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Join astrophysicist Joe Pesce for an AMA about Mars, the cosmos (and additional) in our Area.com Forums!

joe pesci| Space.com| Space forum|

Today, we’re giving you another chance to have your astronomical questions replied through astrophysicist Joe Pesce. 

Not long ago, Dr. Joe (as we adore to call him) visited the Space.com forums and was excited about answering all of your questions — the response was much more than he expected. 

It turns out there’s a whole lot that the Space.com community wanted to chat about. In fact, there were so many insightful questions that Dr. Joe decided to join us again this week, starting today, Monday, Aug. 3. The AMA link is live here in our forums and Pesce is standing by for your questions.  

  In case you are new around here, Pesce is an astrophysicist and program director on the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Division of Astronomical Sciences. With 30 years of experience (and over 100 astrophysical publications) under his belt, Dr. Joe’s particular pursuits include supermassive black holes and the external environments of galaxies through which they exist.

 Check out our wrap-up of the last AMA. Then, make sure to ask Dr. Joe all of your space queries at this thread.  

While you’re at it, have a browse across the forums and sign up for the conversations. From cosmology and astrophysics to missions, launches, and space industry, this is the community for discussing all things space exploration.

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Cosmic singer Grace Potter will rock a space-themed set this night. Watch it reside on-line!

Cosmic singer Grace Potter

Cosmic singer Grace Potter

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Trump hails SpaceX’s 1st splashdown with NASA astronauts. Obama, too.

Trump hails SpaceX's 1st splashdown

President Trump hails SpaceX’s 1st splashdown along with President Barack Obama who also hailed SpaceX’s first splashdown of NASA astronauts on Sunday (Aug. 2), a landmark feat that capped the primary orbital space venture from the U.S. in just about a decade. 

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour effectively splashed down within the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, returning astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to Earth after two months in orbit. Their mission, the Demo-2 test flight, marked the first orbital flight of astronauts from The united states since 2011 when NASA’s last space shuttle mission touched down. It was additionally the first water touchdown for NASA since the joint U.S.-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975.

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NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space telescope will send the hunt for exoplanets into warp Speed

NASA's Nancy Grace Roman

On This Day in Space! Aug. 4, 2007: Phoenix Mars Lander offered to Red Planet


On Aug. 4, 2007, NASA launched its Phoenix Mars Lander on a project to the touch down on Mars. 

The robotic spacecraft was designed to search for environments that may be appropriate for microbial lifestyles and to review the historical past of water on the Red Planet. It lifted off at about 5:30 a.m. ET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and spent nearly 10 months making its approach to Mars. 

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The most productive position to look stars from Earth additionally occurs to be the coldest position on the earth


Dome antartica

The astronomy site at Dome A in Antarctica.  (Image credit: SHANG Zhaohui)  

If you want the clearest view of the night sky, you’ll have to pack a warm jacket. 

Dome A, or Dome Argus, an ice dome perched high on the Antarctic Plateau, could be the ideal place to get a clear view of the stars from Earth, according to a new study conducted by an international team of researchers. A telescope situated at that remote location, thought to be the naturally coldest place on Earth, could reveal clearer, better night sky views than the same telescope located anywhere else. 

“A telescope located at Dome A could out-perform a similar telescope located at any other astronomical site on the planet,” University of British Columbia astronomer Paul Hickson, a co-author of the study, said in a statement.  

This large crater on Ceres with vibrant spots is also essentially the most attention-grabbing position within the sun gadget 

“The combination of high altitude, low temperature, long periods of continuous darkness, and an exceptionally stable atmosphere makes Dome A a very attractive location for optical and infrared astronomy. A telescope located there would have sharper images and could detect fainter objects,” Hickson said.  

The chilly location, which is about halfway between the South Pole and the eastern coast of Antarctica, about 746 miles (1,200 kilometers) inland and with an altitude of 2.5 miles (4 kilometers), makes for an ideal observing spot for a number of reasons.  

For one: it has very weak turbulence. In astronomy, atmospheric turbulence can seriously reduce a telescope’s image quality. It makes stars “twinkle,” and the measurement of this effect is described as “seeing.” Less turbulence (or the lower the “seeing” measurement) is considered better, and at Dome A it is fairly low.  

While observatories in locations along the equator at locations including Chile and Hawai’i have “seeing” measurements between 0.6 and 0.8 arcseconds, the Antarctic typically has much lower ranges. For example, Dome C, another Antarctic location has a “seeing” range between 0.23 and 0.36 arcseconds.  

But the authors estimate in this study, the lowest part of the atmosphere is thinner at Dome A than at Dome C. Because of this difference, the researchers calculate that Dome A has nighttime seeing ranging from 0.31 to as low as 0.13 arcseconds, which is astoundingly low.  

The researchers found that the measurements taken from Dome A, which were taken at a height of 26 feet (8 meters), were much better than those from Dome C, which were taken both at 26 feet (8 meters) and even higher up at 66 feet (20 meters).  

Now, with seriously frigid temperatures, frost is an issue that presents itself to astronomers looking to set up a telescope at the site. But, despite the technical difficulties that pop up when trying to make observations at a site this remote and cold, this team of researchers thinks that Dome A could lend itself to some pretty spectacular sky watching. 

The researchers were able to have a telescope work in Antarctica completely automatically for seven months. They believe that other instruments could withstand the Antarctic temperatures, which have been said to fall as low as −90 °C (−130 °F) to −98 °C (−144 °F).  

This work was published on July 29 in the journal Nature.

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NASA and NOAA satellites watched as Tropical Hurricane Isaias made its means up the U.S. East Coast on Aug. 4.


Tropical Storm Isaias battered the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast with torrential rains and powerful winds on Tuesday (Aug. 4) as NASA and NOAA satellites tracked the storm from space.

By midday, Isaias was moving rapidly across eastern Maryland, threatening the region with the potential for tornadoes, heavy rainfall and strong winds, according to an 11 a.m. EDT update from the U.S. Hurricane Center.

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