Centauri Dreams 30 Jun 2020, 16:17 UTC Red dwarf stars have fascinated me for decades, ever since I learned that a potentially habitable planet around one might well be tidally locked. Trying to imagine a living world with a sun that didn’t move in the sky was the kind of exercise that I love about science fiction, where playing with ideas always includes a vivid visual element. What kind of landscapes would a place like this offer to the view? What kind of weather would tidal lock conjure? Stephen Baxter’s novel Proxima (Ace, 2014) is a wonderful exercise in such world-building.
Bad Astronomy 30 Jun 2020, 13:00 UTC We know that a monster asteroid impact killed off the (non-avian) dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period. Sixty-six million years ago, a 10-kilometer wide space rock slammed into the Earth just off the coast of modern-day Yucatan, blasting a crater 150 kilometers wide and setting off a chain of catastrophic climate events that wiped out 75% of all species on the planet.
Universe Today 30 Jun 2020, 08:33 UTC Magnetars are some of the most ridiculous objects in the universe. Composed of the densest material possible spinning faster than your kitchen blender, they generate the absolute most powerful magnetic fields the cosmos has ever seen – and astronomers have recently spotted a newborn.
NASASpaceFlight.com 29 Jun 2020, 19:24 UTC Boeing powered up the Core Stage for the first Space Launch System on the B-2 Test Stand at the NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi last week following a long stand down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first Core Stage is at the outdoor facility for a Green Run test campaign that culminates in first-time propellant loading followed by an inaugural test-firing.
Universe Today 29 Jun 2020, 16:44 UTC So you want to colonize Mars, huh? Well Mars is a long ways away, and in order for a colony to function that far from Earthly support, things have to be thought out very carefully. Including how many people are needed to make it work. A new study pegs the minimum number of settlers at 110.
SciTech Daily 29 Jun 2020, 12:13 UTC A team of researchers simulated conditions on water-rich exoplanets in the laboratory and learned something surprising about their geological composition. Out beyond our solar system, visible only as the smallest dot in space with even the most powerful telescopes, other worlds exist. Many of these worlds, astronomers have discovered, may be much larger than Earth and completely covered in water — basically ocean planets with no protruding land masses. What kind of life could develop on such a world? Could a habitat like this even support life?
Universe Today 26 Jun 2020, 22:03 UTC The Moon is easily the most well-studied object in the Solar System, (other than Earth, of course.) But it still holds some puzzles for scientists. Why, for instance, is one side of the Moon so different from the other?
Lights in the Dark 26 Jun 2020, 15:29 UTC Astronomers using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and data from the now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope have announced the discovery of a Neptune-sized exoplanet orbiting AU Microscopii (AU Mic for short), a red M-dwarf star 31.93 light-years away and only about 20 to 30 million years old. The star is so young that it’s still surrounded by the protoplanetary disk of material within which planets form, and the planet, named AU Mic b, orbits so closely to the star that it completes an orbit every 8.46 Earth days (that’s a 203-hour-long year!)