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China Switches On World’s Largest Single-Dish Radio Telescope FAST

With a diameter of 500 meters (1,640 feet), the telescope, which cost nearly 1.2 billion yuan to build, dwarfs the 300 meter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico

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Telescope. Wikimedia

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The world’s largest single-dish radio telescope — Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) — has received its first signals from space. The behemoth, nestled in a natural crater in Guizhou Province in southwest China, will now be tested for three years before it becomes fully operational. “This is very exciting,” Peng Bo, FAST deputy….repubhubembed{display:none;}


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Astronomers Discover More Than Hundred Minor Planets Located at far Reaches of Social System

For the study, published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, the researchers used data from Dark Energy Survey (DES), an international collaborative effort to map hundreds of millions of galaxies

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Solar System
After many months of method-development and analysis, the researchers found 316 TNOs, including 245 discoveries made by DES and 139 new objects that were not previously published. Pixabay

Astronomers have discovered more than 100 new trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), minor planets located in the far reaches of the solar system.

For the study, published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, the researchers used data from Dark Energy Survey (DES), an international collaborative effort to map hundreds of millions of galaxies, detect thousands of supernovae, and find patterns of cosmic structure that will reveal the nature of the mysterious dark energy that is accelerating the expansion of our universe.

The study also describes a new approach for finding similar types of objects and could aid future searches for the hypothetical Planet Nine and other undiscovered planets.

“The number of TNOs you can find depends on how much of the sky you look at and what’s the faintest thing you can find,” said Gary Bernstein, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

Using the first four years of DES data, Pedro Bernardinelli from the University of Pennsylvania started with a dataset of seven billion “dots,” all of the possible objects detected by the software that were above the image’s background levels.

He then removed any objects that were present on multiple nights – things like stars, galaxies, and supernova – to build a “transient” list of 22 million objects before commencing a massive game of “connect the dots,” looking for nearby pairs or triplets of detected objects to help determine where the object would appear on subsequent nights.

With the seven billion dots whittled down to a list of around 400 candidates that were seen over at least six nights of observation, the researchers then had to verify their results.

“We have this list of candidates, and then we have to make sure that our candidates are actually real things,” Bernardinelli said.

Solar System, Planet, Planetary System, Orbit, Sun
Astronomers have discovered more than 100 new trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), minor planets located in the far reaches of the solar system. Pixabay

To filter their list of candidates down to actual TNOs, the researchers went back to the original dataset to see if they could find more images of the object in question.

Bernardinelli developed a way to stack multiple images to create a sharper view, which helped confirm whether a detected object was a real trans-Neptunian object.

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They also verified that their method was able to spot known trans-Neptunian objects in the areas of the sky being studied and that they were able to spot fake objects that were injected into the analysis.

After many months of method-development and analysis, the researchers found 316 TNOs, including 245 discoveries made by DES and 139 new objects that were not previously published. (IANS)

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Astronomers Discover “Mini-Moon” Which is Temporarily Orbiting The Earth

Our permanent Moon is an average of 384,400 km away from Earth

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Earth
The orbit of the newly discovered object, 2020 CD3, shows that it entered Earth's orbit some three years ago, The Minor Planet Center (MPC) of the International Astronomical Union confirmed. Pixabay

Astronomers have discovered that a car-sized second natural satellite, commonly called a mini-moon, is temporarily orbiting Earth for the past three years.

“Earth has a new temporarily captured object/possible mini-moon called 2020 CD3. On the night of Feb. 15, my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Teddy Pruyne and I found a 20th magnitude object,” Kacper Wierzchos, a researcher with the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab, tweeted this week.

The orbit of the newly discovered object, 2020 CD3, shows that it entered Earth’s orbit some three years ago, The Minor Planet Center (MPC) of the International Astronomical Union confirmed.

