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Topic: Einstein

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope data helps astronomers calculate Mass of a White Dwarf

 

Written by Kailash Sahu
Space Telescope Science Institute

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationBaltimore, MD – Astronomers have used the sharp vision of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to repeat a century-old test of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The Hubble team measured the mass of a white dwarf, the burned-out remnant of a normal star, by seeing how much it deflects the light from a background star.

This observation represents the first time Hubble has witnessed this type of effect created by a star. The data provide a solid estimate of the white dwarf’s mass and yield insights into theories of the structure and composition of the burned-out star.

Looks can be deceiving. In this Hubble Space Telescope image, the white dwarf star Stein 2051B and the smaller star below it appear to be close neighbors. The stars, however, reside far away from each other. Stein 2051B is 17 light-years from Earth; the other star is about 5,000 light-years away. Stein 2051B is named for its discoverer, Dutch Roman Catholic priest and astronomer Johan Stein. (NASA, ESA, and K. Sahu (STScI))

Looks can be deceiving. In this Hubble Space Telescope image, the white dwarf star Stein 2051B and the smaller star below it appear to be close neighbors. The stars, however, reside far away from each other. Stein 2051B is 17 light-years from Earth; the other star is about 5,000 light-years away. Stein 2051B is named for its discoverer, Dutch Roman Catholic priest and astronomer Johan Stein. (NASA, ESA, and K. Sahu (STScI))

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NASA’s Journey to Mars builds ground work for missions beyond our Solar System

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Humanity’s great leap into the space between the stars has, in a sense, already begun. NASA’s Voyager 1 probe broke through the sun’s magnetic bubble to touch the interstellar wind. Voyager 2 isn’t far behind. New Horizons shot past Pluto on its way to encounters with more distant dwarf worlds, the rubble at the solar system’s edge.

Closer to home, we’re working on techniques to help us cross greater distances. Astronauts feast on romaine lettuce grown aboard the International Space Station, perhaps a preview of future banquets en route to Mars, or to deep space.

A selfie taken by Curiosity the Mars rover in the Murray Buttes area. NASA’s Journey to Mars, a plan aimed at building on robotic missions to send humans to the red planet, could be helping lay the groundwork. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

A selfie taken by Curiosity the Mars rover in the Murray Buttes area. NASA’s Journey to Mars, a plan aimed at building on robotic missions to send humans to the red planet, could be helping lay the groundwork. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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Austin Peay State University student Mary Sencabaugh creates mural honoring 2017 eclipse

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – On the afternoon of August 21st, 2017, the skies over Clarksville will go dark for approximately two minutes as a total solar eclipse blacks out the sun.

A once-in-a-lifetime event, the eclipse figures to draw hundreds of amateur and professional stargazers to town for the brief opportunity to witness history.

APSU student Mary Sencabaugh's Eclipse Mural.

APSU student Mary Sencabaugh’s Eclipse Mural.

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovers universe expanding faster than expected

 

Written by Donna Weaver / Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationBaltimore, MD – Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that the universe is expanding 5 percent to 9 percent faster than expected.

“This surprising finding may be an important clue to understanding those mysterious parts of the universe that make up 95 percent of everything and don’t emit light, such as dark energy, dark matter and dark radiation,” said study leader and Nobel Laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University, both in Baltimore, Maryland.

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows one of the galaxies in the survey to refine the measurement for how fast the universe expands with time, called the Hubble constant. (NASA, ESA and A. Riess (STScI/JHU))

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows one of the galaxies in the survey to refine the measurement for how fast the universe expands with time, called the Hubble constant.
(NASA, ESA and A. Riess (STScI/JHU))

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NASA to conduct long term space flight experiment on Twins

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Consider a pair of brothers, identical twins. One gets a job as an astronaut and rockets into space. The other gets a job as an astronaut, too, but on this occasion he decides to stay home. After a year in space, the traveling twin returns home and they reunite.

Are the identical twins still … identical?

NASA is about to find out.

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Astronomers look to make bigger Telescopes like NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – More than 400 years ago, Galileo turned a primitive spyglass toward the sky, and in just a few nights learned more about the unseen heavens than all of the scientists and philosophers before him, combined.

Since then astronomers have been guided by a simple imperative: Make Bigger Telescopes. As the 21st century unfolds, the power of optics has grown a million-fold.

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NASA study reveals results of Black Hole Observations

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – A new study by astronomers at NASA, Johns Hopkins University and the Rochester Institute of Technology confirms long-held suspicions about how stellar-mass black holes produce their highest-energy light.

“Our work traces the complex motions, particle interactions and turbulent magnetic fields in billion-degree gas on the threshold of a black hole, one of the most extreme physical environments in the universe,” said lead researcher Jeremy Schnittman, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

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NASA’s Kepler space telescope discovers White Dwarf bending light of nearby Star

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Kepler space telescope has witnessed the effects of a dead star bending the light of its companion star. The findings are among the first detections of this phenomenon — a result of Einstein’s general theory of relativity — in binary, or double, star systems.

The dead star, called a white dwarf, is the burnt-out core of what used to be a star like our sun. It is locked in an orbiting dance with its partner, a small “red dwarf” star. While the tiny white dwarf is physically smaller than the red dwarf, it is more massive.

This artist's concept depicts a dense, dead star called a white dwarf crossing in front of a small, red star. The white dwarf's gravity is so great it bends and magnifies light from the red star. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept depicts a dense, dead star called a white dwarf crossing in front of a small, red star. The white dwarf’s gravity is so great it bends and magnifies light from the red star. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) helps scientists measure the spin rate of a Black Hole

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Two X-ray space observatories, NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton, have teamed up to measure definitively, for the first time, the spin rate of a black hole with a mass 2 million times that of our sun.

The supermassive black hole lies at the dust- and gas-filled heart of a galaxy called NGC 1365, and it is spinning almost as fast as Einstein’s theory of gravity will allow. The findings, which appear in a new study in the journal Nature, resolve a long-standing debate about similar measurements in other black holes and will lead to a better understanding of how black holes and galaxies evolve.

This artist's concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA uses Supercomputer Simulations to Uncover Secrets of Merging Black Holes

 

Written by Francis Reddy
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – According to Einstein, whenever massive objects interact, they produce gravitational waves — distortions in the very fabric of space and time — that ripple outward across the universe at the speed of light.

While astronomers have found indirect evidence of these disturbances, the waves have so far eluded direct detection. Ground-based observatories designed to find them are on the verge of achieving greater sensitivities, and many scientists think that this discovery is just a few years away.

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