EarthSky Blog 9 Sep 2019, 10:07 UTC Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft – launched in December, 2014 – traveled some 200 million miles to near-Earth asteroid Ryugu. It closed to within 12 miles (20 km) of the asteroid’s surface in June 2018. Hayabusa2 will continue traveling with this asteroid until December 2019, when it’ll begin making its way back to Earth. It’s due to return a sample of the asteroid to scientists in December 2020. In the meantime – in two studies published this summer – the Hayabusa2 mission has already given us valuable information about asteroids like Ryugu. Among other things, it showed that, if an asteroid like Ryugu were headed toward Earth – and if we on Earth decided to send a spacecraft out in an attempt to divert the asteroid – we’d need to take “great care” in the attempt.
Bob Moler's Ephemeris Blog 9 Sep 2019, 04:01 UTC Ephemeris for Monday, September 9th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 8:05, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:15. The Moon, 4 days past first quarter, will set at 3:29 tomorrow morning. Two Harvard University astronomers who have studied the interstellar asteroid or comet that was discovered last year ‘Oumuamua are proposing to observe small interstellar meteoroids with a lunar orbiting satellite when they hit the Moon.
The New York Times 8 Sep 2019, 12:10 UTC NEW DELHI — A day after India lost contact with a robotic spacecraft that was launched toward the moon’s South Pole, the chairman of the country’s space agency said on Sunday that the lander had been detected on the moon’s surface. K. Sivan, the director of the Indian Space Research Organization, told national news outlets that a thermal image had been taken by the Chandrayaan-2 mission’s orbiter. He said it was still unclear whether the lander was damaged, though he expected it had experienced a “hard landing.”
SPACE.com 8 Sep 2019, 11:41 UTC Don't be alarmed, but the Fireworks galaxy is exploding. To be fair, it's been exploding for a while — at least since 1917 (give or take the 25 million years that light takes to travel from that galaxy to Earth), when astronomers first glimpsed a large star erupting into a supernova there. Since then, scientists have detected nearly a dozen stellar explosions in the busy galaxy, but none quite like the mysterious green blotch of X-ray light visible in the image above.
SciTech Daily 8 Sep 2019, 01:18 UTC This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a dwarf galaxy named UGC 685. Such galaxies are small and contain just a tiny fraction of the number of stars in a galaxy like the Milky Way. Dwarf galaxies often show a hazy structure, an ill-defined shape, and an appearance somewhat akin to a swarm or cloud of stars — and UGC 685 is no exception to this. Classified as an SAm galaxy — a type of unbarred spiral galaxy — it is located about 15 million light-years from Earth.
SPACE.com 7 Sep 2019, 11:35 UTC India's historic lunar-landing bid may have come up short, but the nation still has important work to do at the moon. India's Chandrayaan-2 orbiter attempted to drop a lander named Vikram near the lunar south pole yesterday afternoon (Sept. 6), but mission controllers lost contact with the descending craft when it was just 1.3 miles (2.1 kilometers) above the gray dirt.
Sky and Telescope 7 Sep 2019, 01:27 UTC It wasn't meant to be. After a six-week journey, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) lost contact with Chandrayaan 2's Vikram lander shortly before it was supposed to have touched down on the lunar surface. The Moon landing was set to occur on September 6th at 20:22 UT / 4:22 p.m. EDT. Vikram (Sanskrit for "valor") separated from the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter on September 2th at 7:45 UT for a four-day descent that would take it 62 miles (100 kilometers) down to the lunar surface.
Universe Today 6 Sep 2019, 19:33 UTC Earth’s magnetic poles drift over time. This is something that every airplane pilot or navigator knows. They have to account for it when they plan their flights. They drift so much, in fact, that the magnetic poles are in different locations than the geographic poles, or the axis of Earth’s rotation. Today, Earth’s magnetic north pole is 965 kilometres (600 mi) away from its geographic pole. Now a new study says the same pole drifting is occurring on Mercury too.
Bad Astronomy 6 Sep 2019, 13:00 UTC That's NGC 3432, a spiral galaxy about 30 million light years away. That's close as far as galaxies go, but still well outside our Local Group of galaxies (a small collection of galaxies including our Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy, and a few dozen smaller ones; the group is a few million light years across). At that distance Hubble can see pretty good detail in a galaxy. Obviously.