Astronomers discover strangely missing stars in galaxies near Milky Way

Astronomers discover strangely missing stars in galaxies near Milky Way

science, technology By Dec 21, 2023 No Comments

Several SpaceX launch delays have pushed a commercial moon lander’s liftoff back by a month.

Intuitive Machines , which had hoped to launch its robotic IM-1 mission no earlier than Jan. 12, 2024, will now wait an extra month to launch with SpaceX .

The new launch window begins no earlier than mid-February, Intuitive representatives said in a release on Tuesday (Dec. 19).

Once the launch window opens, it will last several days.

“The updated window comes after unfavorable weather conditions resulted in shifts in the SpaceX launch manifest,” Intuitive officials wrote.

Poor weather in Florida caused SpaceX to recently delay the launch of both a Falcon 9 rocket laden with Starlink satellites and a Falcon Heavy tasked with lofting the U.S. Space Force ‘s mysterious X-37B space plane , which can stay in orbit for a year or more at a time.


Moon mining gains momentum as private companies plan for a lunar economy IM-1 is poised to land at the south pole of the moon on what could be the first commercial mission to the surface, although that title depends on the launch timeline of the Peregrine lander built by Astrobotic Technology .

Peregrine is now manifested to fly Jan. 8 on board United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket, the debut mission for that launcher.

Intuitive Machines emphasized that its spacecraft is ready for launch, and it is only waiting for its Falcon 9 rocket to be available and for the launch window to open.

After the mission launches from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Florida’s Space Coast, the Nova-C lander will aim to touch down at the rim of Malapert A, a crater near the lunar south pole, when “specific lighting conditions” are available.

Several international private ventures have attempted, but not succeeded, in landing on the moon in recent years.

Tokyo-based company ispace’s Hakuto-R lander had a go this past April, for example.

But NASA hopes to make commercial landings a regular feature in the near future.

Both IM-1 and the Peregrine mission are funded under the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, or CLPS.

CLPS aims to support future crewed landings of NASA’s Artemis program , which aims to establish a research base near the moon’s south pole in the coming years.

— Why Is It So Hard to Land on the Moon?

NASA’s Artemis 3 astronaut moon landing unlikely before 2027, GAO report finds — Missions to the moon

Past, present and future NASA hopes to put the first human mission, Artemis 3 , at the south pole in 2025 or 2026.

Given delays with SpaceX’s Starship lander and some private spacesuits, however, the Government Accountability Office suggested that 2027 is the more realistic target .

Four astronauts will circle the moon with Artemis 2 no earlier than late 2024, assuming that crew training and the development of key hardware — the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket — continue to progress on schedule.

BATH, UNITED KINGDOM – AUGUST 01: In this photo illustration the logo of US online social media and From the rise of ChatGPT and Twitter’s rebrand to X, to the launch of Threads and diminishing buzz around the metaverse, 2023 brought major changes to the digital landscape and 2024 is poised to do the same.

Here are the top digital marketing trends the best brands and influencers will monitor and leverage in 2024: Marketers have long optimized their websites and content to rank higher on search platforms like Google and Bing – but increasingly, the most cutting-edge marketers are optimizing the social media content with equal detail.

Last year, the top search engine in the world, that roughly 40% of Gen-Z is using TikTok and Instagram for search instead of Google.

That’s why, it’s more important than ever for digital marketers to consider nuances such as keywords and metadata on social media posts.

This also means captions, inclusive of keywords and descriptive data can help improve a brand’s post discoverability.

So, while brevity historically drove social engagement, increasingly more keywords and content are likely to help boost post ranking.

In October 2022, Elon Musk completed his acquisition of then-Twitter with the reported-quest to return Twitter to a free speech platform.

Since then, Musk ignited a flurry of changes at the platform.

First, in January, Musk banned third-party apps from Twitter and put the platform’s API behind an expensive paywall.

Then, in April, Musk announced users would pay for verification marks.

Similar to other social platforms, the blue checkmark previously signified influencer status, but Musk eliminated this legacy verification program and instead, transitioned to paid program, whereby the blue checkmark represents a paid subscription.

The most notable update came in July 2023 when Musk rebranded Twitter to X, in a reported-attempt to make Twitter more of an “ ” platform where users can meet more of their consumer needs (banking, retail, etc.).

Then, in October, Musk announced an annual fee of $1 for users to post on the social network in Philippines and New Zealand.

Users who don’t pay can only access read-only features.

A year after Musk’s acquisition, the platform’s ad revenue is down 55% year-over-year.

