How to watch Mercury travel across the face of the Sun on Monday

On Monday, November 11, the planet Mercury will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun in an event that will not happen again before thirteen years. During this transit, Mercury will be visible as a tiny layer of darkness on the surface of the sun.

This transit will begin at 7:35 am ET and will last approximately five and a half hours, which will allow people all the time to be aware of the progress of the planet. Weather permitting, locals from South America and East North America will have the best view of the entire transit, but from other regions of the world, including western North America, Europe and Africa, will be able to catch up with at least part of the action.

If you want to enjoy the show, do not forget that looking directly at the sun is very dangerous. Also, unlike a solar eclipseyou probably will not see anything without specialized equipment – and your spare eclipse glasses do not matter. As NASA Notes on a post About the transit: "Even with solar viewing glasses, Mercury is too small to be easily seen by the naked eye." You'll need a telescope or binoculars with a special sunscreen to monitor transit .

If you do not have a telescope equipped with a solar filter, or local astronomy club or observatory nearby, you can always watch the fun. Slooh The show will be broadcast live around 7:30 am ET. NASA Observatory of solar dynamics will also follow the event and will download images of the event as it happens.


the last time Mercury transited the Sun was in May 2016 when astronomers managed to capture some incredibly sharp images – and great pictures– of the event.

This particular event is a big deal for astronomy enthusiasts. Mercury will not make another transit until 2032, when it will be visible in most countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia and South America. North Americans will wait even longer – the next visible Mercury crossing will be in 2049.

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SpaceX and Cape Canaveral Return to Action with First Operational Starlink Mission

SpaceX and Cape Canaveral return to action with the first Starlink operational mission –

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NASA’s Voyager 2 Discovers New Details About Interstellar Space

About a year ago, the Voyager 2 spacecraft from NASA's US space agency left our solar system. Several reports recently released in Nature Astronomy describe the main scientific discoveries of the spacecraft.

NASA says Voyager 2 mission leads to new discoveries on the border that divides our solar system from interstellar space. "Interstellar" means "between the stars". However, scientists have defined interstellar space as the place where the continuous flow of matter and magnetic fields from the sun stops touching its environment.

The interstellar space is estimated to be about 18 billion kilometers from the Earth.

What did the spaceship find?

Project researchers say that Voyager 2's scientific instruments have discovered unexpected differences in plasma density, a collection of charged particles in the solar system.

The concept of this artist represents NASA's Voyager spacecraft on a background of stars. (Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech)

NASA also reports that new research reports confirm that the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 aircraft appear to be in a difficult situation. of transition area just beyond the heliosphere. The heliosphere is a protector bubble who protects our solar system. It is created by the solar wind formed of charged particles. The boundary of the solar system – the place where the solar wind ends and begins the interstellar space – called the heliopause.

The team reported that Voyager 2 data suggest that the heliopause appears to be much thinner than expected.

Edward Stone is a physicist at the California Institute of Technology and a project manager for the Voyager program. Stone told reporters that the results represent "a very exciting time for us".

He said in a statement that the Voyager 2 mission provided details of how the sun interacts with materials that occupy most of the space between stars in the galaxy of the Milky Way.

The concept of this artist puts into perspective the great distances of the solar system. The scale bar is measured in astronomical units (AU), each defined distance beyond 1 AU representing 10 times the previous distance. (NASA)

The concept of this artist puts into perspective the great distances of the solar system. The scale bar is measured in astronomical units (AU), each defined distance beyond 1 AU representing 10 times the previous distance. (NASA)

The researchers said Voyager 2 had also confirmed the existence of a "magnetic barrier" at the outer edge of the heliosphere, predicted by the theory and observed by Voyager 1.

"Without this new Voyager 2 data, we would not know if what we saw with Voyager 1 was feature from all over the heliosphere, or specific just when and where he went through, "said Stone.

Leonard Burlaga is a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and a senior researcher in one of the reports. He told the French news agency AFP that there were some surprises. "Opposite According to all expectations and predictions, the direction of the magnetic field did not change when Voyager 2 went through the heliopause, "he said.

The probe also collected information on incoming cosmic rays, particles that hit the Earth from anywhere beyond its atmosphere. The data showed that the rays became stronger as the Voyager explorers approached the heliopause.

This undated artist concept describes NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft entering interstellar space, or space between stars. The Voyager 1 spacecraft was officially the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space, according to a NASA statement.

This undated artist concept describes NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft entering interstellar space, or space between stars. The Voyager 1 spacecraft was officially the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space, according to a NASA statement.

