Planetaria 15 Oct 2018, 22:24 UTC On October 4, 2018, the initial construction of one of the latest additions to the exoplanet-hunting family was announced – the European Space Agency’s Plato mission. The announcement was made at the 69th International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany, where the new contract was signed.
Discover 14 Oct 2018, 04:41 UTC I’ll admit, I was skeptical about the director of La La Land telling the story of Neil Armstrong’s historic landing on the Moon. (Would there be songs? A scowling J.K. Simmons?) It turns out to be a synergistic pairing of artist and material. First Man brushes aside the expected saga of space cowboys saddling up their steel horses, delivering instead a moving narrative of NASA’s glory days as seen through Armstrong’s eyes.
SpaceFlight Insider 14 Oct 2018, 01:10 UTC Roscosmos has announced the initial results of its investigation into the Soyuz MS-10 launch failure. According to the agency, the emergency abort was caused by a collision of elements during the separation of Soyuz-FG rocket’s first stage.
SpaceFlight Insider 12 Oct 2018, 19:30 UTC NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory entered into safe mode, according to a statement from the U.S. space agency. This comes about a week after another telescope—Hubble—entered into safe mode because of a gyroscope issue.
Centauri Dreams 12 Oct 2018, 16:45 UTC Can one properly represent humanity to the rest of the Milky Way galaxy with just two identical space vessels no bigger than a small school bus and two identical copies of a golden metallic long-playing (LP) record attached to the hulls of said vehicles which contain in their grooves sample images, sounds, languages, and music of their makers and their world? Our species can only hope so at this point, since the objects in question left Earth over four decades ago and are now tens of billions of miles into deep space heading in different directions through the galaxy. Although primarily planned and built to explore the planets, moons, and rings of the outer Sol system, these vessels were ultimately given another purpose and destiny preordained by their encounters with the places they were sent to. Ironically, this destiny relies on the existence of beings for whom there is as yet no evidence that they are actually out there among the stars.
Astronomy Now 12 Oct 2018, 16:09 UTC Kfir Simon of Israel captured this stunning view of the Horsehead Nebula from the Tivoli Southern Sky Guest Farm in Namibia using a 16-inch Hypergraph F8 telescope and an FLI Proline PL16803 camera. The photo also highlights NGC 2023, an often-overlooked nebula discovered in 1785 by William Herschel. Some four light years across, it is one of the largest reflection nebulae ever discovered. NASA describes NGC 2023 as “a beautiful star forming emission and reflection nebula … a mere 1500 light-years distant.”
Starts With a Bang! 12 Oct 2018, 14:01 UTC You can’t get mad at a team for trying the improbable, hoping that nature cooperates. Some of the most famous discoveries of all time have come about thanks to nothing more than mere serendipity, and so if we can test something at low-cost with an insanely high reward, we tend to go for it. Believe it or not, that’s the mindset that’s driving the direct searches for dark matter. In order to understand how to find dark matter, however, you have to first understand what we know so far, and what the evidence points to as far as direct detection goes. We haven’t found it yet, but that’s okay. Not finding dark matter in an experiment is not evidence that dark matter doesn’t exist. The indirect evidence all shows that it’s real. The question before us is how to demonstrate its reality, hopefully by finding the particle responsible for it directly.
The Astroholic 11 Oct 2018, 18:15 UTC The latest episode of The Astroholic LIVE was able to accidentally capture (or presciently if you want to give me more credit) the zeitgeist of this week’s discussion about moons. We talked about the possible names for a ‘moon orbiting another moon’ and a new paper has now come out and discussed just that.