In this series we are exploring the weird and wonderful world of astronomy jargon! You’ll feel a little dense after reading about today’s topic: neutron stars!Continue reading “Astronomy Jargon 101: Neutron Star”
Engineers and scientists for the James Webb Space Telescope have completed two more steps in the telescope’s primary mirror alignment process, and in a briefing today, officials said JWST’s optical performance appears to be better than even the most optimistic predictions.
The team released a new engineering image, showing the star 2MASS J17554042+6551277 in crisp clarity. This image demonstrates that all 18 mirror segments have been precisely aligned to act as one giant, high-precision 6.5-meter (21.3-foot) primary telescope mirror.Continue reading “Webb has Now Taken the Sharpest Image the Laws of Physics Allow”
Nothing can escape a black hole. General relativity is very clear on this point. Cross a black hole’s event horizon, and you are forever lost to the universe. Except that’s not entirely true. It’s true according to Einstein’s theory, but general relativity is a classical model. It doesn’t take into account the quantum aspects of nature. For that, you’d need a quantum theory of gravity, which we don’t have. But we do have some ideas about some of the effects of quantum gravity, and one of the most interesting is Hawking radiation.Continue reading “A new way to Confirm Hawking's Idea That Black Holes Give off Radiation”
Nothing says springtime on Mars like defrosting dunes.Continue reading “It’s Springtime on Mars, and the Dunes are Defrosting”
As Russia wages its terrible war against its neighbour Ukraine, the deteriorating situation inside Russia is leading many Russians to flee the collapsing economy. According to Russian journalist Kamil Galeev, Roscosmos Director Dmitry Rogozin is prohibiting Roscosmos employees from leaving the increasingly isolated nation.Continue reading “Russian Space Agency Employees are now Forbidden to Travel Outside Russia (Because They Might not Come Back)”
If humanity is ever going to find life on another planet in the solar system, it’s probably best to know where to look. Plenty of scientists have spent many, many hours pondering precisely that question, and plenty have come up with justifications for backing a particular place in the solar system as the most likely to hold the potential for harboring life as we know it. Thanks to a team led by Dimitra Atri of NYU Abu Dhabi, we now have a methodology by which to rank them.Continue reading “Here are the 7 Best Places to Search for Life in the Solar System”
The next step to understanding exoplanets is to understand their atmospheres better. Astronomers can determine a planet’s mass, density, and other physical characteristics fairly routinely. But characterizing their atmospheres is more complicated.
Astronomers have had some success studying exoplanet atmospheres, and spacecraft like the James Webb Space Telescope and the ESA’s ARIEL mission will help a lot. But there are thousands of confirmed exoplanets with many more to come, and the Webb has many demands on its time.
Can smaller, ground-based telescopes play a role in understanding exoplanet atmospheres?Continue reading “Smaller, Ground-Based Telescopes can Study Exoplanet Atmospheres too”
One way to inspire kids to get interested in STEM is to introduce them to it at an early age. Lego is one of the best gateways to that interest, and the company has been busy churning out space-themed toys for most of its existence. Now another entry has joined that long, distinguished line of interlocking brick system designs – the Rocket Launch Center, #60351.Continue reading “LEGO Releases the new Rocket Launch Center set, Recreating the Artemis Moon Missions”
Last week, a small asteroid was detected just two hours before it impacted Earth’s atmosphere. Luckily, it was only about 3 meters (10 feet) wide, and the space rock, now known as 2022 EB5 likely burned up in Earth’s atmosphere near Iceland at 21:22 UTC on March 11.
While it is wonderful that astronomers can detect asteroids of that size heading towards our planet — as well as determine the asteroid’s trajectory and precisely predicted its impact location — the last-minute nature of the discovery definitely causes a pause. What if it had been bigger?Continue reading “A Tiny Asteroid was Discovered Mere Hours Before it Crashed Into the Earth”