Geekwire 20 Sep 2018, 23:43 UTC Stratolaunch Systems, the aerospace company created by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, says it’s exploring the development of a series of rocket planes that would serve as a testbed for hypersonic flight.
Astro Bob 20 Sep 2018, 22:50 UTC The International Space Station (ISS) has a cycle. For a week or more, it only makes passes during daylight hours, so it’s invisible. Then it comes back into view in the morning sky at dawn for a couple weeks then transitions into the evening sky. After a few weeks of evening passes, it begins a new cycle with a return to daylight-only passes.
Centauri Dreams 20 Sep 2018, 16:38 UTC We’ve only orbited one object in the Solar System known to exhibit cryovolcanism, but Ceres has a lot to teach us about the subject. Unlike the lava-spewing volcanoes of Earth, an ice volcano can erupt with ammonia, water or methane in liquid or vapor form. What appear to be cryovolcanoes can be found not only on Ceres but Titan, and the phenomenon appears likely on Pluto and Charon. Neptune’s moon Triton is a special case, with rugged volcanic terrain in evidence, as opposed to much smoother surfaces without obvious volcanoes elsewhere.
Many Worlds 20 Sep 2018, 15:19 UTC The more exoplanet scientists learn about the billions and billions of celestial bodies out there, the more the question of unusual planets — those with characteristics quite different from those in our solar system — has come into play. Hot Jupiters, super-Earths, planets orbiting much smaller red dwarf stars — they are all grist for the exoplanet mill, for scientists trying to understand the planetary world that has exploded with possibilities and puzzles over the past two decades. Another important category of planets unlike those we know are the loosely called “water worlds” (with very deep oceans) and their “aqua world” cousins (with a covering of water and continents) but orbiting stars very much unlike our sun.
SPACE.com 19 Sep 2018, 16:26 UTC How to cook "nuclear pasta" in three easy steps:1. Boil one large, dying star until it goes supernova and explodes. (This could take a billion years, so be patient.)2. Vigorously stir any leftover protons and electrons inside the star's shriveled core until they merge into a soup of ultradense neutrons. Apply as much gravity as necessary.3. Scrunch the neutron stew into an airtight sphere the size of Toronto. Cover in a crystalline crust and serve at 1.08 million degrees Fahrenheit (600,000 degrees Celsius).
Astronomy Now 19 Sep 2018, 15:01 UTC An unusual infrared light emission from a nearby neutron star detected by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope could indicate new features never before seen. One possibility is that there is a dusty disk surrounding the neutron star; another is that there is an energetic wind coming off the object and slamming into gas in interstellar space the neutron star is plowing through.
Starts With a Bang! 19 Sep 2018, 14:01 UTC For perhaps 100 million years, the Universe was devoid of stars. The matter in the Universe required just half a million years to form neutral atoms, but gravitation on cosmic scales is a slow process, made even more difficult by the high energies of the radiation the Universe was born with. As the Universe cooled, gravitation began to pull matter together into clumps and eventually clusters, growing faster and faster as more matter was attracted together. Eventually, we reached the point where dense gas clouds could collapse, forming objects that were hot and massive enough to ignite nuclear fusion in their cores. When those first hydrogen-into-helium chain reactions began taking place, we could finally claim that the first stars had been born. Here’s what the Universe was like back then.