The origins of the Voyager spaceship

Voyager 2 was one of two explorers launched by NASA in the summer of 1977. The other was Voyager 1. The two spacecraft were first designed to perform studies over Jupiter and Saturn.

Later, Voyager 2 completed the first ever closer observations of Uranus and Neptune. Air travel involving the four planets is now known as Voyager's "Grand Tour".

The two spacecraft then embarked on a new mission to explore areas on the edge of the influence of the sun.

The two Voyagers – built for the first time to last only five years – have long survived their operational lives. But after 42 years of action, they should both run out of power and shut up within five years.

The Voyager 2 spacecraft flew near Triton, a moon of Neptune, in the summer of 1989. (Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Lunar and Planetary Institute)

The Voyager 2 spacecraft flew near Triton, a moon of Neptune, in the summer of 1989. (Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Lunar and Planetary Institute)

However, that does not mean that they will disappear. Bill Kurth, a researcher at the University of Iowa and co-author of one of the research reports, said he expects space explorers to survive longer than Earth. "They have been in their own orbit around the galaxy for five billion years or more," he said, "and the likelihood that they run into anything is almost nil."

I am Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from NASA, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

Are you interested in research related to interstellar space and beyond? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Quiz – NASA Voyager 2 discovers new details on interstellar space

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Words in this story

mission not. an important task, usually involving displacement

bubble not. an enclosed or isolated space

of transition adj. switch from one system or method to another

feature adj. typical of someone or something

specific adj. a particular thing and not something general

opposite adj. opposite or very different

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Panoramic Image of Southern Sky Shows Our Galaxy and Others Beyond

This mosaic of the southern sky was assembled from 208 TESS images. Among the many remarkable celestial objects visible are the glowing strip (left) of the Milky Way, our domestic galaxy seen from the side, the Orion Nebula (top), a nursery for the new stars, and the Great Magellan cloud (center), a neighboring galaxy located approximately 163 000 light-years away. NASA / MIT / TESS / Ethan Kruse, USRA

This striking image shows the vast sea of ​​stars in the southern sky, reproduced by NASA's planet-hunting satellite, the Satellite of study in transit on the exoplanets (TESS) during its first year of activity.

The image is divided into 13 sectors, each of which has been imagined by TESS for nearly a month to collect all the required data. In total, 208 images were assembled to form this mosaic representing almost the entire southern sky. Black bars in the image are areas where there are gaps between sensors in the TESS camera system.

In the middle of the image, from top to bottom, you can see the bright glow of the milky way. That's because our galaxy is disc-shaped, and when the disc is seen from the back, it appears a thin white band. The picture also shows the Orion Nebula, up, and our neighboring galaxy, the Great Magellanic Cloud, close to the center. You can download a massive high definition version of the image right here see the many stars in all their glory.

"TESS data analysis focuses on individual stars and planets, but I wanted to take a step back and highlight everything, really highlighting the spectacular view that TESS offers us on the whole sky," NASA postdoctoral fellow Ethan Kruse, who assembled the mosaic at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement. declaration.

TESS uses the data collected to hunt exoplanets. In its first year, the satellite discovered 29 exoplanets, including a giant gas baby, rocky planets nearby, potentially habitable planets, and even a planet where you do not have to be. In total, he has collected more than 20 terabytes of data, including 1000 other candidate planets that are currently under study.

After mapping the southern sky, TESS will now focus on the north to spend the next year looking for new exoplanets in the northern skies.

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Why Astronomers Worry About the Brightness of SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite Megaconstellation

SpaceX plans to launch the second installment of his Starlink megaconstellation Monday, November 11, and astronomers are waiting to see – finally, what they will see.

When the company launched its first series of Internet Starlink satellites in May, those whose eyes were attentive to the night sky immediately realized that the objects were incredibly bright. Concerned professional astronomers satellites would interfere with scientific observations and the appreciation of stars by amateurs.

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NASA to send Israeli solar-power generator to International Space Station – Israel News

View of the complete installation at which the tests will be carried out as part of the NASA Materials International Space Station experiment.

A new prototype miniaturized solar power generator developed in Israel will be sent by NASA to the International Space Station during its first launches in 2020. The new generator was designed by Ben Gurion University of the Negev Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Gordon – funded by a research grant from the Department of Science, Technology and Space – and by his American colleagues from Pennsylvania State University, University of Toronto Illinois, George Washington University, US Naval Research Laboratory, HNU Systems, and Northwestern University. Its design and verification were published in the journal Optics Express.

