Space Features of the Week (11 December)

The usual summary of some of the space news worth discussing this week. I have provided a link and included my comments, so that you can go & pick the ones that interest you the most.

Why the Soviet space workhorse Soyuz is still going strong – 50 years on

[This is a question I’ve asked myself many times in the last decade. After all, the basic design for Soyuz was established by Korolev in 1962. This article tries offering answers.]

Scientists Track the First Time the Solar System Felt Jupiter’s Awesome Power

[Scientists have theorised for years now that Jupiter probably was not always in its current orbit. Now they put more variables in the equation to explain how and when.]

Voyage to Infinity

[With Pluto in the rearview, the New Horizons probe is speeding toward its next cosmic encounter.]

Hubble catches a transformation in the Virgo constellation

[The constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) is especially rich in galaxies, due in part to the presence of a massive and gravitationally-bound collection of over 1300 galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. NGC 4388, which is part of them, is experiencing some of the less desirable effects that come with belonging to such a massive galaxy cluster – and Hubble is observing.]

Fast-Spinning Star Boasts Never-Before-Seen ‘Starspots’

[Observations of an unusual fast-spinning star – called J1723-2837 -may help explain why such stars, known as pulsars, fluctuate in brightness. ]

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