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Astronomers building small space telescope to explore nearby stars

The telescope uses a mirror system with coatings optimized for ultraviolet light. Together with the camera, the system can measure very small changes in the brightness of M dwarf stars to carry out the primary science of the mission.

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The name of the stars which astronomers will study are called M-Dwarfs. Pixabay
The name of the stars which astronomers will study are called M-Dwarfs. Pixabay
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  • Astronomers are building a space telescope to study the nearby stars.
  • the telescope will be small along with a camera attached to it.
  • Studying these nearby stars will help astronomers help study the way planets orbit around the stars.

Astronomers are in the process of building a small space telescope to explore the flares and sunspots of small nearby stars to assess how habitable the space environment is for planets orbiting them.

The telescope with a diameter of 9 centimetres, or 3.6 inches, will be fitted on a spacecraft known as the Star-Planet Activity Research CubeSat, or SPARCS to be launched in 2021, to focus on stars that are small, dim and cool by comparison to the sun.

Astronomers through this feat will be able study the path of planets.
Astronomers through this feat will be able study the path of planets.

These stars — known as M dwarfs — are less than half the sun’s size and temperature and they shine with barely one per cent of its brightness.

The telescope will be built alongside a camera with two ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive detectors to be optimised for observations using UV light, which strongly affects the planet’s atmosphere and its potential to harbour life on the surface.

“People have been monitoring M dwarfs as best they can in visible light. But the stars’ strongest flares occur mainly in the ultraviolet, which Earth’s atmosphere mostly blocks,” said Evgenya Shkolnik, Assistant Professor at the Arizona State University.

Although the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope can view stars at ultraviolet wavelengths unhindered, its overcrowded observing schedule would let it dedicate only the briefest of efforts to M dwarfs.

Telescope can view stars at ultraviolet wavelengths unhindered. Wikimedia Commons
Telescope can view stars at ultraviolet wavelengths unhindered. Wikimedia Commons

The telescope uses a mirror system with coatings optimized for ultraviolet light. Together with the camera, the system can measure very small changes in the brightness of M dwarf stars to carry out the primary science of the mission.

M dwarfs are exceedingly common that they make up three-quarters of all the stars in our Milky Way galaxy as well as nearly 40 billion rocky planets in habitable zones around these stars, meaning that most of the habitable-zone planets in our galaxy orbit M dwarfs.

Capturing lengthy observations of M dwarfs will let astronomers study how stellar activity affects planets that orbit the star. IANS

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New Study Shows That Binaries From Globular Clusters Can be Detected by LISA

The European Space Agency's next-generation Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) gravitational wave detector can potentially detect dozens of binary files in the globular clusters of the Milky Way, scientists say.

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In particular, these models suggest that the Kuiper Belt -- a cold region beyond the orbit of Neptune -- should contain a small fraction of rocky bodies from the inner solar system, such as carbon-rich asteroids, referred to as carbonaceous asteroids.
representational image, pixabay

The European Space Agency’s next-generation Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) gravitational wave detector can potentially detect dozens of binary files in the globular clusters of the Milky Way, scientists say.

Globular clusters are dense environments containing millions of tightly packed stars and are efficient factories for gravitational wave sources.

LISA, which is expected to be in space in 2034, will be able to detect binary sources — pairs of orbiting compact objects.

These binary sources will contain all combinations of black hole, neutron star and white dwarf components.

While 150 globular clusters have been observed so far in the Milky Way, one out of every three clusters will produce a LISA source.
Representational image. Pixabay

LISA will also be sensitive to gravitational waves of a lower frequency than those detected by the Earth-bound Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

“LISA is sensitive to Milky Way systems and will expand the breadth of the gravitational wave spectrum, allowing us to explore different types of objects that aren’t observable with LIGO,” said lead author Kyle Kremer, a doctoral student at the Northwestern University in Illinois, US.

While 150 globular clusters have been observed so far in the Milky Way, one out of every three clusters will produce a LISA source.

Approximately eight black hole binaries will be detectable by LISA in our neighbouring galaxy of Andromeda and another 80 in nearby Virgo, the study showed.

The research, published by the journal Physical Review Letters, is the first to use realistic globular cluster models to make detailed predictions of LISA sources.

Also Read: NASA Is Sending a Helicopter to Mars in 2020 

The team used more than a hundred fully evolved globular cluster models with properties similar to those of the observed globular clusters in the Milky Way.

The models were run on Quest, Northwestern’s supercomputer cluster. This powerful resource can evolve the full 12 billion years of a globular cluster’s life in a matter of days. (IANS)