Astronomy Now 13 Jan 2019, 16:58 UTC On 16 June 2018, astronomers spotted a celestial outburst in a galaxy 200 million light years away that was unlike any ever seen before. Over three days, the object known as AT2018cow – or “the Cow” for short — emitted a torrent of radiation 10 times brighter than a typical supernova that slowly faded away over several months.
Astro Bob 13 Jan 2019, 15:37 UTC From the mountains of British Columbia comes news of powerful bursts of radio energy from deep space. Astronomers estimate that thousands of these enigmatic lights scintillate across the sky, but they’re so fast and random it’s hard to know where to point a telescope to capture one. Called fast radio bursts or FRBs, they last only a millisecond or two, about as long the light in a typical photo flash. If our eyes could detect radio waves, the sky would pop like cameras at a presidential press conference.
SciTech Daily 13 Jan 2019, 00:12 UTC Many stars explode as luminous supernovae when, swollen with age, they run out of fuel for nuclear fusion. But some stars can go supernova simply because they have a close and pesky companion star that, one day, perturbs its partner so much that it explodes. These latter events can happen in binary star systems, where two stars attempt to share dominion. While the exploding star gives off lots of evidence about its identity, astronomers must engage in detective work to learn about the errant companion that triggered the explosion.
Starts With a Bang! 12 Jan 2019, 15:01 UTC The history of astronomy has been a history of receding horizons. The invention of the telescope took us beyond our naked-eye capabilities, to millions (and later billions) of stars within our own Milky Way. The application of photography and multi-wavelength astronomy to telescopes brought us beyond our own galaxy, to the distant “island Universes” populating all the space we can access. Yet, for all we know about the distant Universe, there still may be undiscovered worlds in our own Solar System. Why is that?
Centauri Dreams 11 Jan 2019, 19:00 UTC I’m going to make a bold claim that we are searching for life where the starlight can reach, and not where it is most common, in the lithosphere. One of the outstanding big questions is whether life is common or rare in the universe. With the rapid discovery of thousands of exoplanets, the race is now on to determine if any of those planets have life. This means using spectroscopic techniques to find proxies, such as atmospheric composition, chlorophyll “red edge”, and other signatures that indicate life as we know it. There is the exciting prospect that new telescopes and instruments will give us the answer to whether life exists elsewhere within a decade or two.
Starts With a Bang! 11 Jan 2019, 15:01 UTC Looking out at the Universe today, it’s easy to be absolutely awed by all that we can find. The stars in our night sky are just a tiny fraction — a few thousand out of hundreds of billions — of what’s present in our Milky Way. The Milky Way itself is just one lonesome galaxy out of trillions present within the observable Universe, which extends in all directions for some 46 billion light-years. And it all began some 13.8 billion years ago from a hot, dense, rapidly expanding state known as the Big Bang. That’s the first moment in which we can describe our Universe as being full of matter-and-radiation, and stepping forward from that state given the known laws of physics enables us to explain how the cosmos took its modern shape. But it’s all still expanding, forming new stars, and evolving. How will it end? Here’s what science has to say.
ABC 11 Jan 2019, 10:17 UTC China's national space agency has released the first panoramic images of the far side of the Moon since the historic landing earlier this month. The 360-degree photo shows the grey moonscape, the lander and the rover.