EarthSky Blog 16 Dec 2018, 19:01 UTC Exoplanets come in many different types and sizes, from small rocky worlds to gas giants much larger than Jupiter. Now, astronomers have discovered another unique world, with a helium-rich atmosphere they say is “swollen like a balloon.” The research team, led by scientists from the University of Geneva in Switzerland (UNIGE), published its peer-reviewed findings in the December 6, 2018 issue of the journal Science.
Planetaria 16 Dec 2018, 02:52 UTC In 2020, the next Mars rover will be launched by NASA, the Mars 2020 mission, which will search for evidence of ancient life. The rover will land in Jezero Crater, 49 kilometers (30 miles) in diameter. The crater contains an ancient delta system where a river once flowed into the crater, forming a lake. This is similar to Gale Crater, where the Curiosity rover is still currently exploring.
Scientific American 15 Dec 2018, 20:00 UTC A series of remarkable astronomical images have been released by a team of scientists working on a project known as Disk Substructures at High Angular Resolution Project (DSHARP). This effort is one of the large scientific programs being undertaken using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, positioned on the extraordinary Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean Andes - at an altitude of some 5,000 meters.
The Guardian 15 Dec 2018, 15:00 UTC Four billion miles from Earth, a swarm of little worlds circles the dark edge of our solar system. The sun is so remote from this place that it appears no brighter than a star. This is the Kuiper belt, a doughnut-shaped ring of icy objects that is one of the most mysterious – and one of the most scientifically intriguing – regions of space around our sun.
Universe Today 14 Dec 2018, 22:59 UTC It’s been 124 days since the Parker Solar Probe was launched, and several weeks since it made the closest approach any spacecraft has ever made to a star. Now, scientists are getting their hands on the data from the close approach. Four researchers at the recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C. shared what they hope they can learn from the probe. They hope that data from the Parker Solar Probe will help them answer decades-old question about the Sun, its corona, and the solar wind.
Universe Today 14 Dec 2018, 21:34 UTC In 2014 , the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft made history when it rendezvoused with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This mission would be the first of its kind, where a spacecraft intercepted a comet, followed it as it orbited the Sun, and deployed a lander to its surface. For the next two years, the orbiter would study this comet in the hopes of revealing things about the history of the Solar System.
SciTech Daily 14 Dec 2018, 02:07 UTC The R Aquarii system is a symbiotic binary star surrounded by a large, dynamic nebula. Such binaries contain two stars in an unequal and complex relationship — a white dwarf and a red giant. In a disquieting act of stellar cannibalism, the white dwarf is stripping matter from its larger companion. The tormented red giant and the unstable white dwarf occasionally eject matter in weird spurts, loops and trails — forming the curious shapes seen in these images.
The New York Times 13 Dec 2018, 23:17 UTC Riccardo Giacconi, an astrophysicist who won the Nobel Prize for pioneering the study of the universe through the X-rays emitted by the most violent actors in the cosmos, including black holes, exploding stars and galumphing clouds of galaxies, died on Sunday in the La Jolla section of San Diego. He was 87.