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Pythagorean Astronomy: Routine Spaceflight? – Physics and Astronomy outreach


Artist’s impression showing a two-star system where micronovae may occur.

This artist’s impression reveals a two-star system the place micronovae could happen. Credit score: ESO/M. Kornmesser, L. Calçada

It’s not typically {that a} new astronomical phenomenon is called, however this month we’ve a brand new one. The identify won’t be that unique, however there have been the primary observations of one thing often called a “micronova”. Lasting only a few hours, a micronova is far fainter than a typical “nova”, making them a lot more durable to detect, and far much less more likely to be picked up. Chris North and Edward Gomez talk about what causes these occasions.

Coming nearer to residence, spaceflight has been busy, with two missions to the House Station in April – one a part of the conventional rotation of astronauts, and the opposite a privately-funded mission from SpaceX. Does this imply that area journey is changing into routine? And is that even factor?

Most of our exploration of area is, after all, performed by robotic spacecraft, and NASA have simply introduced extensions to quite a lot of their ongoing missions. A few of which have already been going for over 20 years – take a bow, Mars Odyssey! From rovers on Mars to lunar mappers, and from asteroid encounters to voyagers into the unknown, there’s nonetheless extra thrilling science to return from these missions.

An prolonged version of an unique broadcast on fifth Might 2022 as a part of Pythagoras’ Trousers on Radio Cardiff.

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