Astrobiology Magazine 4 May 2018, 16:00 UTC A recent study suggests that the early martian surface may not have been dominated by ice, but instead it may have been modestly warm and prone to rain, with only small patches of ice.
Scientific American 4 May 2018, 14:00 UTC A big, puffy planet orbiting a small, bright star in the constellation Virgo is leaking helium into space. It’s the first time astronomers have spotted the element on a planet beyond the Solar System, after more than a decade of searching.
astrobites 4 May 2018, 12:00 UTC One of the most important mantras in studying exoplanets is this: you only know your planet as well as you know your star. This is because almost 95% of exoplanets have been detected indirectly, relying on stellar measurements to infer the existence of a planet. Using the transit method, we search for small dips in star light as the planet passes in front of the star. From this dip, we can approximate the size of the planet, assuming we know the size of the star. For radial velocity detections, we measure the “wobble” in star light as the planet tugs on its host star. And from this wobble we can measure the approximate mass of the planet, but again this is assuming we know the mass of the star. Because we rely so heavily on the stellar characteristics to infer planetary properties, we must characterize and classify these stars to the best of our ability.
ESO Blog 4 May 2018, 10:00 UTC The ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre opened its doors to the public on 28 April 2018 and one of our writers, Stephen Molyneux, was there to check it out for the first time. The centre is located right next to ESO Headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany, and it’s a full-on astronomical experience complete with a huge exhibition and immersive planetarium shows. Stephen reports on his visit.
Scientific American 3 May 2018, 17:45 UTC A mineral that requires the presence of water to form has been discovered in a lunar meteorite, a new study reports. The find suggests that hidden caches of water ice potentially useful for human exploration might be hidden under the surface of the moon, study team members said.
SpaceWeatherLive 3 May 2018, 16:04 UTC This coronal hole has been around for a while now and the last time it faced Earth, the solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole caused active geomagnetic conditions which stands for a Kp of 4. What should we expect this time around? To give us a clue on what to expect, we took a look at the solar wind data from STEREO Ahead. STEREO Ahead is a satellite monitoring the far side and it was inside the solar wind stream from this coronal hole around 27 April. The interplanetary magnetic field strength at STEREO Ahead increased briefly past 20nT and the north-south direction of the IMF (Bz) also peaked near -20nT for a short period. This was during the onset phase of the stream which we call a co-rotating interaction region where bunched up solar wind particles ahead of the solar wind stream arrives. The high speed solar wind stream reached solar wind speeds of over 600km/s a day later on 28 April.
Hubble Space Telescope Announcements 3 May 2018, 14:00 UTC For almost 28 years, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has not only revealed the beauty, wonder, and complexity of the Universe, but it has also brought astronomy to the public, greatly impacting our culture, society, and art.
SPACE.com 3 May 2018, 10:25 UTC A mineral that requires the presence of water to form has been discovered in a lunar meteorite, a new study reports.The find suggests that hidden caches of water ice potentially useful for human exploration might be hidden under the surface of the moon, study team members said.
Astro Bob 2 May 2018, 20:12 UTC Yuji Nakamura of Japan was taking pictures of the sky last Sunday night (April 30), when he recorded a remarkable stellar explosion in the constellation Perseus. It turned out to be a brand new nova. That night and the following night, the star was easily visible in binoculars. By last night it had faded a bit but remains easy to see in a small 3-inch telescope. Turns out the star, V392 Persei, was already known to astronomers as a dwarf nova. The star rarely gets brighter than magnitude 15, but that night it shot up to 6, the naked eye limit!