Centauri Dreams 14 Aug 2018, 16:50 UTC Speaking of getting really, really close to a star, as we were yesterday in our discussion of the Parker Solar Probe, I couldn’t help but turn to new computer models of the ‘ultrahot Jupiter’ WASP-121b. I still find it delightful that the earliest exoplanet detections involved a category of planet that few scientists had imagined existed. These days we routinely discuss gas giants blisteringly close to their hosts, and even manage to extract information about their atmospheres through transmission spectroscopy, but few people expected such planets when we began to discover them.
EarthSky Blog 14 Aug 2018, 10:30 UTC Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have been working toward this video for 26 years. It’s a zoom sequence – with this version posted July 26, 2018 – that takes you to the heart of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. This zoom video sequence starts with a broad view of the Milky Way. We then dive into the dusty central region to take a much closer look. There lurks a 4-million-solar-mass black hole, surrounded by a swarm of stars orbiting rapidly. We first see the stars in motion, thanks to 26 years of data from ESO’s telescopes.
NASA Commercial Crew Program Blog 13 Aug 2018, 20:01 UTC Hear from the five astronauts who will be the first to flying Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX‘s Crew Dragon to the International Space Station on the companies’ flight tests in 2019!
Centauri Dreams 13 Aug 2018, 16:42 UTC The first thing I did when I heard about the Parker Solar Probe’s successful launch (0731 UTC Sunday) was to double-check the spacecraft’s projected velocity when it makes its closest approach to the Sun. I always think in terms of high speed when contemplating operations close to our star, the legacy of the two Helios missions, which at present hold the record as fastest man-made objects. Placed in highly elliptical orbits after their launches in 1974 and 1976, the Helios spacecraft managed a sizzling 70 kilometers per second.
ESO Blog 10 Aug 2018, 10:00 UTC Reinhard Genzel’s team at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) recently found general relativistic effects during the closest approach of the star S2 to the Sagittarius A*, a supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. This discovery is not only a step forward in the research of the galactic centre, but it’s also a great leap in our understanding of physics. In the last of three blog posts, Reinhard Genzel discusses this recent discovery and what future research might look like.
ABC 9 Aug 2018, 20:03 UTC Around 2,500 years ago, ancient Greek astronomers thought the bright glowing ball in the sky was generated by a red-hot stone. We've come a long way since then, but the sun still holds many mysteries. NASA hopes a new spacecraft will unravel some of those secrets. Due to launch on Saturday around 5:30pm (AEST), the Parker Solar Probe is destined to plunge into the sun's atmosphere.
Astrobiology Magazine 9 Aug 2018, 19:00 UTC Close encounters between stars in the Milky Way’s largest globular cluster leave little room for habitable planetary systems