More to Planet 9

planetnine

There is more to the Planet Nine story:  “A predicted consequence of Planet Nine is that a second set of confined objects should also exist. These objects are forced into positions at right angles to Planet Nine and into orbits that are perpendicular to the plane of the solar system. Five known objects (blue) fit this prediction precisely.” – Source: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)/NASA website

The diagram was created using WorldWide Telescope.

Note:  I meant for this to publish yesterday but I messed it up.

A Year on the ISS

Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos will be ending a year-long mission aboard the ISS.

How they adapted to the weightless environment after a  the year in space will be of great interest as well as how they re-adjust to gravity.  The findings will assist with any future long duration missions, say to Mars.

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Merging Galaxies

NGC3597

One day our Milky Way will be in the midst of a similar merger, ours with Andromeda.

The ESA description:
The subject of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is known as NGC 3597. It is the product of a collision between two good-sized galaxies, and is slowly evolving to become a giant elliptical galaxy. This type of galaxy has grown more and more common as the Universe has evolved, with initially small galaxies merging and progressively building up into larger galactic structures over time.

NGC 3597 is located approximately 150 million light-years away in the constellation of Crater (The Cup). Astronomers study NGC 3597 to learn more about how elliptical galaxies form — many ellipticals began their lives far earlier in the history of the Universe. Older ellipticals are nicknamed “red and dead” by astronomers because these bloated galaxies are not anymore producing new, bluer, stars in ages, and are thus packed full of old and redder stellar populations.

Before infirmity sets in, some freshly formed elliptical galaxies experience a final flush of youth, as is the case with NGC 3597. Galaxies smashing together pool their available gas and dust, triggering new rounds of star birth. Some of this material ends up in dense pockets initially called proto-globular clusters, dozens of which festoon NGC 3597. These pockets will go on to collapse and form fully-fledged globular clusters, large spheres that orbit the centres of galaxies like satellites, packed tightly full of millions of stars.

Image and caption: ESA/Hubble & NASA

ISRO Satellite Launch

ISRO PSLV-C31 launched the fifth satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System IRNSS-1E from Sriharikota on 19 January 2016 at 09:30 local time.  This  was the 33rd flight of PSLV launch vehicle. IRNSS-1E is the fifth navigation satellite in the IRNSS space system, comprising seven satellites.

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Planet-9 Found?

It’s possible.   We are talking about a planet around 10 times more massive than Earth and so far away it would have an orbital period of 10,000 to 20,000 years!

Here’s what NASA’s Director of Planetary Science Jim Green has to say.

 

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Aurora From Space

aurorainnw

This was the NASA Image of the Day. The aurora as seen from the ISS over the Pacific Northwest. I was outside about the right time and saw no sign of an aurora, but I DID see the planetary line-up and it was excellent, will be looking this morning too.

NASA’s image caption:

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and ESA astronaut Tim Peake shared a series of aurora photographs taken from the International Space Station on Jan. 20, 2016. Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) wrote, “#goodmorning #aurora and the Pacific Northwest! #YearInSpace” and Peake (@astro_timpeake) followed up with, “Getting a photo masterclass from @StationCDRKelly – magical #aurora”

The dancing lights of the aurora provide spectacular views on the ground, but also capture the imagination of scientists who study incoming energy and particles from the sun. Aurora are one effect of such energetic particles, which can speed out from the sun both in a steady stream called the solar wind and due to giant eruptions known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs.

Image Credit: ESA/NASA