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Tokyo (AFP) - Dozens of space scientists are desperately scouring the skies after losing track of a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar Japanese satellite that was sent to study black holes. The ultra-high-tech "Hitomi" -- or eye -- satellite was supposed to be busy communicating from orbit by now, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said, but no one can say exactly where it is.
originally posted by: swanne
a reply to: skywatcher44
Probably a circuit malfunction. The Sun is something to watch out for if you're a circuit board in space.
I doubt it fell into a black hole. I doubt there's any black holes around Earth strong enough to engulf a whole satellite. Not because you're an unicorn hunter means that you'll necessarily get impaled by an unicorn. (Not saying black holes are unicorns, just making a logical analogy).
I hope they find it, S&F for sharing!
A new video shows Japan’s troubled Hitomi spacecraft tumbling in orbit. As the satellite crosses the screen (from right to left), it varies wildly in brightness—which means it’s shooting unstably through space
"Because the orbit of Hitomi is quite stable it is relatively easy to track. In fact, if the sky clears up I will be attempting additional video beginning tonight," Maley told Space.com in an email today, adding that he will be watching for any changes in its rotation. "So far, it remains unchanged at a bit over 10 seconds between major flashes. These peak flashes can reach + 3 magnitude (or slightly dimmer than the North Star) but are brief. Between these major flashes there are minor ones but the satellite is also invisible during each major flash cycle as well. My video does reveal that." - See more at: www.space.com...
In a short press release JAXA says that there is an ancient legend that inspires the name Hitomi. “One day, many years ago, a painter was drawing four white dragons on a street. He finished drawing the dragons, but without “Hitomi”. People who looked at the painting said “why don’t you paint Hitomi, it is not complete! The painter hesitated, but people pressured him. The painter then drew Hitomi on two of the four dragons. Immediately, these dragons came to life and flew up into the sky. The two dragons without Hitomi remained still. (Put Hitomi of Dragon in the drawing).”
JAXA says that the inspiration of this story is that Hitomi is regarded as the “One last, but most important part”, and so it wishes ASTRO-H to be the essential mission to solve mysteries of the universe in X-rays. Hitomi refers to the aperture of the eye, the part where incoming light is absorbed.
“From this, Hitomi reminds us of a black hole. We will observe Hitomi in the Universe using the Hitomi satellite!” JAXA notes.
originally posted by: JohnSmith77
If I was in charge of the space agency I would not spend my tax subsidy on theoretical research only such as black hole research. What we need is money spend on practical research such as how to colonize and terraform planets and how to improve human travel through space. Once we got Mars colonized we will have all the time of the World(s) to study the Universe. Priorities
Although I must admit I cannot say what the practical implications of blackhole research are, maybe my ignorance on the subject will make me look like a fool. If that is the case, forgive me.
originally posted by: GaryN
originally posted by: wildespace
a reply to: OneBigMonkeyToo
Russian news site told that it actually exploded.
That would likely happen if anyone tried to put a conventional, visible light telescope in space too.
Japan is abandoning a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar satellite it sent to study black holes, disappointed space scientists said Thursday, after spending a month trying to save it.
"We concluded that the satellite is in a state in which its functions are not expected to recover," Saku Tsuneta, director general of JAXA's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, told reporters.
"I deeply apologise for abandoning operation" of the satellite, he said.