Bi-Weekly Roundup: March 10, 2017

This is our weekly roundup from March 10, 2017. Over the past two weeks, there were many stories published in national new sites about astronomy-related events. In case you missed them, here are some of our highlights:

Featured Story: NASA 2017 Funding

“House passes NASA authorization bill” by Jeff Foust with SpaceNews.com

Published on 3/8/17

            The U.S. House of Representatives passed the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017. The bill designates $19.5 billion for NASA spending for 2017 on programs such as human exploration, with the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars, and the medical monitoring of former astronauts, amongst others. This bill is the first to pass through Congress since 2010.

Dark Matter

“A New Look at the Nature of Dark Matter” published by the Instituto de astrifisica de canarias 

Published on 3/6/17

            Dark matter composes of 80 percent of the particles in the universe, yet it continues to be one of the greatest mysteries among astronomers today. Astronomers believe that dark matter may originate from black holes, which cannot be detected directly and must be detected from an increase in brightness of observed quasars. This study focuses on the connection between black holes and dark matter, and how black holes may hold the key to unlocking dark matter.

Blue Origin

“Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’s Moon Shot, Gets First Paying Customer” by Cecilia Kang with New York Times

Published on 3/7/17

            Blue Origin is a rocket company founded by Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, and after many experiments, the company finally has a paying customer. The customer is the French satellite television provider “Eutelsat,” and this will be the first test for the “engineering-obsessed” company.

Cosmic Dawns

“Astronomers spot planet-forming gas and dust 600 million years after the big bang” by Daniel Clery with Science Magazine

Published on 3/8/17

            Astronomers in Chile found a distant galaxy that was formed at the beginning of the universe and is still creating planets from gas and dust. This discovery provides insight into the big bang and what astronomers call the “cosmic dawn,” which is an era of first generation stars. The benefits from this observation allows astronomers to see how gas was first ionized into what humans observe today.

Magnetic Reconnections & NASA’s ARTEMIS

“Studying magnetic space explosions with NASA missions” by NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

Published on 3/9/17

NASA is studying invisible magnetic explosions, known as magnetic reconnections, that occur around the Earth. These explosions are detected when magnetic fields cross over and release magnetic energy. NASA’s ARTEMIS (Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun) spacecraft has been studying magnetic reconnections for over a decade and continuously discovers new magnetic reconnections.