2020-08-31 (Monday)

Today, I learned about:

There are so many interesting things happening outside our small Earth, in the vast space of the Cosmos. I recently took a course on the edX MOOC (massive open online course) from the mighty MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The course had the title “Introduction to Aerospace Engineering: Astronautics and Human Spaceflight.”

What made the course so exceptionally interesting was, besides the contents with plenty of video clips further to the traditional Power Point style lectures, that the teacher of the course was no one less than an ex-NASA astronaut, Jeffrey A. Hoffman. His first space flight was in the first servicing mission of the Hubble telescope in December, 1993, and after that he participated in four more missions to the international space station ISS. Only a live astronaut can make a course like this even more interesting by telling his personal experience of those missions. See also reference #1 below.

Astronauts Franklin Story Musgrave and Jeffrey Hoffman install corrective optics during the first service mission to the Hubble telescope in December 1993. Photo courtesy by NASA.

Another interesting fact about the big wide space was published in June, 2020, by Popular Mechanics. It is a story about how a pulsar prepared itself to eat up a nearby star and released an outburst of cosmic X-rays thousands of times brighter than the sun!

Astronomers captured the “power up” sequence of a pulsar right before it gobbled up gas and dust from a nearby star and shot a burst of X-rays into space. It is the first time they have captured this entire process before. The research, astronomers say, will help us understand how pulsar outbursts form. Photo courtesy by NASA.

That’s what I learned in school !


1: Hubble Space Telescope, Servicing Mission 1

*: What did you learn in school today ?