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Strange Star Full of Mystery

Think of a star… Its brightness decreases by one fifth of the average and then returns to its normal value. This is not a normal degree. It is thought that its brightness is constantly changing because it has a dust disk around it, or that it is a planet with an abnormal orbit around it. Although these arguments are presented, a new study helps us solve the puzzle. The study was conducted by Associate Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State. It was conducted by a team of 200 researchers led by Jason Wright and Tabetha Boyajian of Louisiana State University. This extraordinary F-type star, known as “Tabby’s star”, approximately 1000 light years away from us, is 50% larger than the Sun and 1000 degrees hotter. Many theories have been put forward about this star, whose brightness change is abnormal compared to its peers. It is such an interesting star that many of the telescopes on Earth have studied it, and more than 1700 people looked at it through the Kickstarter campaign. As a result, the study was shared in a meeting held jointly by Boyajian and his team with the Las Cumbres Observatory and in an article published in The Astrophysical Journal Letter. “If a star’s brightness changes suddenly, this is due to the disk of matter in orbit. The dust disk around the star probably plays a role in dimming and brightening the light emitted from the star. Therefore, whatever happens between us and the star, it is not an opaque substance. So there is no planet in front of us.” says Wright. It suggests that the thickness of the dust disk in question is not the same everywhere, in some places it is denser and sometimes it is sparser. This causes the brightness of the light received from the star to change significantly as the disk rotates around the star.

Next, there are questions to be answered. “The latest research does not show that there are megastructures here, but it does suggest that there are other phenomena behind the brightness dimming,” Wright says. “We have models that match this. We can conclude with a little more data.”
“The collaboration and support is very exciting. It is very important to engage in a study with the support of the public and with researchers in various fields of study. There will be more to come,” says Boyajian.

Voyager 1 Loses Connection with Earth

The space probe Voyager 1, launched into space in 1977 and operational since then, has lost communication with Earth. The 46-year-old spacecraft can receive commands from Earth, but it is unable to accurately send back any scientific or system data. The Flight Data System (FDS), which collects engineering information and data from the scientific instruments on Voyager 1, can no longer establish communication with the Telecommunication Unit (TMU) as expected. When the FDS on Voyager 1 was functioning properly, it would compile the information collected by the spacecraft’s scientific instruments into a data packet and then send it to Earth using the TMU. According to the explanation, recently, this data packet has become stuck and is sending a repetitive sequence of ones and zeros. Engineers are tracking the issue, but solving it may take a long time. The spacecraft is the farthest object launched into space from Earth, with a distance of 24 billion kilometers. Due to this distance, it takes 22.5 hours for a command sent from Earth to reach the spacecraft, and with the time for the response, it takes nearly two days. Therefore, NASA engineers have to wait for about two days to determine whether a solution sent to the spacecraft is effective. This further prolongs the process. The technology and hardware of the elderly Voyager 1 are very outdated, requiring engineers to come up with creative solutions. In addition, consulting the original documents written by the engineers who designed the spacecraft years ago may also be necessary, further extending the troubleshooting process. Even if all these problems did not exist, by 2025, the plutonium in Voyager 1’s RTG generators would have insufficient energy production, leading to the loss of the spacecraft. Given the proximity of the end, encountering such problems is considered normal, and we express gratitude for its services.

Artist’s concept of Voyager in flight.

Eye of Heaven: The World’s Largest Telescope FAST

At the end of 3 years of trial and testing, China introduced the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope to the world, with a diameter of half a kilometer. The giant spherical telescope named “FAST” will reveal the secrets of space and search for aliens by observing the formation and development of the universe.

According to the statement made in the Official Chinese News Agency, Xinhua, the construction of the telescope located in Pingtang, a remote area of China’s Guizhou province, started in 2011. The telescope consists of more than 4,400 aluminum panels placed by approximately 2,000 mechanical cranes.

Li Keija, a scientist working in the field of astronomy and astrophysics at Peking University, described FAST as “a telescope that will help scientists discover yet unknown stars, cosmic events and the functioning of the universe, and even detect life outside the world.”

The telescope will be used to search for pulsars and highly magnetized neutron stars that emit beams of electromagnetic radiation.

Scientific Goals Set for FAST

  • Large-scale hydrogen research,
  • Pulsar observations
  • Leading the international very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) network,
  • Detection of interstellar molecules,
  • Pulsar timing sequence,
  • Detection of interstellar communication signals.

This telescope, which discovered two Pulsars in August 2017, discovered approximately 102 Pulsars in a period of two years. In addition, FAST is the one that detects Pulsar timing most accurately.

How Did the Moon Form?

