Astronomers are about to photograph a black hole


The effort to better understand Black Hole will be ramped up in April, when the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) attempts to capture our first image of a Black Hole and its event horizon.

The target of the EHT is none other than Sagittarius A*, the monster black hole that lies in the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Though the EHT will spend 10 days gathering the data, the actual image won’t be finished processing and available until 2018.

The EHT includes super-stars of the astronomy world like the Atacama Large Millimeter Array(ALMA) as well as lesser known ‘scopes like the South Pole Telescope (SPT.) Advances in very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) have made it possible to connect all these telescopes together so that they act like one big ‘scope the size of Earth.

The combined power of all these telescopes is essential because even though the EHT’s target, Sagittarius A*, has over 4 million times the mass of our Sun, it’s 26,000 light years away from Earth. It’s also only about 20 million km across. Huge but tiny.

The EHT is impressive for a number of reasons. In order to function, each of the component telescopes is calibrated with an atomic clock. These clocks keep time to an accuracy of about a trillionth of a second per second.

The effort requires an army of hard drives, all of which will be transported via jet-liner to the Haystack Observatory at MIT for processing. That processing requires what’s called a grid computer, which is a sort of virtual super-computer comprised of 800 CPUs.

The power of the EHT will help us clarify our understanding of black holes enormously. If we see what we think we’ll see, it confirms Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, a theory which has been confirmed observationally over and over. However, if EHT sees something else, something we didn’t expect at all, then that means Einstein’s General Relativity got it wrong. Not only that, but it means we don’t really understand gravity.

In physics circles they say that it’s never smart to bet against Einstein. He’s been proven right time and time again. To find out if he was right again, we’ll have to wait until 2018.


Unbelievable facts about the biggest star in universe


Biggest stars in Universe video:

VY Canis Majoris is a red supergiant star located in Canis Major constellation. This star is the biggest and brightest known to humankind.

Star was discovered in 1801 by french astronomer Jerome Laland. VY Canis Majoris is in our Milky Way, 4892 light years from Earth. Its radius is 1500 times bigger than Sun’s and it could fit inside million Earth planets. Furthermore, supergiant’s diameter reaches 2,4 million kilometers. If this star would replace the Sun, it would reach Saturn’s orbit. In addition, this star’s mass is bigger than the Sun’s only by 10-25 times. Its surface reaches 3200 °C while Sun’s surface 5600 °C. Star is brighter than Sun around 250 000- 500 000 times.

Supergiant star is very rare in our galaxy. To tell the truth, most stars in our galaxy are smaller than the Sun. Big stars burn their energy really fast and die after few million years. In comparison, smaller stars, like our Sun, counts their age in billion years.

Scientists calculated that VY Canis Majoris already burnt about half of its mass and that its age reaches around 10 million years. That leads to the conclusion that this star will blow up and become supernova in 100 000 years time. After star blows up it will probably form a black hole.

Nokia 3310 is making a comeback!


Nokia is going to bring back the historic 3310 in the biggest tech comeback of all time. A homage to the Finnish giant’s classic feature phone will reportedly be released later this month when HMD unveils its new range of Nokia branded devices at Mobile World Congress.

The Nokia 3310, which was first released in 2000, was beloved for a days-long battery life, ability to withstand great falls, and the classic game Snake.

The nostalgia-inducing phone, which hasn’t been available for some years, will probably get a refresh, although it is not entirely clear how modernised it will be. Furthemore, The updated Nokia 3310 will cost €59 and is designed to be a second phone.

There are few details about the new phone’s features and how it will work. The original Nokia 3310 could make calls and send text messages, but didn’t have a camera and couldn’t connect to the internet. But it was renowned for being indestructible and having a seemingly endless battery life.

While the 3310 isn’t Nokia’s best selling phone of all time, it is one of the most iconic. It sold more than 126 million units and its sturdy design meant many first time phone owners kept it for years.

Also check leaks on Samsung Galaxy S8 here:

Mission for moon rocks


China will launch its next lunar mission in November this year. Chang’e-5 will attempt to retrieve samples of moon rock and return them to Earth. If the mission succeeds it will be the first lunar sample return since the Soviet Union’s Luna-24 in 1976.

The mission will be China’s most ambitious moonshot to date. Weighing in at 8.2 tonnes, the spacecraft will be launched by China’s Long March 5 rocket. This heavy-lift vehicle is one of the most powerful launchers in the world. Its maiden flight took place on 3 November 2016.

The spacecraft will consist of four distinct parts: a lander and an ascender, an orbiter and a returner. The lander will descend to the surface of the Moon, collect the samples and place them in the ascender. This will launch and rendezvous with the orbiter and returner, all of which will then journey back towards Earth.

The samples will be transferred to the returner, which will detach from the orbiter and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. In 2014, China tested the returner technology by dropping a capsule from Earth orbit to Inner Mongolia.

Chang’e-5 will be China’s fourth lunar mission. Beginning in October 2007, China have launched two lunar orbiters and a lander that carried the rover called Jade Rabbit. A second rover mission, Chang’e-4, is scheduled to land and operate on the Moon’s far side in 2018. If successful, it will be a world first.

Top 10 revolutionary scientific theories


Most scientific fields have been made over with a revolutionary theory at least once in recent centuries. Such makeovers reorder old knowledge into a new framework. Revolutionary theories succeed when the new framework makes it possible to solve problems that stymied the previous intellectual regime.

