Centauri Dreams 16 Aug 2019, 18:57 UTC The faint glow of a directly imaged planet will one day have much to tell us, once we’ve acquired equipment like the next generation of extremely large telescopes (ELTs), with their apertures measuring in the tens of meters. Discovering the makeup of planetary atmospheres is an obvious deep dive for biosignatures, but there is another. Biofluorescence, a kind of reflective glow from life under stress, could be detectable in some conditions at astronomical distances.
Parker Solar Probe Mission Blog 16 Aug 2019, 17:00 UTC After Parker Solar Probe’s successful first year in space, the mission team has decided to extend science observations as the spacecraft approaches its third solar encounter.
Starts With a Bang! 16 Aug 2019, 14:01 UTC For many years, astronomers have looked forward to a coming revolution in ground-based astronomy: going from the current generation of 8-to-10 meter telescopes to the next generation of 30-meter class telescopes. Approximately a decade ago, a variety of partnerships selected their preferred sites, instruments to build, and facilities to construct. Now, in 2019, two of them are right on track, while one — the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii — is years behind. The overwhelming majority of astronomers recognize that the preferred site for TMT, atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, would be the technically superior location to build it. But doing so would ignore the objections of many citizens whose concerns and values have been marginalized for over a century. As astronomers prepare for a field-defining choice, here’s what everyone should know.
Scientific American 15 Aug 2019, 18:00 UTC Canadian telescope finds eight more repeating blasts—energetic events from deep in the cosmos
Centauri Dreams 15 Aug 2019, 17:22 UTC So much rides on the successful launch and deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope that I never want to take its capabilities for granted. But assuming that we do see JWST safely orbiting the L2 Lagrange point, the massive instrument will stay in alignment with Earth as it moves around the Sun. allowing its sunshield to protect it from sunlight and solar heating.
Starts With a Bang! 15 Aug 2019, 14:01 UTC Every year, the Earth completes an orbital revolution around the Sun, returning to the same relative position that it last occupied a year prior. On the night of August 12, 2019, the Perseid meteor shower will reach its peak, on practically the same date that it did the year prior, as the Earth makes its annual pass through the cometary debris stream that causes those spectacular light streaks across our skies. The Perseids are very special among meteor showers for a number of reasons: they’re fast, they’re bright, and they’re extremely reliable. Year after year, even when there’s a full Moon present, the Perseids often put on a show unsurpassed by any other shower. Yet they’re also a reminder of the impending doom that’s headed our way: our eventual collision with an orbit-crossing comet or asteroid. If the body that created the Perseids ever collides with Earth, it will be a worse catastrophe than the extinction of the dinosaurs. Here’s the story everyone should know.
Universe Today 14 Aug 2019, 20:18 UTC What, exactly, is the inside of a neutron star like? A neutron star is what remains after a massive star goes supernova. It’s a tightly-packed, ultra-dense body made of—you guessed it—neutrons. Actually, that’s not absolutely true.