Tag Archives: stars

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft is now flying through the stars

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft is now flying through the starsVoyager 2, at 11 billion miles from Earth, has entered the stars.  Monday morning NASA announced that the legendary exploration spacecraft had left a protective bubble produced by the sun's wind and energy, called the heliosphere, and is now hurtling through interstellar space.  Voyager 2 is the second spacecraft to ever reach the outer limits of the solar system and enter into the interstellar wilderness. Voyager 2's counterpart, Voyager 1, previously entered the stars in 2012.  "This is what we've all been waiting for," Suzanne Dodd, NASA's Voyager project manager, said in a statement. "Now we’re looking forward to what we’ll be able to learn from having both probes outside the heliopause.” The @NASAVoyager 2 probe no longer feels the solar wind & is flying through the interstellar space between the stars. It carries a working instrument providing 1st-of-its-kind observations of the nature of this gateway. Here's a look by the numbers: t.co/DuNBYPaXQj #AGU18 pic.twitter.com/GJGIgDpSHD — NASA (@NASA) December 10, 2018 Technically, however, Voyager 2 is still in the distant realms of the solar system. There are large icy objects out here, collectively known as the Oort Cloud, that are still under the gravitational influence of the sun.  Both Voyager crafts, then, aren't expected to leave the solar system anytime soon. NASA suspects it will take some 30,000 years for the Voyagers to travel beyond the Oort Cloud, and enter farther into uncharted territory.  Out beyond the heliopause, however, the Voyager craft can give NASA scientists a better idea of what it's like at the beginnings of interstellar space, and how the sun's particles and energy, or solar wind, interact with the constant flow of particles from deep, interstellar space. "To have the Voyagers sending back information about the edge of the Sun’s influence gives us an unprecedented glimpse of truly uncharted territory,” Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters, said in a statement.  The solar system and beyond.Image: NASAA specialized instrument aboard Voyager 2, the Plasma Science Experiment, played an important role in confirming that Voyager 2 had left the protective heliosphere. The instrument observed a "deep decline" in solar particles after Nov. 5, 2018, confirming the craft had entered the interstellar realm.  Both Voyagers were intended to explore the solar system for five years, but 41 years later, are still alive and sending messages back to Earth. The spacecraft are powered by slowly-decaying radioactive material, so they're not reliant upon sunlight to stay online.  The spacecraft both carry records coated in gold, with instructions of how to play 90 minutes of human-made music, containing the likes of Bach, The Najavo, and the scintillating rock and roll of Chuck Berry — should any intelligent life ever come across either of the ancient craft in the vastness of interstellar space.  WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?



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California wildfires bring apocalyptic scenes as Hollywood stars flee Malibu and 11 people die

