ABC 9 Aug 2018, 20:03 UTC Around 2,500 years ago, ancient Greek astronomers thought the bright glowing ball in the sky was generated by a red-hot stone. We've come a long way since then, but the sun still holds many mysteries. NASA hopes a new spacecraft will unravel some of those secrets. Due to launch on Saturday around 5:30pm (AEST), the Parker Solar Probe is destined to plunge into the sun's atmosphere.
Astrobiology Magazine 9 Aug 2018, 19:00 UTC Close encounters between stars in the Milky Way’s largest globular cluster leave little room for habitable planetary systems
Starts With a Bang! 9 Aug 2018, 14:01 UTC When it comes to meteor showers, we have these dazzling pictures in our minds of seeing streaks of light appear all over the sky: rapidly, brightly, and profusely. Yet in real life, many of us have had experiences that pale in comparison, where we might spend an entire hour outside only to see five (or even fewer) faint meteors. Unless conditions are really right, meteor showers can be a tremendous disappointment. But during the peak of this year’s Perseids, from August 11–13, you’ll have a chance to see the best meteor shower in years. They should be rapid, bright, and relatively frequent. And most importantly, the skies should cooperate. Here’s the science of how it works, and what you should do to make the most of it.
EarthSky Blog 9 Aug 2018, 09:46 UTC Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are one of the most recent, and puzzling, discoveries yet in astronomy. They are powerful, but very brief, bursts of radio waves from deep space. They’ve been relatively rare so far, but astronomers continue to study them as they’re discovered. On August 1, 2018, astronomers used the Astronomer’s Telegram to report on another FRB, just detected, which is a little different from previous ones studied by astronomers.
Preparing for Liftoff 9 Aug 2018, 08:49 UTC As preparations for the launch of ESA’s latest Earth Explorer continue on track, the team at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana has bid farewell to the Aeolus satellite as it was sealed from view in its Vega rocket fairing – always an emotional moment for the team.
Geekwire 9 Aug 2018, 06:48 UTC Thirteen companies, including Boeing and Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture, will be doing studies for NASA on the future of commercial human spaceflight in low Earth orbit. All of the studies are due in December, and are supposed to cost no more than $1 million each. NASA still has to negotiate the contract amounts with the study groups, but it expects the total cost of the effort to come in at around $11 million.
Centauri Dreams 8 Aug 2018, 17:11 UTC Just how important is plate tectonics for the development of complex life? We’ve learned that its continual churn, with material pushing up from ocean rifts and being subducted as it meets continental shelves, can moderate the Earth’s climate. Increasing temperatures are tamped down through the capture of excess carbon dioxide in rocks, which reduces potential greenhouse conditions. Lowering temperatures will produce the reverse effect. The result is a mechanism for maintaining stable temperatures that some have seen as necessary for life.
Starts With a Bang! 8 Aug 2018, 14:01 UTC In the earliest stages of the hot Big Bang, the Universe was filled with all the particles, antiparticles, and quanta of radiation it had the energy to create. As the Universe expanded, it cooled: the stretching fabric of space also stretched the wavelengths of all the radiation within it to longer wavelengths, which equates to lower energies. If there are any particles (and antiparticles) that exist at higher energies that are yet to be discovered, they were likely created in the hot Big Bang, so long as there was enough energy (E) available to create a massive (m) particle via Einstein’s E = mc². It’s possible that a slew of puzzles about our Universe, including the origin of the matter-antimatter asymmetry and the creation of dark matter, are solved by new physics at these early times. But the massive particles we know today are foreign to us. At these early stages, they have no mass.