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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
  • 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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Astrology, Zodiac Sign and COVID-19: What is the relation?

An astrologer's take on COVID-19 and the future

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COVID-19 astrology
Astrology predicts, guides and provides remedies. Pixabay

Renowned astrology researcher, Mahesh Bang, speaks to IANSlife on his prediction on whats in store for the future and also some of the reasons why COVID 19 struck.

It has been over a month since the entire world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic. While many countries are on a complete lockdown to save their citizens from getting infected, many others are taking necessary precautions to update their medicines and help themselves as well as others.

Bang has outlined specific details to correlate this virus to astrological factors. In his view, astrology predicts, guides and provides remedies.

The famous researcher, currently settled in South Africa states, “when planets Saturn and Jupiter come together in one zodiac sign, in approximately 20 years, it affects America, Europe and the Indian subcontinent negatively, giving birth to a pandemic type of situation.”

COVID-19 astrology
According to astrology, by end of September 2020 we may get some relief from COVID-19. Pixabay

Few of the biggest historical events which occurred, whenever these planets were in one Zodiac sign or very closely associated in the last 100 years cycle are:

1920: Spanish flu Pandemic

1939 – 1945: Second world war

1962 – 1965: Indo-China war and Indo- Pakistan war

1981: HIV virus pandemic,

Mid 1999 – 2001: Kargil war, Bhuj earthquake

6th November 2019 – 30th June 2020: Australia fire, America-Iran tussle and COVID 19

“Astrology is an ancient spiritual science rooted in astronomy which sheds insight into the past and future through the positioning of the celestial bodies, nine planets and the twenty-seven Nakshatras (lunar constellations) in our solar system.”

At an event in December, he said, “On this Christmas 2019 there are 6 planets coming in one zodiac sign and it is an extremely rare configuration. As these planets revolve around the Sun at different revolving speeds, which happens only three to four times in a century. This equation was present during the First and Second world war, Indo -china war and during the plague. Whenever such a configuration occurs, it calls for attention from the entire world.”

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Bang claims he cautioned the world, indicating that it would be tough for the world. He also states he initially alluded to the pandemic last year and went on to repeat the impact and gravity about the negative incident that would emerge.

COVID-19 astrology
Renowned astrology researcher, Mahesh Bang, speaks to IANSlife on his prediction on whats in store for the future and also some of the reasons why COVID 19 struck. (Representational Image). Pixabay

When COVID-19 was limited only to China, Bang is believed to have cautioned that the period between March 29 and June 30 would be tough for the world. Talking about the same, he had shared, “Astrologically it is not easy to predict as the situation has intensified on a global scale. Only divine intervention will help us to overcome this pandemic quicker. This is the time we all need to take care of the environment and do more introspection and focus on our goal in human life and humanity.”

The Vedic scholar has predicted that things will return to normal, in all aspects, for the entire globe from November 21, 2021, when the planet Jupiter transits over into Aquarius. “We must acknowledge that the global horoscope is overpowering each country’s horoscope for a few months. Due to the rare configuration that occurred in December last year, we need to understand that it will take time,” he said.

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He further added,

“However from 15th May to 30th June when two major planets will be in retrograde, while they are already situated together in one zodiac sign, it will be the peak of COVID-19 in India and few other countries. By end of September 2020 we may get some relief from COVID-19. However, beginning of next year is again another unfavourable planetary alignment will take place.”

Adding, “This pandemic is a story of humankind and nature. In the age of technology, we moved so fast that we forgot our role in the universe, now is the time to rethink and make necessary changes. We are merely the galloping horses and Mother Nature will always hold the reins.” (IANS)

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ESA Observes Strong Reduction in Ozone Concentrations Over Arctic

Satellite Indicates 'Mini-Hole' in Arctic Ozone Layer

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Ozone Hole arctic
European Space Agency (ESA) satellite say they have observed a strong reduction in ozone concentrations over the Arctic. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Scientists studying data from a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite say they have observed a strong reduction in ozone concentrations over the Arctic, creating what they are calling a “mini-hole” in the ozone layer.

The ozone layer is a natural, protective layer of gas in the stratosphere that shields life from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, often associated with skin cancer and cataracts, as well as other environmental issues.

Ozone Hole arctic
This image made available by NASA shows a map of a hole in the ozone layer over Arctic region. VOA

The “ozone hole” most often referenced is over Antarctica, forming each year. But observations scientists made at the German Aerospace Center in the last week indicate ozone depletion over northern polar regions as well.

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The scientists refer to the Arctic depletion zone as a “mini-hole” because it has a maximum extension of less than a million square kilometers, which is tiny compared with the 20 million- to 25 million-square-kilometer hole that forms over the Antarctic.

Also Read- Here’s How the Lockdown Has Affected New Delhi

ESA released an animation using data from its satellite showing daily ozone levels over the Arctic from March 9 to April 1. Scientists say unusual atmospheric conditions, including freezing temperatures in the stratosphere, led ozone levels to drop in the region. (VOA)

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Know Here About What Actually Makes Saturn’s Upper Atmosphere So Hot

As the spacecraft observed the stars rise and set behind the giant planet, scientists analysed how the starlight changed as it passed through the atmosphere

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Saturn
Electric currents, triggered by interactions between solar winds and charged particles from Saturn's moons, spark the auroras and heat the upper atmosphere. Pixabay

New analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini mission may finally explain why the upper layers in the atmospheres of gas giants — Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune — are hot, just like Earth’s.

As unlike Earth, the Sun is too far from these outer planets to account for the high temperatures, their heat source has been one of the great mysteries of planetary science Auroras at the planet’s north and south poles might be keeping the upper layers of Saturn, and possibly the other gas giants so hot, according to the findings published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Electric currents, triggered by interactions between solar winds and charged particles from Saturn’s moons, spark the auroras and heat the upper atmosphere. “The results are vital to our general understanding of planetary upper atmospheres and are an important part of Cassini’s legacy,” said author Tommi Koskinen, a member of Cassini’s Ultraviolet Imaging Spectograph (UVIS) team.

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“They help address the question of why the uppermost part of the atmosphere is so hot while the rest of the atmosphere — due to the large distance from the Sun — is cold.” Managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, Cassini was an orbiter that observed Saturn for more than 13 years before exhausting its fuel supply.

The mission plunged it into the planet’s atmosphere in September 2017, in part to protect its moon Enceladus, which Cassini discovered might hold conditions suitable for life. But before its plunge, Cassini performed 22 ultra-close orbits of Saturn, a final tour called the Grand Finale.

It was during the Grand Finale that the key data was collected for the new temperature map of Saturn’s atmosphere. For six weeks, Cassini targeted several bright stars in the constellations of Orion and Canis Major as they passed behind Saturn.

NASA
New analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini mission may finally explain why the upper layers in the atmospheres of gas giants — Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune — are hot, just like Earth’s. Wikimedia Commons

As the spacecraft observed the stars rise and set behind the giant planet, scientists analysed how the starlight changed as it passed through the atmosphere. Measuring the density of the atmosphere gave scientists the information they needed to find the temperatures. They found that temperatures peak near the auroras, indicating that auroral electric currents heat the upper atmosphere.

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And both density and temperature measurements together helped scientists figure out wind speeds. Understanding Saturn’s upper atmosphere, where the planet meets space, is key to understanding space weather, and its impact on other planets in our solar system and exoplanets around other stars. (IANS)