California wildfires bring apocalyptic scenes as Hollywood stars flee Malibu and 11 people dieHollywood stars fled as wildfires raged through the celebrity enclave of Malibu burning multi-million dollar mansions and leaving apocalyptic scenes of destruction. Nine people died as a separate blaze, the most destructive ever in California, incinerated the town of Paradise in the north of the state, burning 6,700 buildings. The death toll throughout the state was t least 11. In southern California, near Los Angeles, 200,000 people were evacuated, including Malibu which stretches for 27 miles along the Pacific Ocean. A home is engulfed in flames in Malibu Credit: Reuters It is home to 13,000 wealthy residents, including some of Hollywood's biggest names. Those who own, or have owned, homes in Malibu include Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt, and Robbie Williams. Charlie Sheen, the actor, launched an appeal to find his father Martin Sheen, who lives in Malibu and couldn't be contacted. The older Sheen later turned up at an evacuation spot on a beach. A palm tree on fire in Malibu Credit: AP Addressing his son via a TV camera Martin Sheen said: "We're fine, we're at Zuma Beach and we're probably going to sleep in the car tonight." He said it was the worst fire he had seen after living in Malibu for half a century. Lady Gaga was also evacuated and photographs showed smoke swirling around her mansion. California as pictured from about 440 miles above the earth's surface today. #CampFire#WoolseyFire#HillFire#CAfires#cawxpic.twitter.com/3ULADSdSwd— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) November 9, 2018 Will Smith posted videos on the internet of the fire approaching his home and said he was evacuating his family. He said: "Our house is there…and the fire is right there. I don’t like it so we are going to go." A man watches as the Woolsey Fire reaches the ocean near Malibu Credit: AFP The home of Caitlyn Jenner, America's most famous transgender person, reportedly burned down. She said: "I don’t know if the house made it or not, it’s still up in the air." An aerial view of the fire in Malibu Credit: Reuters Kim Kardashian, the reality television star, and her family were evacuated from nearby Calabasas. She said: "I heard the flames have hit our property. I just pray the winds are in our favour. I’m just praying everyone is safe." Cher, who has lived in Malibu since 1972, said the wildfire was coming close to her home, although she was not there. She said: "Friends houses have burned. I can't bear the thought of there being no Malibu." I’m worried about my house��, but there is nothing I can do. Friends houses have burned���� I can’t bear the thought of there being no Malibu I’ve had a house in Malibu since 1972��— Cher (@cher) November 9, 2018 The flames ripped through the Paramount Ranch in Malibu destroying a Western town which which has been used as a film set for a host of Hollywood cowboy films and TV shows since the 1920s. The cowboy film set at Paramaount ranch was destroyed Credit: AP Known as the "Woolsey fire," the blaze also jumped the Hollywood freeway in places and burned all the way through the mountains to the Pacific coast. There were surreal scenes as residents of Malibu fled to beaches with their pets, included horses and llamas, which were tied to lifeguard huts like those featured in the TV series Baywatch, and enveloped by an orange haze. Pet llamas were evacuated from Malibu to the beach Credit: Los Angeles Times The giant plume of smoke hovering over Malibu was visible from space. Charlie Dresser, a Malibu resident, said: "This fire is like Armageddon. It’s out of control." California has endured drought conditions for many years. A police car driving away from Malibu Credit: AFP Donald Trump blamed mismanagement for the destructive fires and threatened to withhold government funding in future. He wrote on Twitter: "There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. "Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!" There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018 Katy Perry, the pop star, replied: "This is an absolutely heartless response. There aren't even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters." Other areas evacuated included Thousands Oaks, the scene of America's latest mass shooting when a gunman killed 12 people at a bar on Wednesday. A separate, smaller fire forced the evacuation of some animals from Los Angeles Zoo. In northern California the "Camp fire" that raced through Paradise, a town of 30,000 people, caused residents to evacuate in panic with some crashing their cars and fleeing on foot. ������ Father sings to 3-year-old daughter to keep her calm as they drive through California wildfire. At least 9 have been killed in the massive blaze and 35 people are missing. #CampFire in Northern California. #California#CaliforniaFires pic.twitter.com/HHnVy0vcBP— ernesto veles (@erveza) November 10, 2018 Some drove through walls of flame as a "firenado" – a burning whirlwind – loomed behind them. Breaking: Cal fire captain says that thousands of structures have been destroyed and multiple people are dead from #Campfire in Butte County, California. The captain said that the town of Paradise has been wiped out from the fire. pic.twitter.com/g18CzAQiLg— PM Breaking News (@PMBreakingNews) November 9, 2018 Only a small portion of the massive blaze, which is being tackled by 2,000 firefighters, has been contained. Harrowing footage captures family fleeing from the massive #CampFire as flames consumed the town of Paradise in Northern California. This family managed to escape to safety. The entire town of about 27,000 was ordered to evacuate because of the fire. pic.twitter.com/da3VqmMRnE— THE LONE PREACHER ™ (@JeanMinistries) November 10, 2018 Four of the dead were found inside a car close to Paradise. Another person was discovered nearby. Three people were found dead outside a house, and another inside their home. Mark Ghilarducci, California's director of emergency services, said: "The magnitude of destruction we have seen is really unbelievable and heartbreaking."



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YouTube Stars Shamed by Internet Trolls Over Size of Engagement Ring

YouTube Stars Shamed by Internet Trolls Over Size of Engagement RingAmong messages of congratulations were comments that mocked the ring presented to Jen Phanomrat by her fiance, Leo Samanamud.



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Bronze stars for an elite team of Air Force surgeons

Bronze stars for an elite team of Air Force surgeonsMembers of the Air Force Special Operations Surgical Team can set up an operating room on the battlefield in just 15 minutes. Their skills are tested in Syria as they treat civilians, many of them children.



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Scientists Just Got Their First Look at Light From the Universe’s First Stars

Scientists Just Got Their First Look at Light From the Universe’s First StarsThe discovery could unlock the key to elusive 'dark matter'



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Scientists uncover a signal sent out by the first stars in the universe