10. Information theory: Claude Shannon, 1948
It’s not exactly the most revolutionary theory, since there really wasn’t a predecessor theory to revolutionize. But Shannon certainly provided the mathematical foundation for a lot of other revolutionary developments involving electronic communication and computer science.

9. Game theory: John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern, 1944 (with important embellishments from John Nash in the 1950s)
Developed for economics, where it has had some successes, game theory didn’t quite completely revolutionize that field. But it has been widely adopted by many other social sciences. And evolutionary game theory is an important branch of the study of evolutionary biology. Game theory even applies to everyday activities like poker, football and negotiating for higher pay for bloggers.

8. Oxygen theory of combustion: Antoine Lavoisier, 1770s
Lavoisier did not discover oxygen, but he figured out that it was the gas that combined with substances as they burned. Lavoisier thereby did away with the prevailing phlogiston theory and paved the way for the development of modern chemistry. It was a much safer revolution for Lavoisier than the political one that soon followed in France, so revolutionary that Lavoisier lost his head over it.

7. Plate tectonics: Alfred Wegener, 1912; J. Tuzo Wilson, 1960s
Wegener realized that the continents drifted around as early as 1912. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that scientists put the pieces together in a comprehensive theory of plate tectonics. Wilson, a Canadian geophysicist, was a key contributor of some of the major pieces, while many other researchers also played prominent roles.

6. Statistical mechanics: James Clerk Maxwell, Ludwig Boltzmann, J. Willard Gibbs, late 19th century
By explaining heat in terms of the statistical behavior of atoms and molecules, statistical mechanics made sense of thermodynamics and also provided strong evidence for the reality of atoms. Besides that, statistical mechanics established the role of probabilistic math in the physical sciences. Modern extensions of statistical mechanics  have been applied to everything from materials science and magnets to traffic jams and voting behavior.

5. Special relativity: Albert Einstein, 1905
In some ways special relativity was not so revolutionary, because it preserved a lot of classical physics. But come on. It merged space with time, matter with energy, made atomic bombs possible and lets you age slower during spaceflight.

4. General relativity: Einstein, 1915
General relativity was much more revolutionary than special relativity, because it ditched Newton’s law of gravity in favor of curved spacetime. And opened scientist’s eyes to the whole history of the expanding universe. And provided science fiction writers with black holes.

3. Quantum theory: Max Planck, Einstein, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, Max Born, Paul Dirac, 1900–1926
Quantum theory ripped the entire fabric of classical physics to shreds, demolished ordinary notions of the nature of reality, screwed up entire philosophies of cause and effect and revealed peculiarities about nature that nobody could ever have imagined.

2. Evolution by natural selection: Charles Darwin, 1859
Darwin showed that the intricate complexity of life and the intricate relationships among life-forms could emerge and survive from natural processes, with no need for a designer or an ark. He opened the human mind to pursuing natural science unimpaired by supernatural prejudices. His theory was so revolutionary that some people still doubt it.

1. Heliocentrism: Copernicus, 1543
One of the greatest insights ever, conceived by some ancient Greeks but established only two millennia later: the Earth revolves around the sun. It’s Number 1 because it was the first. Where did you think word revolutionary came from, anyway? It was only rarely used to mean what it does today before Copernicus put revolutions in the title of his revolutionary book.

NASA approves a mission to look inside a black hole


Neutron stars, black holes, and other remnants of stellar explosions are some of the universe’s most intriguing objects – and some of the hardest to study. But when NASA’s newest Explorers Program mission, IXPE, launches, we’ll see them like never before.

Stellar remnants such as black holes and neutron stars are difficult to see. Because of their tiny size and oftentimes obscuring disks of dust and gas, direct measurements of these objects have long eluded astronomers. However, such extreme objects heat their environments to millions of degrees, which causes high-energy emission in the form of easily-observable X-rays. Studying these X-rays provides a window into the world around otherwise impossible-to-see phenomena.

Now, NASA plans to delve deeper into black hole and neutron star X-ray emission with the newest addition to its Explorers Program mission lineup: the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE). Led by Principal Investigator Martin Weisskopf at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, IXPE will include three space telescopes capable of measuring the polarization of X-rays coming from the environments around objects such as neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes. Polarization is a property of light, including X-rays, that describes the direction in which the electromagnetic wave “points.” Although not recorded by most conventional instruments, polarization offers unique information about the source of the observed light, including geometry, magnetic field, and emission mechanism. Measuring the polarization of X-rays emitted in the environments of neutron stars and black holes can thus help astronomers characterize the magnetic fields of these objects, as well as the structure and geometry of the accretion disks and jets that form around them. This information will provide yet more pieces to the puzzle of how these amazing objects look and behave.

NASA’s Explorers Program provides selected mission proposals with the opportunity and funding to perform science from space. Unlike major space-borne observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Explorers missions are small- or medium-sized projects characterized by more moderate price tags and a shorter timeframe between concept and launch. Some of the program’s current ongoing missions include the Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and the Swift Gamma Ray Burst Explorer (Swift). IXPE will be joining upcoming Explorers missions that include the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON), projected to launch in June of 2017, and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), with a scheduled launch date in December of 2017.

According to NASA’s press release, IXPE is currently set to launch in 2020 with an estimated total cost — including the mission’s launch vehicle and post-launch operations and data analysis — of $188 million. By comparison, NASA’s flagship X-ray telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, cost $1.65 billion in development alone and another $350 million simply to launch.