Scientific American 14 Jan 2019, 17:00 UTC Picture a group of adventurous companions setting out into the great frontier to explore a barren, wild land. They must bring only the most important things they’ll need to survive on their own. Every ounce of weight they decide to take with them means another ounce they must transport. It sounds like an extreme backpacking trip, but I’m actually talking about a future mission to the surface of Mars.
io9 Space 14 Jan 2019, 13:56 UTC The human tolerance for sound is, on a galactic level, puny. Volcano eruptions, jackhammer-intensive construction work, My Bloody Valentine concerts—these tinnitus-inducing phenomena are barely whispers besides the majestic, roiling bursts and collisions going on in outer space. Of course, much of this activity is technically soundless—space’s atmosphere lacks the material that make sound waves possible. So for this week’s Giz Asks, we asked experts in astronomy and astrophysics what the loudest sound would be, if sound as we understand it existed up there. As it turns out, it sometimes does—and when it doesn’t, we can sometimes convert the relevant emissions to a sound tolerable to our tiny, earthbound ears.
NASA Space Station Blog 14 Jan 2019, 00:22 UTC The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft was released from the International Space Station today at 6:33 p.m. EST. Robotics controllers remotely commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to let go of the U.S. space freighter sending it on a solo trajectory back to Earth.
EarthSky Blog 13 Jan 2019, 19:05 UTC NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has ceased operations now, but there’s still a ton of data for scientists to go through in the hunt for new exoplanets. It’s not only professional scientists doing this, but also citizen scientists. And now citizen scientists have made another interesting discovery – a world roughly twice the size of Earth located within its star’s habitable zone – the region around a star where temperatures could allow liquid water on the surface of a rocky planet.
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?