The prototype consists of a compact, low-mass molded glass solar concentrator, which is linked to a monolithic integration of transfer-printed small size solar cells. Each of these cells consists of a variety of different materials that, in tandem, can effectively exploit and utilize the solar spectrum.

In particular, it has been demonstrated that the generator provides unprecedented specific power while having a general optical tolerance with respect to correction errors: in particular, pointing errors to the sun, structural vibrations and thermal deformation.

The new generator has a thickness of 1.7 mm. and 0.65 mm. solar panels. However, the team is currently working on a second-generation model, which should be able to further increase the power output, and which will rely on the use of solar panels only about a quarter of the width (0.17 mm ), and are currently under development at the US Naval Research Laboratory. In comparison, the thickness of a piece of paper is only a little more than half, to 0.1 mm. Since the dimensions of the solar concentrator are the size, this second generation generator will have a total thickness of less than 1 mm.

The prototype will be sent to the ISS at the first launch of NASA in 2020 to test it correctly in space, taking into account the effects of cosmic radiation and extreme temperature differences. After verification of the integrity and robustness of the generator set under space conditions, US agencies will use future models for missions requiring high power for electric propulsion as well as for missions to distant spaces.

However, a small step for public space agencies is a giant leap for private commercial space missions.

Unlike state-funded space initiatives, for which cost is a smaller problem, cost is critically important for private commercial space missions. While private space companies have reduced their launch costs, solar generators now account for a much larger share of the total cost of the system. As a result, it is becoming increasingly urgent to develop and implement an efficient and cost-effective solar energy solution for the multi-billion dollar booming private space market.

The generator will not be the first invention developed by Israel to be sent in space by NASA. Last week, the agency sent AstroRad radiation protection vests the ISS, bringing the Israeli flag to the station for the first time in history. The vests were hailed as essential for future missions to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon, as well as for missions sending astronauts to Mars.

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Studying The Ripple Effects Of Shrinking Arctic Sea Ice

Arctic sea ice is one of the most dramatic indicators of climate change. The ice cover on the Arctic Ocean is in a few months or so half of what it was decades ago, and its thickness has decreased, according to some estimates, 40%.

Changes in the ice can also mean a host of other changes, in the Arctic system and around the world. To better understand this, scientists have froze an icebreaker next to an Arctic pack ice that they will observe for a whole year.

The project is called MOSAiC, a multidisciplinary observatory drifting for the study of the Arctic climate. And what are the main questions they are trying to answer: what are the causes of the decline in Arctic ice and what are the consequences?

At about 5 degrees North Pole, ocean physicist Tim Stanton of the Naval Postgraduate School stands next to a hole in the ice, surrounded by boxes of tools and equipment.

"I just have to have the" hair dryer, "he says, eyeing two electrical connectors for a science buoy to be heated to a temperature of 18 degrees Fahrenheit.

A hair dryer? He says, "Well, it's a heat gun" what's it called "… he said." It's going to curl your hair, that's for sure! "

Stanton is in the midst of an exhausting eight-hour process to install the buoy about 15 miles from where the MOSAiC ship, the German icebreaker Polarstern, is docked.

This is part of a network of distributed equipment around the Polarstern and operating autonomously throughout next year. It will provide additional data on what is collected at the central research camp on the ice next to the ship.

The buoy is a big yellow banana gear, with a bunch of scientific bells and whistles hanging in the water.

"The flow pack goes up here," says Stanton, pointing to a cylindrical instrument with sensors that will pull up a metal rail suspended vertically in the water. "And that is what measures heat transport, salt and momentum in the water column."

Stanton wants to collect data on these attributes of the ocean as he thinks that this could help explain why sea ice is disappearing as fast as it is.

"At first glance, it must be obvious, no, you add heat, you melt the ice," he says. "But it's so complicated."

As the sea ice melts in the summer, it brings cooler water to the top of the ocean. The more salty seawater, which is lower because it is denser, can create a barrier preventing cooler water from getting off.

Stanton thinks that if this surface water stays trapped near the surface all summer, it can absorb much more heat from the sun and generate even more melting ice.

"You can get those cool, warm layers that, when a little wind blows, does a little mixing, really melts the devil on the ice," he says.

While Stanton asks questions about what's going on under the ice, other scientists are looking into the situation.

Jessie Creamean, from Colorado State University, for example, is on the ice trying out a device that collects and counts tiny particles in the atmosphere called aerosols.

"Alright, little aerosol sampler, is fine today," says Creamean, closing a pelican holster the size of a carry-on bag. She has already tested it in Colorado, but today 's experiment aims to check its effectiveness in cold weather.

