June 8. 2014

Com Dev Itching for an Acquisition amid Shrinking U.S. Losses (Source: Space News)
 Satellite component builder Com Dev International of Canada on June 5 said it has cut costs and reduced losses at its U.S. operation following the decline in military satellite orders and that the Canadian parent is confident of making an acquisition in the coming months. Among the acquisition targets are component makers in Southern California, near Com Dev USA’s El Segundo plant. (6/6)

Lawmakers Duke It Out with NASA Over Telescope (Source: Roll Call)
When it comes to the science of telescopes, lawmakers seem to think they know better than NASA. NASA’s budget request for this coming fiscal year proposes to mothball an airborne telescope, known as SOFIA. Basically, the agency thinks the money spent on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy could be better used elsewhere. It’s the second-most-expensive thing in NASA’s Astrophysics Division, but the money could have a “larger impact supporting other science missions.”

Lawmakers in both chambers say NASA has got it all wrong, at least when it comes to aerial infrared telescopes. The House and Senate committees that pay the space agency’s bills have both proposed to keep the project up and running. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told lawmakers in April that the final decision to ground SOFIA hadn’t been made but that that was the proposal. With Democrats and Republicans in agreement to overrule his wishes, it’s a good bet his agency is going to end up keeping their expensive telescope. (6/6)

Astronomers Discover a Bizarre New type of "Hybrid" Star (Source: Future Timeline)
In a discovery decades in the making, scientists have detected the first of a “theoretical” class of stars first proposed in 1975 by physicist Kip Thorne and astronomer Anna Żytkow. Thorne-Żytkow objects (TŻOs) are hybrids of red supergiant and neutron stars that superficially resemble normal supergiants like Betelgeuse. They differ, however, in their distinct chemical signatures resulting from unique activity in their stellar interiors.

TŻOs are thought to be formed by the interaction of two massive stars – a red supergiant and a neutron star formed during a supernova explosion – within a close binary system. While the exact mechanism is uncertain, the most commonly held theory suggests that, during the evolutionary interaction of the two stars, the much more massive red supergiant essentially swallows the neutron star, which spirals into the core of the red supergiant. (6/6)

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