. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

The Incredible ASIM: Distant galaxy edition
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Jan 12, 2022

The ASIM module as mounted on the exterior of the ISS.

The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor, or ASIM for short, is a first-of-its-kind complement of instruments on the International Space Station. Dubbed the 'space storm hunter', ASIM measures electric events in Earth's upper atmosphere with cameras, photometers and X- and gamma-ray detectors.

Recently, ASIM unexpectedly detected a unique gamma-ray burst from outer space. This fortuitous observation was published in Nature magazine, less than a year after ASIM made a cover story.

It came from outer space
Mounted outside the Columbus module and designed to look downwards for electrical discharges born in stormy weather conditions in Earth's upper atmosphere, ASIM recently detected another peculiar phenomenon: a burst of photon radiation coming from another galaxy.

The spurt turned out to be from an explosive flare from a magnetar located 10 million light-years away in a distant galaxy. Magnetars are a special type of neutron star - the collapsed core of what was once a supergiant star.

Neutron stars spin very fast. The magnetic field of magnetars, however, is believed to be so powerful that it slows down the spin, tearing at the star's crust and producing powerful bursts of radiation, x-ray and gamma-rays in particular.

Thanks to its design and performance, ASIM was able to record this gamma-ray photon outburst at extremely high speeds.

The measurements revealed unexpected, periodic "flickering" of the photon burst that will help to shed light on the physics of magnetars and the structure of neutron stars in general, one of the hottest topics in current research. The results were published in the December issue of Nature magazine.

Earth-bound and beyond
Since its launch in 2018, ASIM has been keeping researchers busy. From its vantage point outside the International Space Station, ASIM has provided tons of data on 'transient luminous events' sporting names like blue jets and red sprites taking place above thunderstorms in the upper atmosphere.

Aside from being a little-understood phenomenon and part of our world, these powerful electrical charges can reach into the stratosphere and above and change the chemical composition of the atmosphere with implications for the atmospheric radiation balance. The findings may help to make climate models more accurate.

Researchers are investigating the relationship between terrestrial gamma-ray bursts, lightning and high-altitude electric discharges across all seasons, across our world and at different times of day and night. Learn more about ASIM's mission in this handy infographic.

This week ASIM was moved to another spot outside the Space Station to gracefully make place for an American technology demonstration payload. The move was carried out by the Station's robotic arm.

From its new vantage point, just next to its current one, ASIM is pointing in a different direction, slightly more towards the horizon instead of straight down. This will help researchers work out how much our atmosphere influences the processes of electrical discharges. It's like viewing a firework display from the side: one can enjoy the shapes more than if one is just below the display.

ASIM was built by Danish company Terma, Danish Technical University, University of Bergen in Norway and the University of Valencia in Spain for the European Space Agency.

Research Report: "Very-high-frequency oscillations in the main peak of a magnetar giant flare"

Related Links
Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor at ESA
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Real-time alert system heralds new era in fast radio burst research
Montreal, Canada (SPX) Jan 05, 2022
McGill University scientists have developed a new system for sharing the enormous amount of data being generated by the CHIME radio telescope in its search for fast radio bursts (FRBs), the puzzling extragalactic phenomenon that is one of the hottest topics in modern-day astronomy. It is not uncommon for the CHIME/FRB project to pinpoint several FRB events in a single day of operation as it sifts through nearly 1 million gigabytes of data gathered by the telescope. With the new data sharing system ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Japan space tourist eyes Mariana Trench trip after ISS

NASA's newest astronaut class begins training in Houston

CES show highlights: Robo-dogs, self-sailing boat, brain tech

CES tech fair opens under pandemic shadow

Gilmour Space fires up for 2022 with Australia's largest rocket engine test

Indian Space Agency tests cryogenic engine for its first-ever manned mission

Virgin Orbit air drops rocket carrying 7 satellites

SpaceX launches 105 satellites from Florida

Sols 3355-2256: Closer to the Prow

Martian Meteorite's organic materials origin not biological

Sol 3354: Tantalizingly Out of Reach

Sol 3353: Raise the (Martian) Roof

Shouzhou XIII crew finishes cargo spacecraft, space station docking test

China to complete building of space station in 2022

CASC plans more than 40 space launches for China in 2022

China's astronauts mark New Year with livestream from space

Update on Africa's 1st Satellite constellation built by CPUT

Advances in Space Transportation Systems Transforming Space Coast

Planet to launch 44 SuperDove satellites on SpaceX's Falcon 9

Kleos' Patrol Mission satellites to launch in April

A second successful launch for SpaceCloud into space

Using High Temperature Composites For Sustainable Space Travel

Mangata Networks announces funding for satellite edge computing network

Take-Two to buy 'Farmville' creator Zynga for $12.7 bn

Unusual team finds gigantic planet hidden in plain sight

Cheops reveals a rugby ball-shaped exoplanet

Pandora mission to study stars and exoplanets continues toward flight

From dust to planet: how gas giants form

Oxygen ions in Jupiter's innermost radiation belts

Ocean Physics Explain Cyclones on Jupiter

Looking Back, Looking Forward To New Horizons

Testing radar to peer into Jupiter's moons

Reuters Events SMR and Advanced Reactor 2023

Reuters Events SMR and Advanced Reactor 2023

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2022 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.