People may be more familiar with aerosols created by pressurized cans like hairspray, but it's just a type. aerosols can also come from natural sources such as dust, pollen, mushrooms or sea salt, and they are actually seeds that clouds must form and grow.

In the Arctic, scientists believe that microbes in the ocean, such as bacteria and algae, can generate aerosols. And Creamean hypothesizes that less ice on the Arctic Ocean could mean that more aerosols would be blown from the water into the atmosphere and seed more clouds.

The mechanism for this could be twofold: more sunlight reaching the ocean as sea ice decreases and possibly causing increased growth of microbes, as well as increased contact between the ocean and the sea. 'atmosphere.

MOSAiC scientists are interested in clouds because they play an important role in regulating temperature, just like a thermostat. Depending on the season, whether the clouds cover the water or the ice, as well as their properties, they can cool down or warm the earth.

"It affects the amount of heat that can actually help melt the sea ice, or even reflect sunlight from the pack ice," says Creamean. "He therefore has an important role to play in controlling the amount of sea ice that we have here."

Creamean and Stanton are among hundreds of scientists from different disciplines who are trying to better understand this changing region.

"We're looking at interactions in the system," said Matthew Shupe, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one of the expedition's coordinators.

"The way the atmosphere interacts with sea ice, how the ocean interacts with sea ice, ecosystem, biogeochemical processes," he said.

The main purpose of collecting all these data is to improve the way the Arctic is represented in climate models. These are computer simulations used by scientists to estimate things such as the amount of heat the Earth could heat in the next 50 years.

The better you reflect the functioning of reality in simulation, the better your prediction. But as little is known about the functioning of the Arctic Ocean system, Shupe explained that predictions about how the Arctic would react to climate change vary widely.

"The Arctic is a place where models are the least in agreement," he says. "So that tells us that we are missing something."

Projected changes in the Arctic – as when the Arctic Ocean will see its first summer without ice – are obviously important to the region. local ecosystem, for Arctic communities, and for anyone interested in doing commercial activity In the region.

But this research will also help scientists understand the impact of changes in the Arctic on other parts of the planet. For example, this could help scientists understand the possible links between global warming in the Arctic and extreme weather events at middle latitudes.

"We need to understand physics and, ultimately, improve our models that can help us answer these questions," said Shupe.

It will also help scientists anticipate how quickly the Greenland ice cap could melt, which would raise sea levels globally, and improve forecasts of global temperature rise over the next few years. years.

By traveling the Arctic Ocean for the next year and observing how all the smaller components of the Arctic system fit together, scientists hope to be able to clarify these big questions.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit

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Why Are People Left- (or Right-) Handed?

The first time you caught a pencil as a small child, you probably felt more comfortable and more natural to draw with one of your hands than the other.

By excluding the small number of truly ambidextrous people – those who can use their right and left hands with equal ease – humans usually have a dominant hand (and one side of their body) that they favor for everyday tasks.

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Asteroid Bigger Than the Eiffel Tower Approaching Earth at 20 Times the Speed of Sound


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Discovered in 2006, this object cuts the Earth's orbit twice a year and is described as "potentially dangerous" because of its proximity to our planet during its overflights.

NASA warned that a mammoth asteroid with fast approach would fly over the Earth in less than two weeks.

The rock of space, identified 481394 (2006 SF6), is estimated at about 610 meters (2,000 feet) wide. This is twice the size of the Eiffel Tower, six football fields.

The 2006 SF6 is expected to get closer to Earth on Wednesday, November 20, at less than 0.029 astronomical unit above our heads, or 4.35 million kilometers. It will fly at an astonishing speed of 27,000 km / h, about 22 times the speed of sound.

Discovered in 2006, this asteroid passes twice a year and is designated as "potentially dangerous". It belongs to the group of Asteroids Aten, whose orbits sometimes cross that of our planet.

Its projected trajectory shows that there is virtually no chance of collision in the next two centuries – which is rather good, given that such a gigantic rock could destroy a metropolis during one of its otherwise mundane visits. .

Any asteroid or comet orbiting less than 50 million kilometers from Earth – like SF6 2006 – is described as an object close to the Earth (NEO).

According to NASA's Global Defense Officer Lindley Johnson, NEOs "could potentially be the most devastating natural disaster that humans have ever known."

On more than 600,000 asteroids roaming our solar system, scientists have cataloged about 20,000 NEOs. The European Space Agency has listed more than 800 of these members on their "risk list", which means that astronomers should monitor them.

