Jul 2, 2017

The Internet of Things is making it harder to study space

Hajor / Wikipedia

Most connected devices use radio waves, be it WiFi or Bluetooth. Although it makes our lives more convenient, it's making astronomers' lives harder, according to Wired. Radio waves don't just come from humans, they're emitted by objects in space, and scientists can use them to analyze just about everything, from stars to nebulas to comets.

Right now, some radio wavelengths are reserved exclusively for radio astronomy. But that doesn't mean they're the only frequencies space sends towards Earth, and it's getting harder to detect space's signals through all the earthly noise. (Mysterious "alien" radio signals detected in Australia in 2015 were caused by a microwave, for example.)

Military and industry groups are working toward possible solutions, but they come with their own challenges. The best solution is to figure out how to share the spectrum, says Wired's Sarah Scoles. "If you fill the spectrum with man-made emissions, you will never be able to understand certain parts of the universe," astronomer Liese vanZee told Wired.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protesters clash with police nationwide over George Floyd

Police officers grapple with protesters in Atlanta. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray as the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd spread nationwide on Friday evening.

The big picture: Police responded in force in cities ranging from Atlanta to Des Moines, Houston to Detroit, Milwaukee to D.C. and Denver to Louisville. In Los Angeles, police declared a stretch of downtown off limits, with Oakland issuing a similar warning.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court sides with California on coronavirus worship service rules

The Supreme Court has ruled 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court's liberal justices, to reject a challenge to California's pandemic restrictions on worship services.

Why it matters: This is a setback for those seeking to speed the reopening of houses of worship, including President Trump.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,923,432— Total deaths: 364,836 — Total recoveries — 2,493,434Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,745,930 — Total deaths: 102,808 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.