astrobites 9 Jul 2018, 17:31 UTC One of the biggest mysteries of astronomy focuses on, quite fittingly, the absolute biggest astronomical phenomenon we know of: the universe, how it came to be, and where it could possibly be going. To learn more about the evolutionary timeline of the universe, scientists measure the redshifts of far-away objects like black holes and galaxies. In a surreal (and really cool) way, these far-away objects and their redshifts give us snapshots in time of how the universe looked long, long, long ago.
Starts With a Bang! 9 Jul 2018, 14:01 UTC The largest group of newborn stars in our Local Group of galaxies, cluster R136, contains the most massive stars we’ve ever discovered: over 250 times the mass of our Sun for the largest. Over the next 1–2 million years, there will likely be a large number of supernovae to come from this region of the sky. But even this level of star-formation cannot compete with the most energetic fireworks the Universe has to offer.
Astronaut.com 7 Jul 2018, 12:43 UTC In the coming decades, NASA and other space agencies hope to mount some ambitious missions to other planets in our Solar System. In addition to studying Mars and the outer Solar System in greater detail, NASA intends to send a mission to Venus to learn more about the planet’s past. This will include studying Venus’ upper atmosphere to determine if the planet once had liquid water (and maybe even life) on its surface.
Scientific American 6 Jul 2018, 10:45 UTC Stepping out of a capsule no bigger than a modest home kitchen, the four-person crew of NASA’s latest Human Exploration Research Analog study “returned” to Earth last month after a 45-day mission to fictional asteroid Geographos. Although the capsule never actually left NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, the mission’s results could shape how the space agency’s astronauts someday handle the isolation, confinement and sleep deprivation likely to occur during interplanetary travel.
ESO Blog 6 Jul 2018, 10:00 UTC Since the Paranal Observatory opened in May 1998, it has become one of the most productive observatories in the world. The observatory houses the Very Large Telescope (VLT), ESO’s premier observatory consisting of four large telescopes and four smaller partner telescopes. For its 20th year in operation, we caught up with Steffen Mieske, Head of Science Operations at Paranal, to learn more about the past, present, and future of the observatory.
Astronomy Now 5 Jul 2018, 06:00 UTC Einstein’s understanding of gravity, as outlined in his general theory of relativity, predicts that all objects fall at the same rate, regardless of their mass or composition. This theory has passed test after test here on Earth, but does it still hold true for some of the most massive and dense objects in the known universe, an aspect of nature known as the Strong Equivalence Principle?