NASA announced last week that an asteroid the size of Burj Khailfa (the tallest building in the world) would flying over our planet the day after Christmas.

And in September, the agency acknowledged that she had identified an asteroid the size of a car just hours before it enters the atmosphere and is there burned.

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SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites on Falcon 9 Rocket

CAP CANAVERAL, Florida – SpaceX plans to launch its Falcon 9 rocket Monday morning with 60 satellites on board.

The launch is part of the Starlink mission, which forms a constellation of satellites to provide broadband Internet services around the world.

For the first time, the company will reuse a nose cone from a previous launch. The nose cone protects the satellites during their journey in space.

The launch window opens at 9:51 am EST.

Watch Spectrum News 13 for live coverage.


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Climate change: Melting Arctic ice may be causing a deadly virus to spread in marine mammals

A deadly virus is spreading rapidly in Arctic marine mammals. In a new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, scientists have discovered a link between the disease and melting sea ice because of climate change.

The phocine distemper virus (PDV) is a known pathogen of some seal populations for decades, resulting in several mass mortality events Tens of thousands of animals since 1988. Similarities in the epidemics cause scientists to question the circulation of the virus in seal species around the world.

When the virus began to spread among the species of otters, seals and sea lions in the north of the Pacific Ocean, scientists have melting ice could be the culprit.

According to a new study, the phocine distemper virus (VDP) is spreading in otters, seals and sea lions, probably as a result of melting Arctic sea ice.

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The researchers studied 15 years of monitoring 2,500 marine mammals from various locations over a period of 15 years to determine if the increases in VDP corresponded to the declines in sea ice. Arctic sea ice during the same period and examined blood samples and nasal smears from 165 dead animals associated with ice.

In one case, scientists discovered that a record amount of sea-ice melt in August 2002 was followed by a widespread epidemic of VDP in North Sea Steller Sea Lions in 2003 and 2004. During in those years, more than 30% of the animals tested were positive for the virus. .

"The loss of sea ice causes marine fauna to search for and seek new habitats and to remove this physical barrier, allowing them to follow new paths," writes the author. Dr. Tracey Goldstein told BBC News. "When animals move and come into contact with other species, they offer the opportunity to introduce and transmit new infectious diseases, with potentially devastating impacts."

The melting of sea ice is one of the most obvious indicators of recent decades.

US climate report warns of damage to the ocean and calls for immediate action

according to a recent report According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the planet has reached a tipping point where some of the most serious consequences of climate change can no longer be avoided. Ice in Greenland, Antarctica and other mountain glaciers around the world continues to melt at an accelerated rate due to pollution trapping heat human activities.

The resultant sea ​​level rise around the world is already threatening coastal populations, fish stocks and endangered species.

"These sea-ice changes in September are probably unprecedented for at least 1,000 years," said The IPCC said in the report. "The Arctic sea ice has thinned, parallel to the transition to a younger ice.Between 1979 and 2018, the actual proportion of multi-year ice of at least five years decreased from 39, about 90%. "

The researchers concluded that the melting of Arctic sea ice caused by climate change driven by the human paved the way for the spread of the POS virus in new areas and the infection of new marine mammal populations, particularly along the northern coast of Russia and northern Canada.

Scientists believe that the spread of pathogens could become more common as the ice continues to melt, which would affect more species.

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New study suggests the universe may actually be a giant loop

The universe could actually be curved, like a giant inflated balloon, according to a new study.

A study published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy examines the data of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), which is the weak echo of the "Big Bang", to conclude that the universe is not flat. The results, however, contradict the years of conventional wisdom in astronomy.

According to researchers, if the universe is curved, this curve is soft.

The idea that if you traveled far into space beyond our galaxy moving in a straight line – you'd finally be back to where you started – is known as a "closed universe".

Most scientists believe rather in the idea of ​​a "flat universe" that extends in all directions and does not loop on itself.

The researchers claim to have found an anomaly in the CMB, which provides crucial information about the universe.

According to the most recent information, there would be many more CMB "gravitational lenses" than expected – which means that gravity seems to bend CMB microwaves more than current physics can explain.

Alessandro Melchiorri, cosmologist at the Sapienza University of Rome explained to Live Science that the closed universe model raises a whole series of problems for the field of physics.

"I do not want to say that I believe in a closed universe," he told Live Science. "I'm a little more neutral. I would say, wait for the data and what the new data will say. What I believe is that there is a gap now, that you have to be careful and try to find out what produces this gap. "

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