Our solar system is huge, let us break it down for you. Here are a few things you should know this week:
1. Closeup of a King
For the first time since it entered orbit around Jupiter in July, our Juno spacecraft has flown close to the king of planets—this time with its eyes wide open. During the long, initial orbit, Juno mission managers spent time checking out the spacecraft “from stem to stern,” but the science instruments were turned off as a precaution. During this latest pass, Juno’s camera and other instruments were collecting data the whole time. Initial reports show that all went well, and the team has released a new close-up view that Juno captured of Jupiter’s north polar region. We can expect to see more close-up pictures of Jupiter and other data this week.
Our OSIRIS-REx mission leaves Earth next week, the first leg of a journey that will take it out to an asteroid called Bennu. The mission will map the asteroid, study its properties in detail, then collect a physical sample to send back home to Earth. The ambitious endeavor is slated to start off on Sept. 8.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has already mapped the entire surface of Earth’s moon in brilliant detail, but the mission isn’t over yet. Lunar explorers still have questions, and LRO is poised to help answer them.
We don’t have to wait until next year to see the moon cross in front of the sun. From its vantage point in deep space, our Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) sometimes sees just that. Such an event is expected on Sept. 1.
Our galaxy is home to a bewildering variety of Jupiter-like worlds: hot ones, cold ones, giant versions of our own giant, pint-sized pretenders only half as big around. Astronomers say that in our galaxy alone, a billion or more such Jupiter-like worlds could be orbiting stars other than our sun. And we can use them to gain a better understanding of our solar system and our galactic environment, including the prospects for finding life.
Want to learn more? Read our full list of the 10 things to know this week about the solar system HERE.
Six volunteer “astronauts” just emerged after spending 12 months living in isolation inside a dome on top of a volcano in Hawaii.The volunteers were part of a NASA-funded experiment called HI-SEAS. Now, after 12 months of isolation on simulated Mars, the volunteers have emerged from the experiment that realistically mimicked living conditions on Mars.
The Urantia Book (sometimes called the Urantia Papers or The Fifth Epochal Revelation) is a spiritual and philosophical book. The exact circumstances of the origin of The Urantia Book are unknown. The book and its publishers do not name a human author. Instead, it is written as if directly presented by numerous celestial beings appointed to the task of providing an “epochal” religious revelation.
According to Urantia Papers, there are seven superuniverses in the grand universe, and they are constituted approximately as follows: 1. The System. The basic unit of the supergovernment consists of about one thousand inhabited or inhabitable worlds. Spheres not suitable for creature habitation are not included in this group. These one thousand worlds adapted to support life are called a system. Each inhabited planet is presided over by a Planetary Prince, and each local system has an architectural sphere as its headquarters and is ruled by a System Sovereign. 2. The Constellation. One hundred systems (about 100,000 inhabitable planets) make up a constellation. Each constellation has an architectural headquarters sphere and is presided over by three Vorondadek Sons, the Most Highs. Each constellation also has a Faithful of Days in observation, an ambassador of the Paradise Trinity. 3. The Local Universe. One hundred constellations (about 10,000,000 inhabitable planets) constitute a local universe. Each local universe has a magnificent architectural headquarters world and is ruled by one of the co-ordinate Creator Sons of God of the order of Michael. Each universe is blessed by the presence of a Union of Days, a representative of the Paradise Trinity. 4. The Minor Sector. One hundred local universes (about 1,000,000,000 inhabitable planets) constitute a minor sector of the superuniverse government; it has a wonderful headquarters world, wherefrom its rulers, the Recents of Days, administer the affairs of the minor sector. 5. The Major Sector. One hundred minor sectors (about 100,000,000,000 inhabitable worlds) make one major sector. Each major sector is provided with a superb headquarters and is presided over by three Perfections of Days, Supreme Trinity Personalities. 6. The Superuniverse. Ten major sectors (about 1,000,000,000,000 inhabitable planets) constitute a superuniverse. Each superuniverse is provided with an enormous and glorious headquarters world and is ruled by three Ancients of Days. 7. The Grand Universe. Seven superuniverses make up the present organized grand universe, consisting of approximately seven trillion inhabitable worlds plus the architectural spheres and the one billion inhabited spheres of Havona. The superuniverses are ruled and administered indirectly and reflectively from Paradise by the Seven Master Spirits. The billion worlds of Havona are directly administered by the Eternals of Days, one such Supreme Trinity Personality presiding over each of these perfect spheres.
SETI researchers are buzzing about a strong spike in radio signals that seemed to come from the direction of a sunlike star in the constellation Hercules, known as HD 164595.
The signal fits the profile for an extraterrestrial source – but it could also be a case of earthly radio interference. In any case, the blip is interesting enough to merit discussion by those who specialize in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI – including Centauri Dreams’ Paul Gilster, who brought the case into the public eye this weekend.
The apparent source of the signal, HD 164595, is interesting for a couple of reasons: It’s a sunlike star, about 95 light-years away from Earth, and it’s already known to have at least one “warm Neptune” planet called HD 164595 b. “There could, of course, be other planets still undetected in this system.
The case has been compared to the one-time-only “Wow Signal” of 1977, or the more recent controversy over KIC 8462852, also known as “Tabby’s Star” or the alien-megastructure star.
On May 15, 2015, astronomers in the Russian Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia spotted a strange radio signal coming from the direction of a star, HD164595, located fewer than 100 light years away, in the Hercules constellation. The researchers speculated that it could be either a Kardashev I or Kardashev II civilization.
‘Juno captured this photo of Jupiter about two hours before Perijove 1, from a distance of 703,000 kilometers, at 04:45 UTC on August 27, 2016. The spacecraft had yet to travel over Jupiter’s north pole.’