Feb 11

Second stage of the Worldwide “Star Challenge” Astro Relay has been launched

Source: Star Challenge

In early February, the second phase of the Worldwide “Star Challenge” Astro Relay began. This event is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the first manned flight into space by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

The “Star Challenge” became known to the world at last year's official launch ceremony in Paris, which was held at the Russian representation at UNESCO. More than 50 thousand young people from all over the world took part in the first round, with the most active among them being adolescents from Russia, the USA, India, France and other countries.

The Worldwide Astro Relay aims to stimulate youth from around the world to take a greater interest in outer space and space-related issues, bringing it to a new level. The most popular topics, as expressed by the participants in the Astro Relay, include the environment, space exploration, and promoting friendship with extraterrestrial civilisations.

The site of the Worldwide “Star Challenge” Astro Relay, found at www.starchallenge.org, consists of a large number of topical interactive rubrics: “CosmoBrainers” is the main section, where most inquisitive participants of the Olympiad are able to demonstrate their knowledge in the spheres of physics, astronomy and mathematics; “CosmoWriters” is the creative part, which involves a variety of posts on a given topic; “CosmoArtists” is a section where participants in the Astro Relay represent their world in a popular way – through comics. Participants also have the opportunity to obtain answers to the most interesting questions from a number of legendary cosmonauts, including the first man to walk in space, two-time Hero of the Soviet Union Alexei Leonov, Hero of the Soviet Union Georgi Grechko, Hero of the Soviet Union Alexander Serebrov, in addition to many others.

In the second stage of the Worldwide “Star Challenge” Astro Relay, apart from demonstrating their theoretical knowledge, participants will also have the opportunity to express their imagination through creative projects, modelling and simulation projects, etc. In cooperation with Microsoft, in the “CosmoWriters” part of the competition, participants can make posts involving the use of unique images of outer space, taken with the WorldWide Telescope. The second stage of the “CosmoArtists” competition involves the realisation of a science fiction theme in cinematic form.

Following the second round and the final distance-based stage, the 20 top-ranking participants of the “Star Challenge” will be chosen. These fortunate enthusiasts will be able to attend the finals in Paris. The absolute winner will be given the opportunity to attend and observe a unique space launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The winners in the categories “CosmoArtists” and “CosmoWriters” will receive trendy multimedia devices.

The Worldwide “Star Challenge” Astro Relay is being carried out within the framework of the “Star Odyssey” educational programme of the Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (ROSSOTRUDNICHESTVO) with the support of the Federal Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS), as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Submitted by Maria Kravchenko


Star Challenge's webpage

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Feb 11

Cassiopeia A: NASA'S Chandra Finds Superfluid in Neutron Star's Core

Source: NASA /Chandra

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/xx; Optical: NASA/STScI; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

This composite image shows a beautiful X-ray and optical view of Cassiopeia A (Cas A), a supernova remnant located in our Galaxy about 11,000 light years away. These are the remains of a massive star that exploded about 330 years ago, as measured in Earth's time frame. X-rays from Chandra are shown in red, green and blue along with optical data from Hubble in gold.

At the center of the image is a neutron star, an ultra-dense star created by the supernova. Ten years of observations with Chandra have revealed a 4% decline in the temperature of this neutron star, an unexpectedly rapid cooling. Two new papers by independent research teams show that this cooling is likely caused by a neutron superfluid forming in its central regions, the first direct evidence for this bizarre state of matter in the core of a neutron star. (read more)

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