The New York Times 16 Oct 2017, 21:24 UTC Here are answers to some questions you might have about the discovery that was announced on Monday.
Universe Today 16 Oct 2017, 21:05 UTC Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is a mysterious place; and the more we learn about it, the more surprises it seems to have in store. Aside from being the only body beyond Earth that has a dense, nitrogen-rich atmosphere, it also has methane lakes on its surface and methane clouds in its atmosphere. This hydrological-cycle, where methane is converted from a liquid to a gas and back again, is very similar to the water cycle here on Earth.
Astro Bob 16 Oct 2017, 15:07 UTC This will be the scene tomorrow morning Oct. 17, when two planets and a very thin crescent moon, resplendent with earthshine, gather in the eastern sky. Created with Stellarium We’ve hit a run of clear skies, so it feels like a shopping spree up there. Anything a skywatcher might want to see — a sunset, meteors, a last look at Saturn, the Milky Way, the latest comets — is easy pickings. It’s no wonder the hobby of astronomy can drive some people crazy with its boom and bust cycle in the everlasting battle with the clouds.
ABC 16 Oct 2017, 14:04 UTC Gravitational waves have been in the news a lot lately. Two weeks ago, the Nobel Prize in Physics went to three of the leading scientists behind the 1,000-strong international project which first detected these miniscule ripples in the fabric of space-time. That first ever detection was back in 2015; the fourth ever detection was announced last month. Now an international team of scientists has detected gravitational waves from a new source: the cataclysmic collision of neutron stars, the smallest and densest stars in the universe. And this is much more than just the fifth in that historic series of detections. Scientists say this is a game-changer, which arguably rivals the original Nobel Prize-winning detection. Not only has it has produced an unprecedented amount of data and opened a new window on the universe, it will revolutionise science for decades to come. Here are six reasons why.
Tom's Astronomy Blog 16 Oct 2017, 04:57 UTC Very interesting take on how dust can turn into a planet from the University of Exeter. The University press release: A new study by an international team of scientists, led by Stefan Kraus from the University of Exeter, has given a fascinating new insight into one of the most respected theories of how planets are formed. Young stars start out with a massive disk of gas and dust that over time, astronomers think, either diffuses away or coalesces into planets and asteroids. However, scientists are still searching for a complete understanding of how these early formations come together to form asteroid-sized objects. One reason has been that drag in the disk produced by surrounding gas makes the grains move inward toward the star – which can in turn deplete the disk rapidly in a process known as “radial drift.” In the new research, the team use high powered telescopes to target the star V1247 Orionis -, a young, hot star surrounded by a dynamic ring of gas and dust. The team produced a detailed image of the star and its surrounding dust disc, shown in two parts: a clearly defined central ring of matter and a more delicate crescent structure ...
Scientific American 15 Oct 2017, 17:00 UTC Most of us have, at some time or the other, wondered about the nature of existence. Perhaps it’s been during a period of deep contemplation on our place in the swirl of life, a reflection on our own significance and improbability. Or perhaps it’s been after a couple more pints of beer than was really necessary, or during the thoughtful chomping of a cheese doodle at the half-time point of a sporting event.
The Daily Galaxy 15 Oct 2017, 16:04 UTC Galaxies are majestic, rotating wheels of stars? Not in the case of the spindle-like galaxies studied by Athanasia Tsatsi (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy) and her colleagues. Using the CALIFA survey, the astronomers found that these slender galaxies, which rotate along their longest axis, are much more common than previously thought. The new data allowed the astronomers to create a model for how these unusual galaxies probably formed, namely out of a special kind of merger of two spiral galaxies. The results have been published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. When most people think of galaxies, they think of majestic spiral galaxies like that of our home galaxy, the Milky Way: billions of stars, rotating in a flat disk similar to the way that a wheel rotates around its central axis. But there is another kind of galaxy, which used to be thought very rare: so-called prolate rotators, each shaped like a cigar, which rotates along its long axis, like a spindle. Now, a group of astronomers led by Athanasia Tsatsi of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy has completed a thorough study of these cosmic spindles. Using data from the CALIFA survey, a systematic study that examined the ...