There were stunning cosmic images of the party in 2020, from Hubble’s 30th birthday movie to scenes of bold model Grop on an asteroid. Here is a selection of the offerings of the year.
Hubble’s ‘Cosmic Reef’
The Hubble Space Telescope, one of the most important scientific instruments ever built, celebrated its 30th anniversary in April.
To mark the occasion, an amazing film was released Shows the area of our Milky Way galaxy forming a star.
In this magnificent Hubble portrait, the giant red nebula (NGC 2014) and its smaller blue neighbors (NGC 2020) reside in the Milky Way satellite galaxy Large Magellanic Cloud, 163,000 light-years away.
Nebulae are vast galaxies of dust and gas where star formation can take place.
At the center of NGC 2014 is a clutch of bright stars, each 10 to 20 times larger than our Sun.
The film was nicknamed the “Cosmic Reef” because astronomers thought the nebulae resembled an underwater world.
BBC Harrison documentary, Aired on the anniversary, featured stunning 3D displays of iconic Hubble images – like pillars of work that are part of the Eagle Nebula.
This year, NASA’s Osiris-Rex performed The asteroid Pennu is a bold “touch and go” maneuver, In order to collect samples of rock and soil to supply to the earth.
Asteroids like Pennu are ancient monuments from the dawn of the solar system. They provide free-roaming building blocks of planets and a window into how Earth-like worlds appeared.
In order to collect the samples, Osiris-Rex used a long boom and finally used it with a ring-shaped collection room. The spacecraft descended towards the surface of the pen and delivered a portion of the nitrogen as the ascendant interacted with the asteroid.
This shakes the surface of the gas pen and allows the asteroid fragments to float into the collection chamber.
As can be seen in the sequence of images above, the strategy seems to have worked.
Meanwhile, on December 5, the Japanese mission to collect samples from different asteroids returned to Earth with its precious temporary storage. The Hayabusa-2 spacecraft has released its prototype return capsule Parachuted safely into the Australian desert.
Samples will be analyzed at a curing facility in Sakamihara, Japan.
Close to the sun
Pictures taken by Daniel K. Inoue Solar Telescope (TKST) in Hawaii in January Showed the surface of the sun in unprecedented detail.
The images show cell-like structures that are the size of the US state of Texas. They are the mass of hot, exciting gas or plasma.
Bright areas indicate where this object is rising; The dark paths in between are where the cold plasma sinks.
TKISD is a new facility on the 3,000-meter-high volcano Halegal on the island of Moai in Hawaii.
Scientists want to use this to discover new insights into the dynamic behavior of our parent star, in the hope that they can better predict its energetic manifestations.
These massive explosions of charged particles can damage satellites orbiting the Earth, harm astronauts, and even hit electrical grids.
Launched in 2011, NASA’s Juno spacecraft continues to send back stunning images from Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system.
The study captured images of the rotating cloud sites of this gas giant during its 27th close-flying flight around the world on June 2.
Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill later converted the data into a video, which combines 41 stills taken during Juno’s close pass.
Stills are digitally projected onto a sphere, providing a different view of Jupiter from a virtual “camera”.
Among other things, these shots provide spectacular shots of the giant red dot, the most notable feature of Jupiter – which is actually a huge storm.
Seen a little like a rocket ship from the golden age of science fiction, Elon Musk’s starship vehicle – at the right time, he believes – will take humans to the Red Planet.
In December, Tested the first complete prototype of the SpaceX vehicle, Sends a 12.5km flight directly to its pad at the company’s Boca Sica facility in South Texas.
Since the images are not in space, we cheat a little by adding it here. But in the future, one day we may find it there.
The test aircraft showed some of the distinctive features of the spacecraft, including its methane-burning raptor engines and an airstrip, which included a descent facing the Earth, followed by a vertical turn before landing.
It was at this point in the test that the starship prototype, dubbed the SN8, approached the pads a bit faster and harder, thus describing Musk as a RUD – a quick unplanned extraction. An accident, in other words.
But the aircraft would have slowly provided SpaceX with plenty of engineering data, which would have helped improve the vehicle. The next prototype – SN9 – is waiting to launch the launch pad.
Follow Paul On Twitter