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Wednesday, Apr 24th

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Contact restored with NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe

Voyager 1

Contact restored.

That was the message relieved NASA officials shared after the agency regained full contact with the Voyager 1 space probe, the most distant human-made object in the universe, scientists announced Monday.

For the first time since November, the spacecraft is now returning usable data about the health and status of its onboard engineering systems, NASA said in a news release.

The 46-year-old pioneering probe, now some 15.1 billion miles from Earth, has continually defied expectations for its lifespan as it ventures further into the uncharted territory of the cosmos.

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Dead satellites are filling space with trash. That could affect Earth’s magnetic field

Space trashA dead spacecraft the size of a truck ignites with plasma and pulverizes into dust and litter as it rips through the ionosphere and atmosphere. This is what happens to internet service satellites during re-entry. When the full mega-constellation of satellites is deployed in the 2030s, companies will do this every hour because satellite internet requires thousands of satellites to constantly be replaced. And it could compromise our atmosphere or even our magnetosphere.

Space entrepreneurs are betting on disposable satellites as key to a new means of wealth. There are currently nearly 10,000 active satellites and companies are working as fast as possible to get tens of thousands more into orbit – for a projected 1m in the next three to four decades.

“We could get to 100,000 satellites in 10 to 15 years,” Dr Jonathan McDowell, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told me. Those satellites power hyper-connected internet services and may turn some billionaires into trillionaires – at the cost of shrouding the planet with toxic trash.

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Peter Higgs, who proposed the existence of the so-called 'God particle,' has died

Peter Higgs dies at 94Nobel prize-winning physicist Peter Higgs, who proposed the existence of the so-called "God particle" that helped explain how matter formed after the Big Bang, has died at age 94, the University of Edinburgh said Tuesday.

The university, where Higgs was emeritus professor, said he died Monday "peacefully at home following a short illness."

Higgs predicted the existence of a new particle — the so-called Higgs boson — in 1964. But it would be almost 50 years before the particle's existence could be confirmed at the Large Hadron Collider.

Higgs' theory related to how subatomic particles that are the building blocks of matter get their mass. This theoretical understanding is a central part of the so-called Standard Model, which describes the physics of how the world is constructed.

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Images from the Solar Eclipse: See photos of the rare event on April 8, 2024

Eclipse photos

A total solar eclipse dazzled citizens of the United States, Mexico and Canada on Monday, giving those lucky enough to have experienced clear skies with a somewhat rare celestial show.

People in Mazatlán, Mexico were the first to see the total solar eclipse at 2:07 p.m. ET. It then continued into Texas and along a “path of totality” spanning more than 100 miles across the width of the continent.

In the U.S., the sun was fully obscured by the moon for a few minutes in 15 states from Texas to Maine, but the eclipse was at least partially visible in 49 states. Alaska was the only state where the eclipse wasn't visible.

Follow along below for Yahoo News’s live coverage of Monday’s total solar eclipse. For those unable to view the eclipse in person, you can watch it in real time by clicking here.

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What time is the total solar eclipse on April 8? Search your ZIP code for a viewing guide

Total eclipse April 8th

Get ready for a spectacular show: A total solar eclipse will occur above the U.S. on the afternoon of April 8.

Most Americans will be able to see it in some form, but the distance between your location and the path of totality will determine how much of the sun will be covered by the moon. Many places in the U.S. − Rochester, N.Y., Cleveland, and Austin, Texas, to name a few − will see a total eclipse, in which the sun is completely obscured. Other locations will see a partial eclipse. Search for your ZIP code below or select a major city to reveal the time, duration, peak and percentage of the eclipse in your area.

On April 8 the moon will travel along the path of totality in North America starting in northern Mexico. The shadow of the moon will pass into Texas a little before 1:30 p.m. local time. It will then cover portions of the Midwest and East Coast and touch southeast Canada before it moves out to sea, according to NASA.

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This medieval astrolabe has both Arabic and Hebrew markings. Here's what it means

Astrolabe with Arabic and Hebrew markings

Sometimes a little modern technology can help turn up an ancient treasure — even if that technology is nothing more than a computer screen and a simple web search.

That's what happened to Federica Gigante, a historian at the University of Cambridge, who was putting together a lecture about people who collected Islamic art and artifacts. One of those collectors was a 17th-century Italian nobleman from Verona named Ludovico Moscardo.

"I simply Googled his name," recalled Gigante, "thinking, 'I'll stick his portrait on the PowerPoint.'"

Google produced a portrait — but the search also called up a picture of a room from the Museum of the Miniscalchi-Erizzo Foundation in Verona, Italy where that portrait is hanging. And something in this image snagged Gigante's eye.

TVNL Comment:  This inspiring article is worth a read, especially in these cynical times.

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‘Larger than Everest’ comet could become visible to naked eye this month

Larger than Everest comet

A comet that is larger than Mount Everest could become visible to the naked eye in the coming weeks as it continues its first visit to the inner solar system in more than 70 years, say astronomers.

The icy body is a Halley-type comet – meaning it will turn up once, or possibly twice, in a lifetime. Indeed 12P/Pons-Brooks, as it is known, completes its orbit once every 71.3 years, and is due to make its closest approach to the sun on 21 April.

While some reports suggest 12P/Pons-Brooks was spotted as far back as the 14th century, it is named after the French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons who discovered it in 1812 and the British-American astronomer William Robert Brooks who observed it on its next orbit in 1883.

Thought to have a nucleus about 30km (20 miles) in diameter, it is classed as a cryovolcanic comet, meaning it erupts with dust, gases and ice when pressure builds inside as it is heated.

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