This week in space

Sorry for not doing one of these in a while folks.


SpaceX private rocket blasts off for space station

I've been waiting for this launch for quite some time. I'm glad it finally launched, once it reaches the ISS in a few days new history will be made, private space exploration (well ok not exploring anything but it is a step in the right direction).

The SpaceX company made history as its Falcon 9 rocket rose from its seaside launch pad and pierced the pre-dawn sky, aiming for a rendezvous later this week with the space station. The rocket carried into orbit a capsule named Dragon that is packed with 1,000 pounds of space station provisions.

It is the first time a private company has launched a vessel to the space station. That's something only major governments have done - until the present test flight. Launch controllers applauded when the Dragon reached orbit 9 minutes into the flight.

Read more HERE


Three-telescope interferometry allows astrophysicists to observe how black holes are fueled

I don't really see any practical use for this, understanding black holes isn't really something we need to know right now but something cool might be discovered with this instrument.

By combining the light of three powerful infrared telescopes, an international research team has observed the active accretion phase of a supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy tens of millions of light years away, a method that has yielded an unprecedented amount of data for such observations. The resolution at which they were able to observe this highly luminescent active galactic nucleus (AGN) has given them direct confirmation of how mass accretes onto black holes in centers of galaxies.

Read more HERE


Kepler satellite telescope reveals hundreds of superflares on distant stars

A BILLION times as powerful as those are sun produces... wow.

Here on Earth we are occasionally concerned about solar flares due to the impact they can have on our electrical systems. But our solar flares are puny when compared to so-called superflares that occur with other stars. A new research study by a team from Japan’s Kyoto University has found after studying one patch of sky over a 120 day period in 1990 using data from the Kepler telescope, that superflares are rather common, and as they describe in their paper published in the journal Nature, some are a billion times as powerful as those that occur with our own sun.

Read more HERE


Hubble spies edge-on beauty

Here is your beautiful image of the week!

Visible in the constellation of Andromeda, NGC 891 is located approximately 30 million light-years away from Earth. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope turned its powerful wide field Advanced Camera for Surveys towards this spiral galaxy and took this close-up of its northern half. The galaxy's central bulge is just out of the image on the bottom left.

Read more HERE