David Reneke's World of Space and Astronomy 21 Sep 2017, 01:45 UTC
Space Fellowship 20 Sep 2017, 23:01 UTC
Astro Watch 20 Sep 2017, 21:40 UTC Scientists have long been intrigued by the surfaces of terrestrial bodies other than Earth which reveal deep similarities beneath their superficially differing volcanic and tectonic histories. A team of scientists from NASA, Hampton University and the University of Hong Kong propose a new way of understanding the cooling and transfer of heat from terrestrial planetary interiors and how that affects the generation of the volcanic terrains that dominate the rocky planets.
Universe Today 20 Sep 2017, 17:47 UTC In 2011, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft established orbit around the large asteroid (aka. planetoid) known as Vesta. Over the course of the next 14 months, the probe conducted detailed studies of Vesta’s surface with its suite of scientific instruments. These findings revealed much about the planetoid’s history, its surface features, and its structure – which is believed to be differentiated, like the rocky planets.
Starts With a Bang! 20 Sep 2017, 14:01 UTC This artist’s rendering shows a night view of the Extremely Large Telescope in operation on Cerro Armazones in northern Chile. The telescope is shown using lasers to create artificial stars high in the atmosphere. Image credit: ESO/L. Calçada.The ELT, at 39 meters in diameter, will dwarf everything that’s ever come before.“There are so many people who are arguing or fighting over issues which don’t have much relevance. We must all realise it is not worth it. It’s like being in the whirlpools which are always present behind a little rock near a river. We seem to be living in these little whirlpools and forget that there is a whole river. The picture is much bigger.” -Kalpana ChawlaIf you want to learn more about the Universe than you ever have before, there’s only so much you can do. You can improve your optics and your seeing, making your mirrors smoother and defect-free than ever before. You can improve your conditions, through adaptive optics or optimizing your observatory’s location. You can work on your camera/CCD/grism technology, to make the most of every single photon your telescope is capable of collecting. But even if you do all that, there’s one improvement that will ...
SPACE.com 20 Sep 2017, 11:50 UTC The double-star system V745 Sco is about 25,000 light-years from Earth, and consists of a big, aging red giant star and a small stellar core called a white dwarf. As they orbit each other, material from the red giant is pulled toward the white dwarf and falls onto its surface, eventually igniting bright nova explosions. In 2014, researchers spotted the system fading to 1/1000th of its brightness in optical light as an explosion died down.
EarthSky Blog 20 Sep 2017, 10:00 UTC In the faint southern constellation of Antlia (The Air Pump) the careful observer with binoculars will spot a very red star, which varies slightly in brightness from week to week. This very unusual star is called U Antliae and new observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) are revealing a remarkably thin spherical shell around it. U Antliae is a carbon star, an evolved, cool and luminous star of the asymptotic giant branch type. Around 2700 years ago, U Antliae went through a short period of rapid mass loss. During this period of only a few hundred years, the material making up the shell seen in the new ALMA data was ejected at high speed. Examination of this shell in further detail also shows some evidence of thin, wispy gas clouds known as filamentary substructures. This spectacular view was only made possible by the unique ability to create sharp images at multiple wavelengths that is provided by the ALMA radio telescope, located on the Chajnantor Plateau in Chile’s Atacama Desert. ALMA can see much finer structure in the U Antliae shell than has previously been possible. The new ALMA data are not just a single image; ALMA produces a ...
Space Fellowship 20 Sep 2017, 09:56 UTC Most photographs don’t adequately portray the magnificence of the Sun’s corona. Seeing the corona first-hand during a total solar eclipse is unparalleled. The human eye can adapt to see coronal features and extent that average cameras usually cannot. Welcome, however, to the digital age. The featured picture is a combination of forty exposures from one thousandth of a second to two seconds that, together, were digitally combined and processed to highlight faint features of the total solar eclipse that occurred in August of 2017. Clearly visible are intricate layers and glowing caustics of an ever changing mixture of hot gas and magnetic fields in the Sun’s corona. Looping prominences appear bright pink just past the Sun’s limb. Faint details on the night side of the New Moon can even be made out, illuminated by sunlight reflected from the dayside of the Full Earth.