One of the craziest things that Elon Musk has done in his days at SpaceX is to shoot his own Tesla Roadster into space. The car left Earth atop the very first Falcon 9 Heavy rocket that the company ever launched. The vehicle has been orbiting the sun ever since. This week Starman made its closest flyby of Mars when … Continue reading
8
Musk tweeted that SpaceX will roll out a "fairly wide public beta" of Starlink in the northern US and southern Canada.
8
"Fairly wide public beta" to come after latest satellites reach target position.
2
A twin star of the Sun may have formed along with our solar system, a new study from the Center for Astrophysics finds. If confirmed, the presence of a second star would explain mysteries of the Solar System. This would mean the Oort Cloud at the edge of our system likely formed much as it is today. It would also mean that any “planet nine” beyond Neptune (should it exist) is likely a captured object from outside the Solar System. Roughly five billion years ago, the Sun formed within a birth cluster — a collection of infant stars swimming in a cloud… This story continues at The Next Web
Hubble probe readings may reveal what caused Betelgeuse to briefly dim The light from the red supergiant Betelgeuse dimmed to a record low earlier this year, leading stargazers to speculate it was about to explode as a supernova. But now it appears the aging sun merely had a stellar sneeze.…
Starlink may only have a fraction of its planned internet satellites in orbit so far, but questions are already being raised as to how SpaceX’s globe-blanketing connectivity system will avoid interfering with astronomy and stargazing.The company launched its first sixty Starlink satellites last week, part of a network of coverage that Elon Musk’s project expects to bring connectivity to users all over the world.Starlink will be, eventually, a constellation of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites.Each weighs approximately 500 pounds, and is shaped like a flat panel; that allows SpaceX to maximize the number it can include in each Falcon 9 rocket launch.Those same thrusters allow each Starlink satellite to move out of the way of a potential crash with debris or other spacecraft, and indeed to deorbit, burning up in the atmosphere in the process, at their end of their life.Eventually, SpaceX plans to have around 12,000 Starlink satellites deployed.
Last week, scientists revealed the first-ever image of a black hole at a press conference in Washington, DC.This is a huge deal, as Harvard & Smithsonian astrophysicist Center for Astrophysics physicist Grant Tremblay told Gizmodo’s Ryan Mandelbaum, “The image marks the start of a new epoch.”But here’s my question for science: Isn’t this image pretty blurry?Researchers spent probably close to a gagillion dollars on the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) system that they used to capture the hole image, and they couldn’t have, like, clicked on the screen before snapping it?After fiddling around in Lightroom, I was able to enhance the image enough to give us this clearer view of the black hole:Some other Black Hole Image Specialists were able to uncover different characteristics of the hole that scientists never would have dreamed of uncovering just decades ago.
In response to the scientific community's celebration of the publication on Wednesday of the first picture of a black hole, internet trolls painted an even darker portrait of misogyny through an effort to discredit the female postdoctoral researcher, Katie Bouman, who led the development of the imaging algorithm.Bouman, a postdoctoral fellow with the Event Horizon Telescope and an assistant professor in the computing and mathematical sciences department at Caltech, was one of more than 200 scientists who participated in the project, overseen by Shep Doeleman, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.A photo she posted to Facebook – of herself smiling expectantly as her laptop first rendered the image – was published on the New York Times website and shared on social media, which helped make her the face of the group effort, despite her own effort to share credit with her many colleagues.Congratulations to Katie Bouman to whom we owe the first photograph of a black hole ever.And here’s to more women in science (getting their credit and being remembered in history) pic.twitter.com/wcPhB6E5qK— Tamy Emma Pepin (@TamyEmmaPepin) April 10, 2019
Too often, technologists become wrapped up in doom-and-gloom predictions about job-stealing, prejudicial, and potentially murderous AI.As my colleague Khari Johnson and I have written countless times, artificial intelligence promises to transform entire verticals for the better, from health care and education to business intelligence and cybersecurity.More excitingly, it’s laying the groundwork for new industries and pursuits of which we haven’t yet conceived.This week, MIT graduate student and postdoctoral fellow with Event Horizon Telescope Katie Bouman created an algorithm — Continuous High-resolution Image Reconstruction using Patch priors, or CHIRP for short — that combined data from eight radio telescopes from around the globe to generate the first image ever of a black hole.CHIRP — a three-year collaborative effort among MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the MIT Haystack Observatory — reconstructs images while accounting for variations in signal strength, such that delays caused by atmospheric noise cancel each other out.Pieter Abbeel, a professor and director of the Robot Learning Lab at UC Berkeley and the roboticist leading the project, told The Verge that recent advances in machine learning made possible the new design, which has a bill of materials substantially lower than most comparable alternatives (around $5,000 versus tens of thousands of dollars).
