Space Observation Current Affairs - 2019

Category Wise PDF Compilations available at This Link

China constructing a huge Observatory to probe origins of Cosmic Rays

The Chinese scientists are constructing a huge cosmic ray observation station that is equivalent to 200 soccer fields in Sichuan province. The observatory is located 4,400 meters above sea level.

Key Facts

  • The rocks from Ice Age were blasted for the construction
  • Three huge underground pools more than triple the size of Aquatic centers are to hold the detectors. The detectors collect high energy photons generated by remote celestial bodies
  • Around 12 telescopes are to be erected to conduct high-precision measurement of cosmic rays
  • The observatory is named as “Large High-Altitude Air Shower Observatory” (LHAASO). The project is to be completed by 2020.
  • The main objective of the observatory is to study the origin of cosmic rays, their acceleration and transmission mechanism.
  • Research teams from Australia and Thailand are directly participating in the project.

Significance

Cosmic Rays are atom fragments that rain down on the surface of the earth from the outer space. The study on Cosmic rays are important as they carry source of information about the origin of the universe. The cosmic rays can also be used for applications outside astronomy. In 2017, a team of scientists found a void at the The Great Pyramid of Giza using cosmic rays.

Astrosat, Chandra and Hubble jointly detect massive cosmic explosion on Proxima Centauri

India’s first dedicated space observatory AstroSat along with other space and earth-based observatories have detected a massive coronal explosion on Proxima Centauri, sun’s closest star neighbour.

The explosion was detected as part of joint multi-wavelength simultaneous observational campaign undertaken by three space-based observatories, Astrosat, Chandra and Hubble Space Telescope and the ground-based High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) observatory.

Proxima Centauri

It is group of stars which hosts an Earth-like habitable planet — Proxima Centaur b — orbiting within (Proxima Centauri) its habitable zone. It is a cool dwarf star located around 4.25 light years away from the Earth. It was discovered in 2016.

Key Facts

The massive coronal explosion has sent out powerful solar flare having energy of 10-raised-to-30 ergs, about 100 times a typical solar flare. Such powerful flaring may have produced large radiations and particles which may significantly influence the atmosphere of the Proxima Centauri b and affect its habitability.

The habitability of Proxima Centauri especially its ability to sustain its atmosphere and in particular to sustain water in liquid form may get affected due to abnormal planetary atmosphere heating due absorption of  the high-energy photons like the ultraviolet (UV) and X-ray photons released by the coronal explosion.

If such a massive flare occurs in our Sun, it might have a devastating effect on power grids, interrupt broadcasts and electricity, affect electronic instruments, and cause excess UV radiation in space.

Coronal explosion: is an unusually large release of plasma and magnetic field from the solar corona. They often follow solar flares and are normally present during a solar prominence eruption. The plasma is released into the solar wind, and can be observed in coronagraph imagery.