Many Worlds 28 Jun 2018, 13:59 UTC June 30th has been designated “Asteroid Day” to promote awareness of these small members of our solar system. But while asteroids are often discussed in the context of the risk they might pose to the Earth, their chewed up remains around other stars may also reveal the fate of our solar system. It is 6.5 billion years into our future. The sun has fused hydrogen into a core of heavier helium. Compressed by its own gravity, the helium core releases heat and the sun begins to swell. It is the end of our star’s life, but what will happen to the solar system?
ABC 27 Jun 2018, 18:53 UTC Our first ever visitor from interstellar space left a trail of mystery in its wake when it zipped past late last year. 'Oumuamua (oh-MOO-ah-MOO-ah) was first detected on October 19 using the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii, as it streaked across our solar system.
Starts With a Bang! 27 Jun 2018, 14:01 UTC Matter and energy tell spacetime how to curve; curved spacetime tells matter and energy how to move. It’s the cardinal rule of General Relativity, and it applies to everything in the Universe, including the entire Universe itself. In the late 1990s, we had collected enough data from distant galaxies in the Universe to conclude that they weren’t just moving away from us, their recession was speeding up. The fabric of space wasn’t just expanding, but the expansion was accelerating.
Scientific American 26 Jun 2018, 19:00 UTC If all goes according to plan, two spacecraft will commence close encounters of the curious kind with two separate asteroids by the end of August. Their goal: to retrieve samples that may contain organic materials dating back to the solar system’s birth. These building blocks may be key to understanding the origins of the planets and of life on Earth—and could also make future space prospectors very rich.
Centauri Dreams 26 Jun 2018, 16:38 UTC The K2 mission’s C16 and C17 observing campaigns — each containing observations of one patch of the sky for an 80-day period — have proven fruitful for astronomers at MIT. The institution’s Ian Crossfield, working with graduate student Liang Yu, has brought new software tools developed at MIT to work, producing results just weeks after the mission’s raw data for these observing runs were made available. Now we have nearly 80 new exoplanet candidates from C16, but we also have a method of fast analysis that should benefit future missions.