What's happening in space (that's interesting)


So help me understand, I read the article and the test of relativity was in how the wavelength of the light emitted by the star stretches as it gets closer to the black hole (i.e. redshift). But the video doesn’t appear to show this (at least to my eyes)? Seeing the motion of the star was really interesting, but am I correct that the precise motion wasn’t related to the test?


As far as I understand it that is correct. However my interest is not on the relativity stuff, its more seeing stars orbit an actual black hole within a human lifetime. Thats just mind bending. I mean I know we have had images of black holes gravitational effects before (like the einstein cross stuff) but to see stars clearly being dragged and flung around by this thing at the center of our galaxy is just incredible and the motion is not projected, its actual images! The speeds these stars are moving at is crazy! As the article says at times the ESA researchers could see these stars changing position in real time. Real time! Thats nuts!


Yeah you’re right, it’s an amazing video. The article said at its closest point it was moving almost 3% of the speed of light, which may not sound impressive but is about 7000 km a second. The Earth only moves about 30 km a second!


Actually, Earth moves about 7000km a second (or whatever, relative to that star at its closest point to the super massive black hole).


I don’t really understand what you mean, but I take your point that I am imputing a universal frame of reference in my speed comparison which makes no sense. Is it consistent with GR to say that its orbit around the black hole is much faster than our orbit around our star?


Unfortunately, yes. Its relative motion to the super massive black hole is faster than ours to the sun. 3% the speed of light would be way more awesome.


If I ran the numbers right, if Earth was somehow moving around in it’s orbit 7,000 km/s relative to the sun then a year would last about 37 hours.


“I’m always amused when someone says, ‘Shoot X or so-and-so into the sun,’” says Rand Simberg, a space consultant and an engineer. “Because they have no idea how hard that is to do.”

The reason has to do with orbital mechanics, the study of how natural forces influence the motions of rockets, satellites, and other space-bound technology. Falling into the sun might seem effortless since the star’s gravity is always tugging at everything in the solar system, including Earth. But Earth—along with all the other planets and their moons—is also orbiting the sun at great speed, which prevents it from succumbing to the sun’s pull.

This arrangement is great if you’d like to avoid falling into the sun yourself, but it’s rather inconvenient if you want to launch something there.

“To get to Mars, you only need to increase slightly your orbital speed. If you need to get to the sun, you basically have to completely slow down your current momentum,” says Yanping Guo, the mission-design and navigation manager for the Parker Solar Probe. Based at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Guo has been working on the probe for about 17 years.


Maybe we will meet the Liir!

“This is water, but not as commonly found here on Earth,” said Li Zeng. “Their surface temperature is expected to be in the 200 to 500 degree Celsius range. Their surface may be shrouded in a water-vapor-dominated atmosphere, with a liquid water layer underneath. Moving deeper, one would expect to find this water transforms into high-pressure ices before we reaching the solid rocky core. The beauty of the model is that it explains just how composition relates to the known facts about these planets.”

OK, maybe not…


Man, we already met the Liir in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and that was a disaster. Maybe we could seek out the Morrigi.


Vast tracts of… water


Let’s just keep clear of the Zuul, and I think we’ll be okay.


The space station sprang a leak and they plugged it with someone’s finger!

Or at least the orbit module of one of the Soyuz spacecraft docked as part of the space station did. Fortunately it was a slow one that ground control didn’t even wake up the astronauts for until morning. By that time the leak rate had sped up by several times and could have been a threat within some hours/days. One of the European astronauts supposedly blocked it with his finger for a bit. Then they used kapton tape to slow it down and then gauze (really) and epoxy to seal the leak. (It’s also fortunately not in the part of the Soyuz used for re-entry.)

The weird part is that it wasn’t an external impact best anyone can tell, it appears to be a drilled hole. A lot of the people talking about it in Russia seem to think was probably done during construction and then glued closed and covered up with other stuff in the capsule. Then, the vacuum exposure and solar heating cycles might have caused the glue to come loose.

Or the other idea being speculated about by the head of Roscosmos is that a cosmonaut or astronaut might have done it in orbit because they were homesick and wanted to force a reason for a return trip. I think he’s in CYA mode now (or the various sites reporting on that have a bad translation.)

Edit: Here’s more on what the Russians are saying. The part about someone being homesick was from a different Russian politician, not the head of Roscosmos.


Putin siphoning funds from the legit space program for his personal dalliances shows through. So they hire the cheap, unqualified individuals to build critical parts as money dries up. Putin doesn’t care.

Here’ some fun info about the construction of the new Russian space launch site, as Putin sounds exactly like Trump when it comes to paying people:

The construction of Vostochny also required several nearby facilities, including a town for the workers, an airport, drop zones for the spacecraft stages and a processing area, among other facilities. During construction in 2015, several spaceport workers began striking because they had not been paid, according to Radio Svoboda.

The strike took place around the same time that declines in Russia’s economy forced cutbacks to the space program, CNN reported, but Putin was also said to be taking control of Vostochny’s construction personally after hearing about the worker issues. In 2018, Yury Khrizman — the former construction company head that managed the Vostochny build — was sentenced to 12 years in prison following allegations of corruption at Vostochny.


Yep, and the real misinformation (and harassment) campaign in Russia has started. This may harm the NASA-Roscosmos relationship.

Edit: Hmm, Russia is more officially denying this, but it sounds like there are some mixed messages leading to the above article.


Russia is just so bad on so many fronts.


So is America. Generalities like that about entities that big, and that pluriform are empty.


Russians need to invoke martial law aboard the space station and get to the bottom of this! My personal suspicion is that the Japanese are at fault, and the hole is in response to Russia occupying the South Kuril Islands since WWII.


Yes very very true.


So this is not happening in space but…

Strangely enough a few things to note:

  • The sun isn’t really doing much right now (we’re in a minimum), and IIRC there aren’t even any sunspots to speak of
  • Since it’s pretty much looking at the sun, seeing some kind of alien life or proof of existence seem’s more far fetched than usual
  • If something had happened was this amazingly secret, how are people able to just walk up to the front gate, go past the yellow police tape and film around the entire outside of the facility? (Not to mention civilian drones.)

Still don’t quite get why AURA not only decided to close everything down but evacuated the facility, FBI shows up, and it’s cordoned off but not seriously. There was early speculation of a mercury leak (the observatory mechanism sits on a bed of mercury so it can easily move) but this was already denied early on. If they somehow intercepted a military or government transmission (how exactly that would take place I don’t know) why would they close everything down in such a fashion? If something bad was happening there, why is there no security except local sheriffs? Not a lot making sense at the moment.

— Alan