“The object has a diameter between 1.9 – 3.5 metre (6.2 and 11.5 feet) assuming a C-type asteroid albedo. But it’s a big deal as out of approximately 1 million known asteroids, this is just the second asteroid known to orbit Earth (after 2006 RH120, which was also discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey),” Wierzchos said.

In its official designation, MPC had stated that orbit integrations indicate that “this object is temporarily bound to the Earth.”

“No evidence of perturbations due to solar radiation pressure is seen, and no link to a known artificial object has been found. Further observations and dynamical studies are strongly encouraged,” it added.

In an article published in The Conversation on Thursday, David Rothery, Professor of Planetary Geosciences at The Open University in Britain explained that the so-called “mini-moons” like this one come and go, and the newly found object is probably already on its final loop before breaking free.

These “mini-moons” do not orbit for long as gravitational pulls from the Sun and Earth’s permanent moon make their orbits unstable. The initial approach of the newly discovered mini-moon towards the Earth suggests that it was captured into orbit at a somewhat greater distance than the Earth’s permanent moon, Rothery said.

Our permanent Moon is an average of 384,400 km away from Earth.

Planet, Moon, Orbit, Solar System, Space, Earth, Globe
Astronomers have discovered that a car-sized second natural satellite, commonly called a mini-moon, is temporarily orbiting Earth for the past three years. (Representational Image). Pixabay

While astronomers believe that there is at least one mini-moon orbiting Earth at any given time, they often go undetected due their their relatively small size.

Until now, only one such satellite has been discovered — a three feet wide asteroid called 2006 RH120, which orbited Earth for 18 months in 2006 and 2007.

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The new mini-moon, 2020 CD3, was discovered using a 1.52-metre telescope at Mount Lemmon Observatory near Tucson, Arizona on February 15. (IANS)

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Astronomers Use Massive Cluster of Galaxies as X-Ray Magnifying Glass to Spot Tiny Dwarf Galaxy

What they detected appears to be a blue speck of an infant galaxy, about 1/10,000 the size of our Milky Way, in the midst of churning out

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Astronomers, Galaxies, X-Ray
While galaxy clusters have been used to magnify objects at optical wavelengths, this is the first time scientists have leveraged these massive gravitational giants to zoom in on extreme, distant, X-ray-emitting phenomena. Pixabay

Using a massive cluster of galaxies as an X-ray magnifying glass, astronomers have spotted a tiny dwarf galaxy in the first, super-energetic stages of star formation.

The new lens technique allowed the astronomers to peer back in time, to nearly 9.4 billion years ago.

While galaxy clusters have been used to magnify objects at optical wavelengths, this is the first time scientists have leveraged these massive gravitational giants to zoom in on extreme, distant, X-ray-emitting phenomena.

What they detected appears to be a blue speck of an infant galaxy, about 1/10,000 the size of our Milky Way, in the midst of churning out its first stars — supermassive, cosmically short-lived objects that emit high-energy X-rays, which the researchers detected in the form of a bright blue arc.

Astronomers, Galaxies, X-Ray
The new lens technique allowed the astronomers to peer back in time, to nearly 9.4 billion years ago. Pixabay

“It’s this little blue smudge, meaning it’s a very small galaxy that contains a lot of super-hot, very massive young stars that formed recently,” said Matthew Bayliss, a research scientist in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.

“This galaxy is similar to the very first galaxies that formed in the universe … the kind of which no one has ever seen in X-ray in the distant universe before.”

The detection of this single, distant galaxy is proof that scientists can use galaxy clusters as natural X-ray magnifiers, to pick out extreme, highly energetic phenomena in the universe’s early history, Bayliss said.

“With this technique, we could, in the future, zoom in on a distant galaxy and age-date different parts of it — to say, this part has stars that formed 200 million years ago, versus another part that formed 50 million years ago, and pick them apart in a way you cannot otherwise do,” said Bayliss.

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The findings have been published in the journal Nature Astronomy. (IANS)

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