Scientists uncover a signal sent out by the first stars in the universeFor millions of years after the Big Bang, the universe was a cold place filled with hydrogen and helium created at the dawn of the universe.  And then, suddenly, there was light. For the first time, a team of astronomers think they've detected a signal from some of the first stars that formed less than 180 million years after the Big Bang.  Two new studies published in the journal
Nature this week detail new evidence about when those stars formed after the Big Bang.  SEE ALSO: Mysterious cosmic radio burst spotted in real time from Australia The new work also opens up questions about those early eons after the universe came to be, and may even reveal cracks in our understanding of physics.  The researchers behind the new work didn't directly see those first stars bursting into being, but they did detect a faint signal showing hydrogen gas interacting with those first stars, effectively allowing the gas to be seen at various radio frequencies.  A timeline of the universe.Image: N.R.Fuller, National Science Foundation"Finding this miniscule signal has opened a new window on the early universe,” astronomer Judd Bowman of the University of Arizona, and lead author of one of the new studies said in a statement. "Telescopes cannot see far enough to directly image such ancient stars, but we've seen when they turned on in radio waves arriving from space," he said. How they did it Bowman and his team made these measurements thanks to a small radio antenna in Australia, called EDGES, which was able to detect the faint signals from the first stars because of its remote location, far from radio signals created by humans.  What Bowman and his colleagues saw in the data appeared to confirm that those first stars formed just 180 million years after the Big Bang.  The appearance of the radio waves also seems to match the way that signal is expected to look, according to theoretical models, the study says.  “The signature of this absorption feature is uniquely associated with the first stars,” Haystack Observatory director Colin Lonsdale, who is not an author of the study but does work on instrumentation that enabled it, said in a statement.  “Those stars are the most plausible source of radiation that would produce this signal.” The research team initially looked for the signal in a different radio wavelength, and when it wasn't found, they moved to another wavelength, where they did find that tell-tale signal created by hydrogen.  Breaking physics as we know it The new research could also have some bearing on how we understand dark matter — the mysterious form of matter that hasn't been directly observed but seems to dominate 85 percent of the matter in our universe.  In theory, dark matter shouldn't interact with regular matter, but the new study shows evidence that the hydrogen that dominated the early universe was actually much colder than expected, possibly implying that dark matter could have interacted with that early gas.  In short, the new dark matter conclusions — detailed by Tel Aviv University astronomer Rennan Barkana in a separate study — could break physics as we understand it, if validated. "So far we detected dark matter only through its gravitational effect on visible matter (stars and gas). The existence of some other coupling would indicate new physics and help decipher the enigmatic nature of dark matter," Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astrophysicist Avi Loeb said via email.  "It is possible, for example, that some fraction of the dark matter has a slight electric charge, so small that we would never detect it in environments other than the cosmic dawn," Loeb, who wasn't associated with the study, added.  What's next? That said, this work is far from over.  Scientists will have a long future in front of them filled with astrophysics experiments that will hopefully help figure out exactly what's going on with this data.  EDGES ground-based radio spectrometer, CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia.Image: CSIRO Australia"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," Loeb said.  "The key for future research on this exciting frontier of the cosmic dawn would be to test the Bowman et al. result with other independent experiments." Those new experiments should be coming online in the coming years as well.  While the new studies effectively detail the results from looking at this hydrogen signal in one dimension, other observatories like the Square Kilometre Array will be able to look at that signal in 3D, according to Loeb, hopefully illuminating exactly what was going on in that early epoch of the universe.  "We should be guided by additional experiments. With future observations we will not only test the reality of the Bowman et al. signal but also be able to map the hydrogen in three dimensions…" Loeb said.  "The details of future data will reveal whether there is excess cooling and if so whether it originates from the coupling between dark matter and hydrogen." WATCH: Finding alien life won't cause chaos and panic, according to scientists



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Gymnastics stars speak out against Larry Nassar

Gymnastics stars speak out against Larry NassarAly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber, two members of the 2012 USA Gymnastics team that stole the show at the London Olympics, were among the victims to give powerful statements against Larry Nassar.



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Emma Stone, Meryl Streep And Other Stars Bring Activists To Golden Globes

Emma Stone, Meryl Streep And Other Stars Bring Activists To Golden GlobesEight actresses — Amy Poehler, Emma Stone, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams, Shailene Woodley, and Susan Sarandon arrived at the 2018 Golden Globes accompanied by female activists on the red carpet.



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Rosie O'Donnell, Zachary Quinto, Wanda Sykes and more stars react to Kevin Spacey's controversial statement

Rosie O'Donnell, Zachary Quinto, Wanda Sykes and more stars react to Kevin Spacey's controversial statementKevin Spacey's controversial statement in response to Anthony Rapp's allegations of sexual assault is being slammed by other big names in Hollywood.



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In A First, Scientists Spot Light Amid Gravitational Waves Emitted By Colliding Stars

In A First, Scientists Spot Light Amid Gravitational Waves Emitted By Colliding StarsScientists for the first time have detected both gravitational waves and light from the collision of two dead, incredibly dense neutron stars.



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