The development of the algorithm that made it possible to create the first image ever of a black hole was led by computer scientist Katie Bouman while she was still a graduate student at MIT.Bouman shared a photo on Facebook of herself reacting as the historical picture was processing.The algorithm, which Bouman named CHIRP (Continuous High-resolution Image Reconstruction using Patch priors) was needed to combine data from the eight radio telescopes around the world working under Event Horizon Telescope, the international collaboration that captured the black hole image, and turn it into a cohesive image.Bouman is currently a postdoctoral fellow with Event Horizon Telescope and will start as an assistant professor in Caltech’s computing and mathematical sciences department, according to her website.The development of CHIRP was announced in 2016 by MIT and involved a team of researchers from three places: MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the MIT Haystack Observatory.As the MIT described it three years ago, the project sought “to turn the entire planet into a large radio telescope dish.”
The area immediately above our planet where most of our satellites live might seem like an inexhaustible place, but it’s not.The current shift toward low-cost launches and the use of inexpensive, compact satellites means more stuff is going into space now than at other point in our history.Obviously, collisions are unfortunate because they result in the destruction of expensive and important equipment, but smash-ups in space also generate debris.The nightmare scenario, as featured in the 2013 sci-fi film Gravity, is a gigantic ball of cascading debris spinning around the Earth, destroying anything in its path in a hypothetical prospect known as a Kessler Syndrome.“Once you start creating clouds of debris, the chances of additional accidents increase,” Jessica West, a program officer at Project Ploughshares and the managing editor of its Space Security Index, told Gizmodo.While it’s tempting to think of space as infinite backyard to send our toys, looks can be deceiving, he said.
AMADO, Ariz. -- On 17 January 2019, a prototype telescope proposed for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the prototype Schwarzschild-Couder Telescope (pSCT) is being unveiled in a special inauguration event at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) in Amado, Arizona."The inauguration of the pSCT is an exciting moment for the institutions involved in its development and construction," said CTA-US Consortium Chair David Williams, a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.The SCT's complex dual-mirror optical system improves on the single-mirror designs traditionally used in gamma-ray telescopes by dramatically enhancing the optical quality of their focused light over a large region of the sky and by enabling the use of compact, highly-efficient photo-sensors in the telescope camera."Ultimately, the SCT is designed to improve CTA's ability to detect very-high-energy gamma-ray sources, which may also be sources of neutrinos and gravitational waves," said Prof. Vladimir Vassiliev, Principal Investigator, pSCT.Three classes of telescopes (Small-, Medium- and Large-Sized Telescopes) will be used to detect gamma rays in the energy range 20 GeV to 300 TeV with about ten times increased sensitivity compared to any current observatory."The SCT and other telescopes at CTA will greatly improve upon current gamma-ray research being conducted at HAWC, H.E.S.S., MAGIC and VERITAS, the last of which is located at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory," said Dr. Wystan Benbow, Director, VERITAS.
Take a look back at some of the strangest science-related stories of this year, featuring everything from alleged meme-sparked poisonings to ludicrous medical quacks to unsettling parasitic infestations.Some blamed millennials, seeming to forget that millennials are mostly in their 30s right about now.The American Association of Poison Control Centers even went so far to issue a strong warning about the “recent trend among teenagers,” citing its own data showing that there were 39 reports of intentional laundry pod poisonings among people between the ages of 13 to 19 in the first half of January—a toll about as high as the number of cases reported in 2016 alone.So while there were a few scattered reports (and YouTube videos) of teens purposefully eating Tide Pods for the views, it’s safe to say that many more were, shock of all shocks, just joking about their culinary love of the detergent (a joke that the Onion had already made back in 2015).A spaceship that (probably) wasn’tLet’s be honest: We all want aliens to be real.
Take a look back at some of the strangest science-related stories of this year, featuring everything from alleged meme-sparked poisonings to ludicrous medical quacks to unsettling parasitic infestations.Some blamed millennials, seeming to forget that millennials are mostly in their 30s right about now.The American Association of Poison Control Centers even went so far to issue a strong warning about the “recent trend among teenagers,” citing its own data showing that there were 39 reports of intentional laundry pod poisonings among people between the ages of 13 to 19 in the first half of January—a toll about as high as the number of cases reported in 2016 alone.So while there were a few scattered reports (and YouTube videos) of teens purposefully eating Tide Pods for the views, it’s safe to say that many more were, shock of all shocks, just joking about their culinary love of the detergent (a joke that the Onion had already made back in 2015).A spaceship that (probably) wasn’tLet’s be honest: We all want aliens to be real.
More

Top