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Incredible satellite photos reveal Sahara snow can be seen from SPACE

The images were captured by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite earlier this month, revealing snow-covered dunes in north-west Algeria, on the edge of the desert. The Sahara, the largest desert on earth, where temperatures can reach a sweltering 117 degrees Fahrenheit, is generally better known for sandstorms than snowstorms. But the images, taken on January 8, show some areas blanketed by up to to 15 inches of the stuff after it fell the day before. The snowfall occurred in the lower Saharan Atlas mountain range, and is very…

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Space 

Finnish president signs space act as country’s first commercial SAR microsatellite launched

WARSAW, Poland — Shortly after a Finnish company successfully launched the country’s first commercial SAR microsatellite, Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö signed the country’s first comprehensive space legislation. The act was drafted by a working group set up to establish a clear framework for the country’s space industry. The legislation creates regulations for local satellite operators, a licensing scheme for space industry players, and the rules for maintaining a national satellite register. The act’s signing Jan. 12 was preceded by the launch of the country’s first commercial synthetic aperture radar (SAR)…

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Technology 

Newly spotted asteroid slips by Earth and nearby satellites – CNET

Space rock block party! ESA Lots of overheated headlines in tabloids and other publications this week have been screaming about a large, “potentially hazardous” asteroid set to pass close by Earth.  Meanwhile, a newly discovered car-size asteroid passed over 100 times closer to us on Thursday — coming near the altitude where many man-made satellites orbit — and hardly anyone noticed.  Asteroid 2018 BD flew by our planet at a distance of about 22,000 miles (35,406 km) at 7:43 a.m. PT, just seven hours after being discovered via the Catalina Sky…

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Science 

North, east, south, west: The many faces of Abell 1758

Resembling a swarm of flickering fireflies, this beautiful galaxy cluster glows intensely in the dark cosmos, accompanied by the myriad bright lights of foreground stars and swirling spiral galaxies. A1758N is a sub-cluster of Abell 1758, a massive cluster containing hundreds of galaxies. Although it may appear serene in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, the sub-cluster actually comprises two even smaller structures currently in the turbulent process of merging.

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Science 

Europe's space agency braces for Brexit fallout

The European Space Agency has successfully launched a series of satellites as part of its ambitious Copernicus project tracking the Earth’s changing land cover and pollution (AFP Photo/Stephane CORVAJA) More Paris (AFP) – The European Space Agency (ESA) is drawing up contingency plans for projects, commercial deals, and staffing that may be adversely affected by Brexit, senior officials said Wednesday. Programmes throw in flux by Britain’s pending departure from the European Union (EU) include the Copernicus satellite constellation to monitor environmental damage, and the Galileo satellite navigation system. “It is…

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Space 

Ariane 5 down to two dozen launches before Ariane 6 takes over

WASHINGTON — European launch provider Arianespace expects to conduct just 23 more Ariane 5 launches before the next-generation Ariane 6 becomes its primary rocket. The final Ariane 5s will launch between 2020 and 2022, overlapping with the first three years of Ariane 6 missions. Arianespace ordered the final 10 Ariane 5 boosters Jan. 9, placing a billion-plus euro contract with ArianeGroup to build the rockets while spinning up the first Ariane 6 rockets. Currently a mainstay of the space launch sector, the Ariane 5 has launched 96 times since debuting…

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Science 

REVEALED: Scientists find ‘KEY CLUE to Alien life’ in meteorites that SMASHED into earth

GETTY Chance of alien life after scientists find water in meteorites In 1998, two meteorites smashed into the earth, with one landing near a basketball court in Texas and the second crashing into Morocco. Now 20 years later, it is believed that they contained chemical components. The meteorites are filled with both liquid water and a mix of complex organic compounds, including hydrocarbons and amino acids it is believed. A study released on January 10 by the journal Science Advances, showed the first chemical study of organic matter and water…

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Science 

The universe still seems to be expanding faster than it ought to

The bright Cepheid variable star at the center of the image, RS Puppis, rhythmically brightens and dimsNASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-Hubble/Europe Collab. By Leah Crane The heat death of the universe is coming for us, but we don’t know when. The cosmos is constantly expanding, and the speed of that inflation is measured by a value called the Hubble constant. We have two ways to determine this rate, and they have always returned different values, leaving researchers at an impasse. A new study of the stars we use to measure the distance…

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Science 

Hidden exoplanets could be revealed by echoing light

A shadow may not be the only way to spot alien worldsNASA, ESA, L. Calçada By Shannon Hall Echoes can reveal the unseen. Similar to how a killer whale can “see” through pitch-black water by bouncing high-frequency sound waves off objects, we could use light to discover exoplanets. Whenever a star emits a bright flare of radiation, some of its light may reach Earth where astronomers will measure a burst of brightness – but the display isn’t over. Because the light emanates in all directions, it will also head towards…

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Science 

The ugly, fractured reality of the cosmos deserves our attention

Not all the universe is in balanceNASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) By Geraint Lewis Why would cosmologists, philosophers, astronomers and particle physicists gather to talk about symmetry? It sounds odd. But symmetry in a law of nature implies something extremely powerful and beloved of physicists: conservation. It is a difficult concept though. To make life easier, consider Newton’s classical mechanics, via an experiment of throwing a ball. We get the same result in London as in Sydney, showing Newton’s ideas have “translational symmetry” – it doesn’t matter…

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