compiled by David Kaplan
One Star Over, a Planet That Might Be Another Earth
Another Earth could be circling the star right next door to us. Astronomers announced on Wednesday that they had detected a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest neighbor to our solar system. Intriguingly, the planet is in the star’s “Goldilocks zone,” where it may be neither too hot nor too cold. That means liquid water could exist at the surface, raising the possibility for life…more
Aeolus space laser catches a following wind
Europe’s Aeolus space laser mission, which is designed to make unprecedented maps of Earth’s winds, has reached a long-awaited key milestone. Engineers at Airbus in the UK have finally managed to bolt together all the elements of the satellite after overcoming major technical challenges.
Aeolus is now set for several months of testing before being sent into orbit next year…more
Star snapped before and after nova explosion
Astronomers have captured rare images of a tiny star before, during and after it exploded as a “classical nova”. In this type of binary system, a white dwarf sucks gas from a much bigger partner star until it blows up – about every 10,000 to one million years. Now, a Polish team has caught one in the act using a telescope in Chile…more
The awakening of a classical nova from hibernation
Cataclysmic variable stars—novae, dwarf novae, and nova-likes—are close binary systems consisting of a white dwarf star (the primary) that is accreting matter from a low-mass companion star (the secondary).
From time to time such systems undergo large-amplitude brightenings. The most spectacular eruptions, with a ten-thousandfold increase in brightness, occur in classical novae …more
Don’t Let Them Tell You You’re Not at the Center of the Universe
Misconception: The universe started someplace.
Actually: The Big Bang didn’t happen at a place; it happened at a time, namely 13.8 billion years ago, according to the best cosmological data….more
Florida Company Gets Approval to Put Robotic Lander on Moon
A small start-up has received the green light from the federal government to do something that NASA has not done for more than four decades: land on the moon. Moon Express, based in Cape Canaveral, Fla., announced Wednesday that it had received approval from the FAA to set a robotic lander on the moon…more
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot ‘roars with heat’
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot – a hurricane three times bigger than Earth – is blasting the planet’s upper atmosphere with heat, astronomers have found. Using measurements from an infrared telescope in Hawaii, a UK and US team found evidence for temperatures as high as 1,500C – hundreds of degrees warmer than anywhere else on the planet…more
South African Telescope Spots 1,300 Unknown Galaxies
Left: A patch of sky about as big as the full moon where the MeerKAT telescope discerned the radio glow of about 200 galaxies. Only a few (circled) had been previously observed; Right: A distant galaxy with an explosive core powered by a black hole…more