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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

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Capturing Starman from Earth

Rogelio Bernal Andreo:

Astrophotography can be applied in many different ways. I utilize technology that allows me to capture ancient photons so that I can later process and create my own interpretation of the data captured, effectively blending art and science like not many other disciplines do, but I don’t usually track “small pixels in space” (aka comets, asteroids and yes, even spacecrafts) as some of my peers do. Yet, surely enough, comes the day when someone decides to launch a cool red car “driven” by a dummy in an astronaut costume, I had but to go for it! Yeah, red sports cars make even tiny pixels look cool!

Capturing the Tesla while it speeds through the night sky was no easy task. Read his entire post to see how he did it.

/via Space.com who didn’t directly link to his blog. Why do online publications do this? It is evil.

Shooting a car at Mars

Space X  (watch this video):

The first test flight of Falcon Heavy is targeted for Tuesday, Feb. 6th at 1:30 PM ET from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.

With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)—a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel–Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost.

That’s tomorrow. And what this release doesn’t state is that they are putting a Tesla Roadster (which has a starting price of $250,000 USD) in Falcon Heavy’s cargo bay and, wait for it… are shooting it into orbit around Mars.

A luxury sports car is being shot from Earth to Mars. This is something that is happening tomorrow.

1I/2017 U1 `Oumuamua

ESO:

For the first time ever astronomers have studied an asteroid that has entered the Solar System from interstellar space.

!!!!!!

This created a unique problem for the naming of this object.

The IAU also created a new class of objects for interstellar asteroids, with this object being the first to receive this designation.

When these types of things break I like to allow a little bit of time for more research, observations, and perspectives to be published. I’ve been soaking in everything I can about this object over the last few days. The entire thing is so so cool.

What a year it has been in astronomical observations!

August’s kilonova in NGC 4993

Robert Naeye for Astronomy magazine, on the instrumentation that detected a 130M year-old kilonova:

The LIGO and Virgo instruments detected a crescendo of waves for a whopping 100 seconds — much longer than previous detections. The duration, amplitude, and frequency of the waves had all the characteristics that theorists have expected for a binary system consisting of two neutron stars on a death spiral ending with coalescence.

I haven’t written too much about this event yet. Mostly because I’ve been devouring as much information about it as I’ve been able to find time for.

The series of events that led to the construction of LIGO and Virgo are incredible enough on their own. The subsequent series of events leading to the direct observation of a kilonova are downright unbelievable.

Naeye’s piece is great and goes into detail. But it merely scratches the surface. I urge you to pour over this event on your own to see how astounding this observation really was.

ESO observes kilonovae

European Southern Observatory:

ESO’s fleet of telescopes in Chile have detected the first visible counterpart to a gravitational wave source. These historic observations suggest that this unique object is the result of the merger of two neutron stars. The cataclysmic aftermaths of this kind of merger — long-predicted events called kilonovae — disperse heavy elements such as gold and platinum throughout the Universe. This discovery, published in several papers in the journal Nature and elsewhere, also provides the strongest evidence yet that short-duration gamma-ray bursts are caused by mergers of neutron stars.

Just two neutron stars makin’ it rain.

What an incredible observation. Well done ESO.

Update: Here is the timelapse.

Clark Telescope, Keystone Observatory – September 2017

Kip Thorne wins the Nobel

Nobel Media AB:

On 14 September 2015, the universe’s gravitational waves were observed for the very first time. The waves, which were predicted by Albert Einstein a hundred years ago, came from a collision between two black holes. It took 1.3 billion years for the waves to arrive at the LIGO detector in the USA.

A prize 1.3 billion (the gravitational waves), and over 100 years (Einstein’s theory), and 40 years (LIGO) in the making.

Rainer Weiss is the primary prize winner while Kip and Barry C. Barish jointly share the other half. Congratulations to all.

Cassini dies tomorrow

Lee Billings for Scientific American:

All good things must come to an end.

For NASA’s Cassini orbiter—its fuel dwindling after 13 years exploring Saturn, along with the planet’s sprawling rings and dozens of icy moons—the end will come Friday at 7:55 A.M. Eastern time. That’s when mission planners project radio communications will be lost with the two-ton, bus-size spacecraft as it plunges into the giant planet’s turbulent atmosphere at more than 122,000 kilometers per hour.

What a legacy.

Repost: Emily Lakdawalla on Voyager’s 40th Anniversary

👉 Emily Lakdawalla on The Planetary Society blog:

The fact that both Voyager spacecraft are still functioning and doing science, 40 years after their launches, is reason for optimism. We can build robust, adaptable machines capable of surviving unpredicted storms and responding to new discoveries. We can build them, launch them, and stably operate them for four decades, and more. Can we now turn those skills homeward, to building an adaptable and sustainable society? Who knew that rocket science would be the easy part?