Science 

SpaceX launch today: Watch again Falcon 9 deliver Starlink and PAZ satellites into orbit

The imposing Falcon 9 took off to the deafening roar of its Merlin engines shortly after 9.17am EST (2.17pm GMT) today. Following the ten second countdown at Space Launch Complex 4, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the rocket reached top speeds of over 27,600 km/h as it entered space. Today’s SpaceX mission was divided into two stages, each with their own precious cargo payloads onboard the rocket. The first stage of the launch delivered a Spanish reconnaissance PAZ satellite into a low-orbital position over Earth. Tom Praderio, SpaceX firmware engineer,…

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Science 

SpaceX launch: Starlink and PAZ satellites successfully deployed into orbit on Falcon 9

The US-based rocket manufacturer initiated the first stage of the its ambitious Starlink project shortly after 9.17am EST (2.17pm GMT) today. Reaching a top speed of more than 27,600 km/h, the Falcon 9 blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carrying three satellite payloads.  The first stage of the mission saw the company deliver a Spanish reconnaissance PAZ satellite.  Tom Praderio, SpaceX firmware engineer, said: “The primary payload is right now gliding from that second stage. “Soon it will unfurl its own solar panels and start communicating with…

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Science 

Northern Lights forecast: Geomagnetic unrest later tonight could trigger Aurora Borealis

The Northern Lights could erupt in the arctic nightfall regions when a stream of solar winds clobbers the planet tonight. A sizeable hole in the southern reaches of the sun’s atmosphere has opened up to release intense radiation straight at Earth. The ejected solar materials could interfere with the planet’s magnetic field, prompting colourful displays of light in the night skies. SpaceWeather.com said: “Earth’s magnetic field may be disturbed on February 22 by the glancing passage of a high-speed solar wind stream.  “The gaseous material is flowing from a southern…

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Technology 

Renault Group uses old batteries and new cars to power a ‘smart island’ – Roadshow

When I hear the phrase, “smart island,” I start getting visions of Syndrome’s island lair from Pixar’s “The Incredibles.” Thankfully, Renault’s plans for Porto Santo, one of two islands in the Madeira archipelago, are slightly less nefarious. Porto Santo is a small Portuguese island off the coast of Morocco that once served as the home of Christopher Columbus and his wife. Now it’s mainly a tourist destination, which, along with the fact that consistent power generation due to isolation and geography is a challenge, makes it the ideal location for a…

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Science 

Amateur astronomer captures rare first light from massive exploding star

First light from a supernova is hard to capture; no one can predict where and when a star will explode. An amateur astronomer has now captured on film this first light, emitted when the exploding core hits the star’s outer layers: shock breakout. Subsequent observations by astronomers using the Lick and Keck observatories helped identify it as a Type IIb supernova that slimmed down from 20 to 5 solar masses before exploding.

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Science 

Aurora Borealis: NASA unravels the mystery of Northern Lights cousin – pulsating auroras

While the aurora borealis and australis, also known as the Northern and Southern Lights, have been well studied and scientists know they are created by solar particles and high energy radiation hitting the Earth’s magnetic bubble, it has been unclear what causes pulsating auroras. Pulsating auroras are only really seen near the poles, and light up the sky with brief pulses of green, purple and red. However, research uncovered by NASA’s Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) mission and Japan’s Exploration of energization and Radiation in…

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Space 

Op-ed | On the verge of a space renaissance

We are entering a renaissance era in human spaceflight. Just as the European masters brought forth a magical period of learning, discovery, invention, fine arts and music 500 years ago, with the advances in the science and technologies proliferating today, we expect a rejuvenation in human space activity in this dawn of the 21st century. The White House has moved swiftly to reinstate a newly constituted National Space Council and, in its first meeting  Oct. 5, 2017, directed NASA to conduct a 45-day study with the express aim of returning astronauts…

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Space 

Will ThinSats inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists?

When Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket blasts off from Wallops Island, Virginia, this fall on its way to the International Space Station, the rocket’s second stage will carry an unusual payload: one cubesat and 63 ThinSats, miniature satellites shaped like a slice of bread. For a year, the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, Twiggs Space Lab, Orbital ATK and NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility have been collaborating on a campaign to encourage Virginia students to design, build and test Thinsats, which are a seventh the size of cubesats. Now that cubesats have graduated…

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Science 

Northern Lights 2018: Will the cold weather spark the Aurora Borealis this weekend?

Siberian winds are set to blast into the UK this weekend from the east bringing in bitter conditions and freezing temperatures.  The cold spell has been sparked by a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) which occured around 30km above the North Pole. This event has allowed cold easterly winds to be dragged in from Eastern Europe over the weekend and into next week. Thermometers could plummet as low as -20C as a windchill will affect the south of the country, so will the cold weather spark the Northern Lights?  Will the…

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Science 

The 10,000-Year Clock Being Built in a Mountain

Photo credit: Jeff Bezos – Twitter More From Popular Mechanics The 10,000 Year Clock, a project of the Long Now Foundation, is precisely what it sounds like. This clock, a monumental structure being installed inside of a mountain in Texas, is designed to tick for 10 millennia with chimes that will ring in unrepeated patterns for all those thousand years. Now, after nearly two decades of planning and construction, it’s being installed. Jeff Bezos, who is helping to fund the project, tweeted out some footage of the process. Installation has…

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