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Wednesday, Jan 26th

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James Webb telescope reaches final destination a million miles from Earth

James Webb telescope reaches destinationThe James Webb Space Telescope, which launched just under a month ago, reached its destination on Monday afternoon, positioning itself to orbit nearly 1 million miles from Earth.

The telescope, regarded as the successor to the Hubble, fired its onboard thrusters for about five minutes as part one final course correction before going around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point, or the L2 point, according to blog post from NASA.

Lagrange points are positions in space where objects tend to stay put, with the gravitational force of two large masses equaling the centripetal force needed to move along with them.

"Webb, welcome home!" NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in celebration of the $10 billion telescope reaching its goal.

"Congratulations to the team for all of their hard work ensuring Webb’s safe arrival at L2 today," Nelson said. "We’re one step closer to uncovering the mysteries of the universe. And I can’t wait to see Webb’s first new views of the universe this summer!"

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Nasa engineers complete the unfolding of the James Webb space telescope

Unfolding of James Webb telescopeNasa engineers yesterday completed the final unfolding of the huge primary mirror of the agency’s James Webb space telescope. The manoeuvre was the final step of the $10bn observatory’s two-week deployment phase that began with its launch on Christmas Day.

The telescope, which has already travelled more than 600,000 miles across space, is the largest, most powerful space telescope ever built and had to be folded up tightly so it would fit inside its Ariane 5 launch rocket.

Since then, engineers have been directing the slow unfolding, piece by piece, of the observatory as it heads on its voyage to a gravitationally stable point a million miles from the Earth. Its tennis-court size sun shield – which will keep its delicate instruments cold – has already been deployed, as well as its secondary mirror.

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Pittsburgh New Year’s Day meteor explosion equivalent to 30 tons of TNT, says NASA

New Year's meteor explosion

A meteor that caused an earthshaking boom over suburban Pittsburgh on New Year’s Day exploded in the atmosphere with an energy blast equivalent to an estimated 30 tons (27,200kg) of TNT, officials said.

The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh initially responded, suggesting the most likely explanation was a “meteor explosion” as people took to social media in search of answers.

Nasa’s Meteor Watch later confirmed the meteor blast in a Facebook post on Monday, saying a nearby infrasound station registered the blast wave from the meteor as it broke apart, causing sonic booms.

The data enabled an estimate of the energy released as equivalent to 30 tons (27,200 kilograms) of TNT.

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Elon Musk's SpaceX raises over $337 mln in fresh funding

Elon Musk raises $337m for SpaceXBillionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX has raised $337.4 million in equity financing, the rocket company disclosed in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

SpaceX, which counts Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Fidelity Investments among its investors, hit $100 billion in valuation following a secondary share sale in October, according to CNBC. It had raised about $1.16 billion in equity financing in April.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to Reuters request for more details on the latest funding round.

The company competes with former Amazon.com Chief Executive Jeff Bezos's space venture Blue Origin and billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic (SPCE.N) in the burgeoning constellation of commercial rocket ventures.

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The James Webb Space Telescope has started unfurling its giant sunshield

James Webb telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope, on a long and winding journey to its job site a million miles from Earth, has begun the key task of unfurling a giant umbrella-like shield to protect its delicate instruments from the intense radiation of the sun.

The deployment of the shade — one of numerous maneuvers that must be performed flawlessly for the $10 billion telescope to function properly — began Tuesday with the successful lowering of two arms known as Utilized Pallet Structures.

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E.O. Wilson, naturalist dubbed a modern-day Darwin, dies at 92

E.O. Wilson dies at 92E.O. Wilson, an American naturalist dubbed the modern day Darwin whose interest in ants led him to conclusions about human nature being directed by genetics rather than culture, died on Sunday at the age of 92, his foundation said.

Alongside British naturalist David Attenborough, Wilson was considered one of the world's leading authorities on natural history and conservation.

"E.O. Wilson was called 'Darwin’s natural heir,' and was known affectionately as 'the ant man' for his pioneering work as an entomologist," the foundation wrote. It did not cite a cause of death but said a tribute to his life was planned for 2022.

 

How to watch NASA's James Webb Space Telescope launch on Christmas Day

James Webb telescopeNASA and its international partners are counting down to a Christmas Day launch of the most expensive science probe ever built, a $10 billion telescope designed to capture starlight from the first galaxies born in the fiery crucible of the Big Bang.

Billions over budget and years behind schedule, the James Webb Space Telescope is targeted for blastoff from the European Space Agency's Kourou, French Guiana, launch site at 7:20 a.m. EST Saturday atop an Ariane 5 rocket, weather permitting.

Equipped with two solid-fuel strap-on boosters, the workhorse rocket will propel Webb away from the northeast coast of South America on an easterly trajectory, releasing the telescope to fly on its own about 27 minutes after liftoff.

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