Since the beginning of time, humans have looked to the stars and wondered what was out there. Over the years, we have made some incredible discoveries in space, including planets, stars, and even entire galaxies! Here are the most astonishing discoveries that have been made in space recently.
Pedro Bernardinelli, a graduate student at the Catholic University of Milan, was poring over Dark Energy Survey data to identify objects that live beyond Neptune’s orbit when he discovered an object significantly farther from the sun than those he had planned to study. So he asked his professor, cosmologist Gary Bernstein, for advice.
They had discovered a comet that may be ten times wider and 1,000 times heavier than any previously identified: It might be ten times wider and 1000 times heavier than a regular comet. On top of that, this comet has not rotated around the sun since the hominid ancestor Lucy walked on the Earth 3 million years ago.
Astronomers will have to wait just ten years following the launch for this comet to arrive at the sun. This is because comets are formed in one of the outermost areas of the solar system known as the Oort Cloud and travel around our solar system in long elliptical orbits before returning to their birthplace.
As of November 18, 2022, the comet made its closest approach to Earth on October 16, 2021. During this eventful immediate passage in 2031, scientists will get a more accurate reading of Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein’s size and composition. When the comet swings by later that year (2032), it will still be within view of the world’s most powerful telescopes.
The Sun Is Reawakening
The sun was dormant during its approximately ten-year cycle, but it is now coming out of it. The sun has had very little activity recently, but the star’s surface erupts in powerful events that release charged particles toward Earth. For example, a sequence of solar explosions directed a significant geomagnetic storm on our planet in
A coronal mass ejection, or CME, is a solar eruption. It’s a billion-ton cloud of solar material with magnetic fields, and when it bursts, it sends out a beam of charged particles into space. If this Stuff heads in the direction of Earth, it will come into contact with our planet’s Magnetic Field and cause a geomagnetic storm.
This event, called the Carrington Event, was so powerful that it caused telegraph wires to spark and light up in flames! The only thing that saved us from a similar fate this time around is that we now have electrical grids and satellites that would fry if such an event happened again.
Closest Known Black Hole To Earth
One of the closest black holes to Earth is “The Unicorn,” which resides 1,500 light-years from our planet. Black holes that are small in size are difficult to detect. Still, scientists successfully saw this one when its companion star exhibited odd behavior. According to researchers, its light dimming suggests another object is tugging on the star.
It’s a whirlpool of terror and dampness, with a diameter of about three solar radii. Its name comes from its location in the constellation Monoceros (the unicorn), which inspired it and its scarcity.
Parker Solar Probe Travels Close To Sun
The Parker Solar Probe has been zooming through the solar system’s inner reaches to make close approaches to the sun for the past three years. It is used to assist scientists in understanding what causes the solar wind, a sea of charged particles that flow out of the sun and can impact Earth in many ways.
During its eight solar fly-by, the spacecraft ventured into the sun’s outer atmosphere, known as the corona. The April 28 maneuver produced the data that established the precise location of the Alfvén critical surface: where the solar wind flows away from the sun and does not return.
The probe reached a distance of 8.1 million miles (13 million kilometers) from the sun’s surface, about 15 solar radii or 8.1 billion miles (13 billion kilometers). It passed through a massive structure known as a pseudostreamer, which may be seen from Earth when the moon blocks sunlight from the sun’s disk during a solar eclipse.
This year, NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars made its debut. Since arriving on Mars on February 18, 2021, the mission has been scouring for signs of previous Martian life. Engineers have equipped Perseverance with a suite of high-resolution cameras to assist mission scientists in determining which rocks merit further study.
“Harbor Seal Rock,” a strangely-shaped feature discovered by Perseverance, was most likely formed by the Martian wind over many years and is one of the site’s most appealing discoveries. This year, Perseverance gathered several rock samples that will be sent to NASA for analysis in the future. “Jezero Crater” is the rover’s ultimate destination, and it will take many more years to get there.
In the meantime, here on Earth, scientists are using Mars meteorites to study the Red Planet. These rocks give us a unique look into Mars’ geologic history and information about its climate billions of years ago.
High-Resolution Image Of Black Hole Jet
In July 2021, the innovative project behind the world’s first photo of a black hole published an image of a forceful jet blasting off from one of these supermassive objects.
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a worldwide collaboration of eight telescopes to build one Earth-sized telescope. The result is a resolution 16 times better and an image ten times more precise than previously possible. In addition, scientists utilized EHT’s spectacular capabilities to capture footage of a strong jet released by the supermassive black hole at the center of the Messier 87 (M87) galaxy.
This image is just one example of how the EHT provides new insights into the strange and powerful objects that lurk at the hearts of galaxies.
James Webb Space Telescope
The world’s next major telescope was successfully launched on Christmas Day 2021, ushering in a new age of space science. The $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) collaborates between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency. Long before its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, had even flown into Earth orbit, Webb was developing.
Webb studies the universe in infrared light, which will allow us to peer back in time to the early days of star formation and galaxy evolution. The telescope’s massive 21-foot (645-centimeter) primary mirror comprises 18 individual segments that work together as one unit. As a result, the mirror will be larger than any other telescope in space when fully deployed.
Webb also has a five-layer sun shield that will keep its instruments cold enough to operate in the extreme temperatures of space. This technology allows Webb to study objects too faint or distant for Hubble to see.
JWST will observe the universe from a vantage point one million miles away, circling somewhat closer to Earth than Hubble. Then, finally, JWST will reach an observational station some one hundred kilometers from the surface of Earth. On December 25, 2021, at 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT), an Ariane 5 rocket lifted the massive James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) into space. After a journey of more than six months, JWST reached its operational station near Earth’s orbit on April 14, 2022.
In conclusion, these are the latest discoveries in space. From the Event Horizon Telescope to the James Webb Space Telescope, these discoveries have changed how we view and study space. With new technology and advances in science, who knows what else we will discover about the universe around us? Thank you for reading! I hope you found this article informative and interesting.