As these changes settle in, X is likely to continue to evolve and launch new forms of monetization.

Of course, the value of a platform lies in its usage and with Twitter’s global traffic down this year could be crucial for the platform to prove its relevancy in the marketplace.

In July, Meta launched Threads, a text-based app built by Instagram, where users can view and follow public conversations.

As of November, Threads had a reported , a number which is sure to continue to rise after Threads was released in Europe last week.

While Threads is still relatively nascent in the digital space, as the app becomes available to more and more geographies and users, it could surpass X’s usage and usurp their former value as the go-to public text platform.

TikTok and ChatGPT may be more topical among marketers, but in many ways, YouTube is actually more impactful.

That’s because YouTube is more than a behemoth of a social media video platform, it’s also the second largest search engine in the world.

So, yes, it’s technically a social media platform but users — and marketers — leverage it much more like a search engine.

And if youth user typically behavior dictates what is next in digital, YouTube will maintain its top placement.

reports that 95% of teens ages 13 to 17 use YouTube – that’s more than any other social media platform.

For comparison, 66% use TikTok and 62% use Instagram.

Not only is YouTube highly utilized, the time spent on the platform is astounding, with Pew Research reporting say they use YouTube “almost constantly.”

YouTube Shorts specifically is a trend to watch.

Earlier this year, Google reported YouTube Shorts generates more than .

This is still a fraction of Meta’s Reels, which are viewed , but strong growth.

Given regulatory data concerns around TikTok, many marketers will continue to turn to YouTube Shorts and Meta Reels for their short-form video content.

Two years ago, Facebook changed its name to Meta, indicating a focus on the metaverse, which, according to is defined as “the next evolution in social connection and the successor to the mobile internet.”

This intentionally-broad definition enables Meta and tech companies to construct the metaverse as a mix of digital trends: augmented reality, virtual reality, gaming and more.

So, if the metaverse is increasingly positioned as a blend of the digital and physical world, the most closely correlated technology will be artificial intelligence.

The metaverse is still topical in its own right but in many ways, artificial intelligence will be more buzzworthy in 2024, even for Meta.

At Meta Connect in September, Zuckerberg announced the rollout of , an evolved chatbot for WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.

In addition to Meta AI, Meta launched 28 more artificial intelligences in beta.

Beyond traditional chatbots, these artificial intelligences include creative tools and characters and built with custom personalities, interests and opinions.

Meta may be the most mainstream platform for chatbots, but perhaps the most-talked-about artificial intelligence product of 2023 is ChatGPT, OpenAI’s chatbot.

ChatGPT launched in late 2022 and while much remains to be determined about ChatGPT’s role in marketing strategies, content creation was the first popular use case.

In fact, ChatGPT sparked an uptick in AI-written e-books, with some authors using the tool to take books from idea to publication in just hours.

ChatGPT is also gaining wider adoption among everyday consumers.

In February, ChatGPT set the record for the fastest-growing consumer app in history and as of November, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman announced ChatGPT had over active users.

With ChatGPT usage on the steady rise, chatbots are likely to continue to dominate digital discourse in 2024.

While initial growth looks promising, the success of the metaverse, chatbots and emerging artificial intelligences, as with all digital trends, is contingent upon continued user adoption, brand monetization – and of course, government regulation.

The adage is true that “people follow people” and so, influencers are poised to continue to dominate digital trends in 2024.

Yet, the terms of what defines an “influencer” are beginning to shift.

that nano-influencers, accounts with 1,000-10,000 followers on a social media platform, generate more than twice the engagement of macro-influencers.

That’s why, more and more consumer brands, particularly in beauty, fashion and wellness, are leveraging nano-influencers.

An added benefit?

They also typically charge brands a much lower price point.

Of course, for massive consumer retailers, depending on the campaign, macro-influencers are still the holy grail since they drive broader reach and brand recognition.

Yet, for companies looking to drive engagement with a more targeted audience in 2024, nano-influencers could be the key.

** From Artificial Intelligence and X, to YouTube Shorts and nano-influencers, there’s no shortage of trends to watch in 2024 – and yet, new platforms, products and capabilities will continue to emerge for advertisers to monitor, test and measure.

As with any digital strategy, in 2024, the best brands will surprise and delight target audiences as where, how and when, they reach them continue to evolve.

Some Apple users are eligible to receive a small chunk of change as part of a $25 million lawsuit settlement related to the tech company’s Family Sharing feature.

Earlier this month, Apple agreed to allocate funds for users enrolled with at least one other person in the popular subscription sharing system between June 21, 2015 and January 30, 2019.