Everything related to the Solar System originated about 4.5 billion years ago with the collapse of a nebula (Solar Nebula). The gas and dust cloud constituting the nebula collapsed, first forming the Sun and then, with the remaining disk (planet-forming disk) creating the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets in the system. The formation of stars and planets does not take a very long time when compared to their lifetimes; stars and planets can form in just a few tens of millions of years. Therefore, to understand the timeline of the Moon’s formation, we need to go back approximately 4.5 billion years. However, when trying to narrate a historical event so far back, we cannot speak with certainty. Hence, there are various theories regarding the formation of the Moon, and we will examine these theories in this article.

The Giant Impact Hypothesis

According to this theory, as the Earth was still in the process of forming, a planet the size of Mars (Theia) is thought to have formed in orbit around Earth. During that time, the Solar System was quite dynamic, and it is believed that these bodies collided with each other by chance. If Theia had collided with Earth at a speed of approximately 10 kilometers per second, the inner cores of the two large planets would have merged to form a large iron core. The remaining materials from the collision formed a disk around Earth, and over time, this disk began to gather to become the Moon. This also explains why the Moon does not have a large core. It is estimated that this collision occurred within just one year.

In another collision theory, rather than a collision with a single large planet, due to the heavy bombardment phase during that time when the planet was still forming, many large asteroids may have collided with Earth, ejecting materials into space, which then formed the Moon at a distance.

Co-formation Theory

According to this theory, the Earth and the Moon formed from the same material in their current locations. The Moon slowly formed by orbiting around Earth. While this theory can explain the proximity of the Moon’s location and compositions, it cannot explain why there is very little water on the Moon compared to Earth. Additionally, it cannot explain the absence of a large iron core on the Moon, as seen on Earth.

Capture Theory

According to this theory, both Earth and the Moon formed close to each other, and the Moon approached Earth and entered its orbit. The illogical aspects of this theory include the fact that for a large object like the Moon to enter Earth’s orbit, it would need to move very slowly, which is not feasible.

Fission Theory

According to this theory, when the Earth first formed, it was rotating so rapidly that a part of it broke off. This theory was initially proposed by George Darwin, the son of Charles Darwin. According to the theory, the Moon has the same oxygen isotope ratio as Earth but has very little water. However, there is no evidence that Earth rotated at an excessively high speed to break off a piece as large as the Moon.

As we can see, when questioning how the Moon formed, we need to calculate many parameters simultaneously. Theories should answer some questions while not leaving others unanswered. Currently, the Giant Impact theory answers the most questions, but since there is no certainty, new theories may be added or disproven over time.

2024 Sky Calendar

Days before we enter the new year, we wanted to tell you about the 2024 Sky calendar in this news. Let’s get to know some eclipses in the introduction.

What is Total Shade? A shadow occurs when you completely block a light source. The resulting umbra cone is called Umbra. The parts that are not full areas are called Penumbra (half shade).

Solar Eclipse: A Solar Eclipse occurs when the Moon comes between the Earth and the Sun. In this case, the shadow of the Moon falls on the Earth. During a solar eclipse, the Sun cannot be seen in areas where the Moon’s shadow falls.

Lunar Eclipse: As the Moon orbits, it sometimes enters the Earth’s shadow. In this case, a lunar eclipse occurs. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is full and close to the nodes of the Moon.

2024 Eclipse dates-Solar and Lunar Eclipses:

There will be 4 eclipses in 2024. 2 Lunar Eclipses and 2 Solar Eclipses.

  • A Lunar Eclipse will take place on March 25, 2024 at 10:00 Ankara time.
  • The Solar Eclipse will take place on April 8, 2024 at 21.20 Ankara time.
  • A Lunar Eclipse will take place on September 18, 2024 at 5.34 Ankara time.
  • The Solar Eclipse will take place on October 2, 2024 at 21.49 Ankara time.

Solstices and Equinoxes throughout 2024:

The Earth revolves around the Sun and has a tilted axis, causing the planet to be tilted towards the luminaire by different hemispheres at different times of the year. This causes one hemisphere to receive more light and heat and the other to receive less. At the equinox, the Sun is visible at both poles.

Vernal equinox: March 21

Autumn equinox: September 23

Midsummer: June 20

Winter anniversary: December 21

The Longest and Shortest Days and Nights We Will See in 2024:

Shortest night/Longest day: June 20

Shortest day/Longest night: December 21

This Week in Our Art Corner

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the first of six books in the science fiction series written by Douglas Adams. The novel was initially published in October 1979 in London. It takes its name from a guidebook for hitchhikers within the series’ universe. The story begins with Ford Prefect, a hitchhiker traveling through the galaxy, and his friend Arthur Dent. After escaping the destruction of Earth, the two embark on interstellar adventures. The novel also provides information about other planets and creatures in the galaxy.