve as reminders that occasionally there are unusual things astronomers see, which, however innocuous, defy simple classification or explanation.

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Elon Musk: ‘I will take a million people to Mars by 2050’

Elon musk, the tycoon and businessman, has surprised once again by tweeting that he will take a million people to Mars by 2050.

In several tweets released on Thursday night, the CEO of Spacex, the company that develops cutting-edge rockets, disclosed more details of its plan to colonize Mars.

As previously indicated, Musk said that in theory, 1,000 spaceships could possibly carry 100,000 people in each orbital synchronization of Earth with Mars.

Elon Musk: «I will take a million people to Mars by 2050»
Artistic representation of a city on Mars. Credit: Max Horbatiuk / artstation.com

According to Musk, the ships would depart from Earth following an orbit in a period of 30 days, taking advantage of the moment when the Earth and Mars are better aligned to make the trip, that is every 26 months.

Musk imagines that these ships will depart from Earth’s orbit for a period of 30 days, the time window when Earth and Mars are better aligned to make the trip, every 26 months.

One million people to Mars

One of the users of Twitter asked Musk, if he thinks he could take a million people to Mars, taking into account the equivalence of years and possible trips; Musk simply answered with a “yes”.

Musk said he will need his rockets to have a large load capacity to meet the goal of building a colony on Mars or on another planet.

Calculations indicate that each ship could support more than 100 tons per flight, resulting in the need that each ship might need one megaton per year in orbit, Musk indicated.

But overcoming the difficult and long journey, and once humans reach the red planet, Musk says that the work will begin.

Musk tweeted:

There will be many jobs to do. ”

Although for now, everything is based on theories and calculations, the engineers of Spacex They must work hard in these missing decades to achieve Elon Musk’s dream goal: colonize Mars.

Source: cnet


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‘A world with two stars’: a teenager discovers an unusual planet while doing internships at NASA

A 17-year-old teenager from New York (USA) discovered a planet while searching for stars as an intern at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the space agency reported this week.

Wolf Cukier, a junior in high school, had received the task of examining variations in the brightness of the stars captured by the Traffic Exoplanet Inspection Satellite (TESS). While exploring a star system located 1,300 light years from Earth, he observed what appeared to be a slight spot on one of the suns of the system called TOI 1338.

“At first I thought it was a stellar eclipse, but the timing was wrong. It turned out to be a planet, ”said Cukier.

“The planet blocked the light of those two stars, which caused a small decrease in the amount of light that reached the telescope. That was what I noticed at the beginning, ”he explained later to CBS.

Difficult to detect

Once he communicated the discovery to his mentors, they spent several weeks verifying his observation. They finally concluded that what he had discovered was a planet 6.9 times larger than ours that orbits around two stars, in what is known as a circumbinary planet.

Because these binary stars orbit each other every 15 days, it was not an easy task to distinguish the transit events from the only known planet in such a system, dubbed TOI 1338-b. Planets that orbit two stars are harder to detect than those that orbit only one.

In this case, the largest star is approximately 10% larger than our Sun, while the smallest, approximately one third of that mass, is colder and dimmer.

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Mars is losing its water much faster than previously thought

It turns out that Mars is losing its water much faster than previously thought. It is not clear if there will be any water left when the eventual human colonization of the Red Planet is undertaken.

On January 13, 2020, NASA proudly announced that it had finally selected 13 men and women, some of whom would fly to the moon and / or Mars, as part of the Artemis Program in the 2030s.

Meanwhile, an article has been published in the Science journal that the Martian colonists will have serious problems, combined with deadly space radiation and unresolved difficulties in maintaining the life of the station.

The survival ob the Red Planet is also related to water. In most cases, Mars water is in the form of ice and is not deep below the surface, but is mostly preserved in the form of ice caps at the poles. However, even there, it constantly evaporates and goes into space.

Scientists have known about this evaporation before, but it has recently turned out to be much faster than expected.

Martian Polar Cap

According to most projects, Martian colonists have to extract water from these ice caps, but when it comes time for them to be on Mars, there may no longer be any water on the planet. What will happen to the colonists? They will not be able to live long without water even if they process their urine.

Researchers led by Frank Montmesin, a scientist at the French University of Paris-Sackle, understand this threat by examining data from the Martian atmosphere over the past two years. This data is obtained from the Trace Gas Orbiter apparatus flying in orbit on the Red Planet.

It turns out that the upper atmosphere of Mars contains much more water vapor than the planet’s surface, about 10-100 times more than expected. The difference in values ​​depends on the position of the planet. Particularly rapid evaporation occurs during the Martian perihelion, when the planet is closest to the Sun.

Mars has low gravity, so it is not surprising that residual water quickly evaporates from its surface. At the same time, when getting into the upper atmosphere, under the influence of solar ultraviolet radiation, water vapor decomposes into oxygen and hydrogen atoms, which allows it to leave the Martian atmosphere even faster.

For how long Mars will have water under these conditions is still unknown. Now, however, future colonists will have to consider this Martian anomaly as well.

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