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    • By NASA
      Supernova remnant 3C 58.X-ray: NASA/CXC/ICE-CSIC/A. Marino et al.; Optical: SDSS; Image Processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/J. Major The supernova remnant 3C 58 contains a spinning neutron star, known as PSR J0205+6449, at its center. Astronomers studied this neutron star and others like it to probe the nature of matter inside these very dense objects. A new study, made using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton, reveals that the interiors of neutron stars may contain a type of ultra-dense matter not found anywhere else in the Universe.
      In this image of 3C 58, low-energy X-rays are colored red, medium-energy X-rays are green, and the high-energy band of X-rays is shown in blue. The X-ray data have been combined with an optical image in yellow from the Digitized Sky Survey. The Chandra data show that the rapidly rotating neutron star (also known as a “pulsar”) at the center is surrounded by a torus of X-ray emission and a jet that extends for several light-years. The optical data shows stars in the field.
      The team in this new study analyzed previously released data from neutron stars to determine the so-called equation of state. This refers to the basic properties of the neutron stars including the pressures and temperatures in different parts of their interiors.
      The authors used machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, to compare the data to different equations of state. Their results imply that a significant fraction of the equations of state — the ones that do not include the capability for rapid cooling at higher masses — can be ruled out.
      The researchers capitalized on some neutron stars in the study being located in supernova remnants, including 3C 58. Since astronomers have age estimates of the supernova remnants, they also have the ages of the neutron stars that were created during the explosions that created both the remnants and the neutron stars. The astronomers found that the neutron star in 3C 58 and two others were much cooler than the rest of the neutron stars in the study.
      The team thinks that part of the explanation for the rapid cooling is that these neutron stars are more massive than most of the rest. Because more massive neutron stars have more particles, special processes that cause neutron stars to cool more rapidly might be triggered.
      One possibility for what is inside these neutron stars is a type of radioactive decay near their centers where neutrinos — low mass particles that easily travel through matter — carry away much of the energy and heat, causing rapid cooling.
      Another possibility is that there are types of exotic matter found in the centers of these more rapidly cooling neutron stars.
      The Nature Astronomy paper describing these results is available here. The authors of the paper are Alessio Marino (Institute of Space Sciences (ICE) in Barcelona, Spain), Clara Dehman (ICE), Konstantinos Kovlakas (ICE), Nanda Rea (ICE), J. A. Pons (University of Alicante in Spain), and Daniele Viganò (ICE).
      NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center controls science from Cambridge Massachusetts and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.
      Read more from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
      For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/mission/chandra-x-ray-observatory/
      Visual Description
      This is an image of the leftovers from an exploded star called 3C 58, shown in X-ray and optical light. At the center of the remnant is a rapidly spinning neutron star, called a pulsar, that presents itself as a bright white object that’s somewhat elongated in shape.
      Loops and swirls of material, in shades of blue and purple, extend outward from the neutron star in many directions, resembling the shape of an octopus and its arms.
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      News Media Contact
      Megan Watzke
      Chandra X-ray Center
      Cambridge, Mass.
      617-496-7998
      Jonathan Deal
      Marshall Space Flight Center
      Huntsville, Ala.
      256-544-0034
      View the full article
    • By NASA
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      The Sun wields a huge influence on Earth. Its gravity holds our planet in its orbit, and solar energy drives the seasons, ocean currents, weather, climate, radiation belts, and auroras on Earth.
      The solar wind, a flow of charged particles from the Sun, constantly bombards Earth’s magnetosphere, a vast magnetic shield around the planet. The Sun occasionally releases massive amounts of energy, creating solar geomagnetic storms that can interfere with communications and navigation and disrupt the electric power grid.
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      Because Earth’s magnetic field directs solar electrons toward the poles, auroras typically are visible only at high latitudes, such as in Canada in the north and Australia in the south. But solar storms can send the lights into much lower latitudes. During a series of large solar eruptions in May 2024, for example, the display could be seen as far south as Texas and California.
      Satellites captured auroras visible across the globe on May 11, 2024.NOAA NASA has multiple missions studying how the Sun and solar storms affect Earth and space travel. The International Space Station contributes to this research in several ways. 
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      The station’s Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS) measures solar irradiance, the solar energy Earth receives, and solar spectral irradiance, a measure of the Sun’s energy in individual wavelengths. Knowing the magnitude and variability of solar irradiance improves understanding of Earth’s climate, atmosphere, and oceans and enables more accurate predictions of space weather. Better predictions could in turn help protect humans and satellites in space and electric power transmission and radio communications on the ground. 
      The first five years of TSIS observations demonstrated improved long-term spectral readings and lower uncertainties than measurements from a previous NASA mission, the Solar Radiation and Climate satellite. The accuracy of TSIS observations could improve models of solar irradiance variability and contribute to a long-term record of solar irradiance data. 