Depending on the final number of filed claims through the official website , recipients will likely receive around $30—it may not be much, but that covers at least a couple months of Netflix or Hulu.

Those who believe they qualify have until March 1, 2024, to fill out, print, and mail a form currently available through the case’s official website , after which time a final approval hearing is scheduled for the next month to confirm all the fine print.

Originally filed in 2019, the lawsuit alleged Apple misrepresented how many thirty-party apps and services qualified for its Family Sharing option.

As its name implies, as many as six enrolled family members can all use the same subscriptions to Apple services such as Apple Card, Apple Music, Apple News Plus, Apple TV Plus, and Apple Arcade.

[Related: You may not be able to buy the latest Apple Watches after December 24th .]

Although certain third-party apps do opt into the feature, the original complaint claimed Apple “places and/or demands that its software developers place a small advertisement on the landing pages for its Apps which states that the App supports Family Sharing.”

Apple allegedly did this despite knowing the “vast majority of subscription-based Apps” did not support the feature.

Despite agreeing to the settlement terms, Apple denies it ever misrepresented Family Sharing’s scope.

According to the settlement stipulations, Apple will allocate up to $50 for each filed claimant, with a maximum of $10 million also going to pay for legal fees.

Affected customers can also expect to receive an email regarding the settlement in the near future, but can fill out the form at any time.

Payments, when they finally do begin rolling out, will be deposited either through ACH transfer or check.

No word on a timeline for that, however.

All that said, your potential Apple reimbursement comes with a caveat: If you sign up to pocket the cash, you forfeit the right to take part in any future lawsuits pertaining to the alleged Family Sharing false advertising.

If you feel like you somehow have the means to pursue your own legal justice, then it’ll have to be financed sans any Apple restitution for now.

If you’re planning on buying a new car in 2024 and want to be able to make use of the latest and greatest CarPlay technology, you might want to consider heading to your local Porsche or Aston Martin dealer, it seems.

Apple announced its revamped CarPlay interface alongside iOS 16 back in June of 2022, but we’ve been waiting to hear more about it ever since.

Now, it’s been reported that vehicles from those two companies are coming on board.

Car and Driver reports that while Porsche hasn’t been specific about which vehicles will offer the updated CarPlay look and feel, Aston Martin’s 2024 DB12 and DB12 Volante vehicles will be good to go.

For those who might have forgotten what all the fuss is about considering how long ago it was announced, what makes this updated CarPlay so important is its ability to work with multiple displays.

Currently, CarPlay can only work with the car’s main infotainment display, but the arrival of the updated version in these new cars will change that.

Here, CarPlay will also take over the car’s instrument display as well, hooking into in-car information like speed, mileage, and more.

Apple says that none of that information is stored on the connected iPhone, and the overall experience could be a huge upgrade.

Given the time it’s taken to get from Apple announcing the revamped CarPlay and there being some cars on the (admittedly far away) horizon, it’s unlikely that we will see too many on the roads in 2024.

Here’s to hoping that cars from more affordable brands will start to offer the same features sooner rather than later.

NORAD’s Santa Tracker lets families watch Father Christmas in 3D as he transits the South Pacific, Throughout the year the service members and civilian employees at the North American Aerospace Defense Command—more commonly known as NORAD—provide the aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and protection for Canada and the continental United States.

But one day a year each year they get to do something truly special, namely tracking Santa Claus as he travels the world delivering presents to boys and girls.

The 68th installment of NORAD Tracks Santa will take on a visual blend of military background and holiday cheer as the NTS Call Center takes up residence in Hangar 123, a structure that portends to a military operation more becoming of two of NORAD’s missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control.

In addition, the new location harkens to the beginning of the program in 1955 when a young child, trying to reach Santa, mistakenly called the unlisted number of Continental Air Defense Command’s Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, thus beginning NORAD’s one-day mission of tracking Santa as he travels the globe!

Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, who was working the evening shift, took the phone call from a boy who had followed the directions in a local department store’s newspaper advertisement that told children how to call Santa — except the number had been printed incorrectly, and instead was for the operations center.

Rather than being a Scrooge, Shoup and his team responded to that first child, as well as the many others who called on that first Christmas Eve.

In the process, it kicked off a new holiday tradition.

The role of tracking Santa then continued when NORAD was formed in 1958, and it’s been getting more popular and more technologically savvy ever since.

According to the DoD, as Santa flies around the world, satellites track his position by detecting Rudolph’s nose, which gives off an infrared signature similar to that of a missile.

