Showing posts with label astronomy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label astronomy. Show all posts

WA Meteorite Makes Things Clearer for Astronomers

Science: the latest meteorite give insight into formation of the solar system
Scientists are interested in a space rock. The meteorite crashed into the Australian outback a year ago and has unique features. It is currently in London undergoing tests and will eventually be returned to the Museum of Western Australia.
Western Australian Meteorite
The meteorite is small, only as big as a tennis ball. Because its trajectory was tracked its origin is known. This is unusual: of the 50,000 meteorites that have hit the Earth over the last 200 years  the sources of only 10 have been ascertained.

Tracking of the meteorite was carried out by Curtin University, London's Imperial College and the Ondrejov Observatory in the Czech Republic. The point of impact was only 100m from the projected point. Meteorites are the oldest rocks being 4.5 billion years old. Critical information about the formation of the solar system will be gained.
 Astronomy by Ty Buchanan 
 Australian Blog
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Australia Involved in New Telescope Technology

Australia continues to make great strides in new developments thus helping the world move forward. For such a small country in population terms it is in the big league.

CSIRO as always is at the forefront, leading the research team. Recently in Western Australia the SKA Pathfinder radio telescope (ASKAP) took a photo of the sky with much improved clarity and over a larger area than ever before. It is much faster as well.

Professor Brian Boyle said a new era for astronomy has arrived. ASKAP is part of the International Square Kilometer Array (SKA) with South Africa. Scientists are so impressed they are touring Europe explaining their results.

The aperture-synthesis telescope is the first of its type to be used. CSIRO's phased array has perfected the system. Performance is much better than current telescopes. Photos are created from radio waves.

A massive area of 10 square degrees is covered, which is 50 times bigger than the a full moon. The "snap" is just that: the series of nine overlapping pictures are taken and composed into one photos in one snap. However, the time to scan takes 12 hours. The telescope "freezes" in one position while the stars and Earth continue to move. Surveying of the sky is at least 50 times faster than current telescope systems and will be made even quicker in the near future.
Technology by Ty Buchanan
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Venus Orbit Not Constant

It is presumed that planets are changing orbital speed at exceedingly slow rates and it will take millions of years for any significant alteration in the "balance" of orbits in the solar system. This theory has recently been confounded.

Venus was thought to be in a fixed orbit of 243.0185 days, but when astronomers went looking for it, it was found 20 kilometers further back than it should have been. Calculations showed the orbit had slowed by 6.5 minutes.

This will mean that computer computations will have to be altered for future planetary probes to Venus. This is a drastic rethink for scientists. For some reason Venus is affected more by fierce weather conditions and planetary gravitational interaction than other planets.

There could be a simpler explanation. Venus could be travelling at different rates in its orbit due to getting close to other planets. It could be a normal slow down period.
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Hubble Constant for Speed of Universe Expansion Defined by Australian Student

Australia has determined how fast the Universe is expanding. A student planning to study a PhD, Florian Beutler, has measured the Hubble constant. This is a special number that enables measurement of the age and size of the Universe.

The Universe continues to expand with galaxies moving apart. Direction and speed that galaxies move are easy to measure, but distance of separation is more difficult. In the past, brightness of galaxies has been used to define this distance. Florian Beutler used data from a survey carried out with the UK's Schmidt Telescope to make calculations using a new method.

Galaxies are in clusters throughout the Universe. The 6dF survey provided information about these clusters which enabled distant to be defined with an error of less than 5 per cent. The speed of expansion is very close to the figure determined by other methods. The Hubble constant is 67.0 +/- 3.2 km s-1 Mpc-1.
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