      Earlier Sun Monitoring
      Installation of the Solar instruments on the space station during a spacewalk.NASA The ESA (European Space Agency) Sun Monitoring on the External Payload Facility of Columbus, or Solar, collected data on solar energy output for more than a decade with three instruments covering most wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Different wavelengths emitted by the Sun are absorbed by and influence Earth’s atmosphere and contribute to our climate and weather. This monitoring helps scientists see how solar irradiance affects Earth and provides data to create models for predicting its influence. 
      One instrument, the Solar Variable and Irradiance Monitor, covered the near-ultraviolet, visible, and thermal parts of the spectrum and helped improve the accuracy of these measurements.  
      The SOLar SPECtral Irradiance Measurement instrument covered higher ranges of the solar spectrum. Its observations highlighted significant differences from previous solar reference spectra and models. Researchers also reported that repeated observations made it possible to determine a reference spectrum for the first year of the SOLAR mission, which corresponded to a solar minimum prior to Solar Cycle 24. 
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      Better data help scientists understand how solar events affect satellites, crewed missions, and infrastructure in space and on the ground. Ongoing efforts to measure how Earth’s atmosphere responds to solar storms are an important part of NASA’s plans for Artemis missions to the Moon and for later missions to Mars. 

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    • By NASA
      From the left, NASA Kennedy Space Center’s, Maui Dalton, project manager, engineering; Katherine Zeringue, cultural resources manager; Janet Petro, NASA Kennedy Space Center director; and Ismael Otero, project manager, engineering, unveil a large bronze historical marker plaque at the location of NASA Kennedy’s original headquarters building on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Approved in April 2023 as part of the State of Florida’s Historical Markers program in celebration of National Historic Preservation Month, the marker commemorates the early days of space exploration and is displayed permanently just west of the seven-story, 200,000 square foot Central Campus Headquarters Building, which replaced the old building in 2019.Photo credit:: NASA/Mike Chambers Current and former employees of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida gathered recently to celebrate the installation of a Florida Historical Marker cast in bronze at the location of the spaceport’s old headquarters building.
      The first of its kind inside the center’s secure area, the marker is the latest example of the center’s commitment to remembering its rich history as it continues to launch humanity’s future.
      At the forefront of NASA Kennedy’s commitment to preservation is Katherine Zeringue, who serves as cultural resources manager, overseeing the center’s historic resources from buildings to historic districts to archaeological sites.
      “Traditional approaches attempt to preserve things to a specific time period, including historic materials,” Zeringue said. “But that’s a challenge here because we still actively use our historic assets, which need to be modified to accommodate new missions and new spacecraft. Therefore, we rely on an adaptive reuse approach, in which the active use of a historic property helps to ensure its preservation.”
      Many iconic structures are still in service at NASA Kennedy, like the Beach House where Apollo astronauts congregated with their families, the Vehicle Assembly Building where NASA rockets are still stacked, the Launch Control Center, and Launch Complex 39A. All told, 83 buildings, seven historic districts, and one National Historic Landmark are either listed or are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
      To conserve these resources, the spaceport follows a variety of federal laws, regulations, and executive orders, including the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. This includes making a reasonable and good faith effort to identify any historic properties under its care and considering how its decisions affect historic properties.
      “The Cultural Resources Management Program aims to balance historic preservation considerations with the agency’s mission and mandate to ensure reliable access to space for government and commercial payloads,” Zeringue said. “Finding that proper balance is challenging in the dynamic environment of our spaceport.”
      Perhaps no other location embodies the center’s commitment to the past and the future more than Launch Complex 39A. Created in 1965, the launch complex was initially designed to support the Saturn V rocket, which powered the agency’s Apollo Program as it made numerous trips to the Moon. Outside of launching Skylab in 1973, the pad stood unused following Apollo’s end in 1972 until the agency’s Space Shuttle Program debuted in 1981. The transition from Apollo to space shuttle saw Launch Complex 39A transform from support of a single-use rocket to supporting the nation’s first reusable space launch and landing system.
      By the time the program ended in 2011, 135 space shuttle launches had taken place within Kennedy’s boundary, 82 of which were at Launch Complex 39A. Many of those were among the program’s most notable, including the flights of astronauts Sally Ride, NASA’s first woman in space, and Guion Bluford, NASA’s first Black astronaut in space, as well as the first flight to the newly created International Space Station in 1998.
      The launch complex began another transformation in 2014 when NASA signed a 20-year lease agreement with SpaceX as part of Kennedy’s transformation into a multi-user spaceport. SpaceX reconfigured Launch Complex 39A to support its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, which today launch robotic science missions and other government and commercial payloads, as well as crew and cargo to the space station. Apollo-era infrastructure is incorporated in the SpaceX Crew Launch Tower.
      “Launch Complex 39A exemplifies the balance between historic preservation and supporting the mission,” Zeringue noted. “Each chapter of the space program brings change, and those changes become additional chapters in the center’s historical legacy as we continue to build the future in space exploration.”
      View the full article
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