NORAD also tracks Santa by using U.S. Air Force F-15, F-16, F-22, and Canadian Royal Air Force CF-18 fighter jets.

On Christmas Eve, U.S. Air Force fighter pilots rendezvous with Santa off the coast of Newfoundland and welcome him to North America.

They then escort him safely through North American airspace until he returns to the North Pole.

Of course, it is possible that Santa could be going a bit more high-tech as well.

“I suspect, with fewer chimneys large enough to accommodate a rotund, jolly person, Santa is probably learning to take advantage of drone technology this year,” suggested John Adams-Graf, military vehicles historian and editor of , the official newsletter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Society.

Currently, more than 1,500 Canadian and American uniformed personnel, Defense Department civilian employees, and others help each season, while volunteers and donations from numerous companies cover virtually all of the costs of running the program.

“Being in Hangar 123 roots the program squarely in the operational context that it came from,” said NTS program manager 1st Lt. Sean Carter.

“Over the years, this particular program has experienced several different iterations, sometimes leaning more into the festivities of the holiday season, other times celebrating the whimsy.

Ultimately, tracking Santa is a military operation, and having Hangar 123 as the new home to the call center couldn’t be more appropriate.”

In addition to calling in to NORAD to track Santa, kids today can use social media and mobile apps to follow St. Nick as he makes his way around the globe.

“NORAD’s Santa Tracker is a long-held tradition that continues in the social media era,” explained Dr. Julianna Kirschner of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California “In fact, social media has the potential to enable further exposure of Santa’s path,” she added.

“However, it is up to platform creators and owners to ensure such messaging gets through.

Social media trending topics tend to be heated, polarizing issues, so there would need to be changes to the algorithms that operate in those spaces to promote content like NORAD’s Santa Tracker.

Think of it as a much-needed ‘programming’ break for users of these platforms.”

Kirschner also suggested that perhaps the social media companies should look to the magic of the NORAD Santa Tracker on how it spreads a message of cheer.

“If platforms were to adjust their algorithmic structures to accommodate NORAD’s Santa Tracker, that would create a precedent for future actions to promote truthful content over hate-filled reactive messaging,” she continued.

“If it takes a mythical man with a white beard to accomplish this, we would all be better for it.”

A newfound population of stars in nearby dwarf galaxies represents the long-sought progenitors of a specific type of stellar death, or supernova , according to new research.

Theories have shown that, for every three massive stars, one is stripped of its outer hydrogen layers across hundreds, or even thousands, of years such that its scorching hot helium core — about 10 times hotter than the sun ‘s surface — gets exposed.

So, when these stars die in explosive supernovas, they leave behind hydrogen-poor environments different from other types of supernova events.

Despite their theorized abundance, “they were not observed until now,” study co-author Ylva Götberg of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria said in a statement .

“This was such a big, glaring hole,” study co-author Maria Drout of the University of Toronto said in a different statement .

“If it turned out that these stars are rare, then our whole theoretical framework for all these different phenomena is wrong, with implications for supernovas, gravitational waves and the light from distant galaxies.”

Related: Astronomers identify 1st twin stars doomed to collide in kilonova explosion Now, Drout and her colleagues have spotted 25 stars that appear to be stripped of their hydrogen envelopes in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds , two of the Milky Way ‘s closest galactic neighbors.

Many of these stars, which are about two to eight times more massive than our sun, are gravitationally bound to another star and form what’re known as binary systems.

These companion stars were likely responsible for removing hydrogen envelopes of the detected stars, scientists say.

A few stars are also accompanied by a neutron star , which is an ultra-dense remnant of a once-massive star, indicating that the detected system is just one step short of becoming a double neutron star system that would eventually merge, according to the new study.

To arrive at their conclusions, the researchers used data about the brightness of millions of stars collected by the Swift Ultraviolet Optical Telescope.

Then, using the Magellan telescopes at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, the team narrowed the list of candidates to 25 stars which showed unusual UV emissions, hinting at emptied hydrogen envelopes.

— ‘Oddball’ star shocks scientists with strange supernova — This new supernova, the brightest in years, could help astronomers forecast future star explosions — Is the puzzling star Betelgeuse going to explode in our lifetime after all?

While only 25 stars of this missing population have been found so far, “these stars have always been there and there are probably many more out there,” said Götberg.

“We must simply come up with ways to find them,” she added.

“Our work may be one of the first attempts, but there should be other ways possible.”

This research is described in a paper published Dec. 14 in the journal Science.

Source: space

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