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.
The Planetary Society Blog 11 Oct 2018, 16:26 UTC An American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut are safe today following a failed rocket launch to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan.
Centauri Dreams 11 Oct 2018, 15:18 UTC With a robotic presence at Ryugu, JAXA’s Hayabusa2 mission is showing what can be done as we subject near-Earth asteroids to scrutiny. We’ll doubtless learn a lot about asteroid composition, all of which can factor into, among other things, the question of how we would approach changing the trajectory of any object that looked like it might come too close to Earth. The case for studying near-Earth asteroids likewise extends to learning more about the evolution of the Solar System. NASA’s first near-Earth asteroid visit will take place on December 3, when the OSIRIS-REx mission arrives at asteroid Bennu, with a suite of instruments including the OCAMS camera suite (PolyCam, MapCam, and SamCam), the OTES thermal spectrometer, the OVIRS visible and infrared spectrometer, the OLA laser altimeter, and the REXIS x-ray spectrometer. Like Hayabusa2, this mission is designed to collect a surface sample and return it to Earth.
Astrobiology Magazine 11 Oct 2018, 13:00 UTC Imagining NASA’s bold missions to the Moon and Mars just got a boost of creativity.
Astro Watch 11 Oct 2018, 08:41 UTC Astronomers from Lund University in Sweden have now found the explanation to a recent mystery at the center of the Milky Way galaxy: the high levels of scandium discovered last spring near the galaxy’s giant black hole were in fact an optical illusion.
ABC 10 Oct 2018, 19:08 UTC Rogue planets are the drifters of the galaxy, wandering interstellar space alone. Now it turns out they could have company in the form of moons — and perhaps even sustain life that hitched a ride on them.