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Nod to Arianespace for launch of ISRO satellite

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Chennai: European space agency Arianespace has got the nod to go ahead with the November 10 launch of Indian communication satellite GSAT-15 and Arabsat-6B, the agency said.

In a statement on Saturday, Arianespace said, the November 10 dual-passenger mission with Ariane 5 rocket, the spaceport in French Guiana got the authorisation after the Launch Readiness Review on November 6.

Planned during a 43-minute launch window that opens at 6:34 PM (local time in French Guiana), the Ariane 5 mission will have a total payload lift performance of 9,810 kg.

“This includes the two satellites’ mass at liftoff – 5,798 kg for Arabsat-6B and 3,164 kg. for GSAT-15 – along with launcher integration hardware and Ariane 5’s dual-passenger deployment system,” Arianespace said.

The Indian satellite GSAT-15 is designed to deliver telecommunications services, along with dedicated navigation-aid and emergency services, for India.

Built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), it will be the 19th payload launched by Arianespace for this customer – which is one of the world’s six largest space agencies.

The Indian satellite with a design life of 12 years will have 24 Ku-band transponders (automatic receivers and transmitters of radio signals) and two GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) transponders.

(IANS)
(Photo Credit: www.antar.com)

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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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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.

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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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COVID-19 Outbreak Has Reduced Pollution Levels: ESA

Satellite Data Reveals Reduced Pollution over areas hardest hit by COVID-19

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The European Space Agency (ESA) has noted a positive effect of the world-wide coronavirus outbreak, saying satellite data is showing reduced air pollution in areas hardest hit by the virus. Pixabay

The European Space Agency (ESA) has noted a positive effect of the world-wide coronavirus outbreak, saying satellite data is showing reduced air pollution in areas hardest hit by the virus.

The agency says a space observation satellite detected significantly lower levels of the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in in northern Italy and China’s Hubei province.

The ESA’s director of earth observation programs, Simonetta Cheli, says, certainly the reduction in human activity in those areas certainly played a role in reducing the pollutant. But she said the weather and how much heating is done in a given region over a period of time can also be a factor.

Pollution
A man wears a face mask as he stands along the waterfront in pollution-free Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province. Arek and Jenina Rataj were starting a new life in the Chinese industrial center of Wuhan when a viral outbreak spread across the city of 11 million. VOA

Cheli says NO2 is a short-lived pollutant, staying in the atmosphere generally less than a day before being deposited or reacting with other gases. Most emissions are generated by human activities such as traffic, energy production, residential heating and industry.

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The ESA’s Sentinel-5P iatmosphere monitoring carries a “Tropomi” instrument, which maps a multitude of trace gases, including nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols. (VOA)

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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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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)