Astronomy Now 22 Jul 2019, 19:31 UTC Seeking to become the fourth nation to successfully land on the Moon, India launched an ambitious robotic lunar mission named Chandrayaan 2 on Monday, targeting a touchdown near the lunar south pole on 6 September.
New Scientist 22 Jul 2019, 16:00 UTC Early in the Milky Way’s history, it devoured another, smaller galaxy and made that galaxy’s stars its own. Now, astronomers have pinpointed the timing of this monstrous meal and identified which stars make up the grisly remains.
Universe Today 19 Jul 2019, 19:17 UTC LightSail 2, the brainchild of The Planetary Society, has gifted us two new gorgeous images of Earth. The small spacecraft is currently in orbit at about 720 km, and the LightSail 2 mission team is putting it through its paces in preparation for solar sail deployment sometime on or after Sunday, July 21st.
Planet Hunters Blog 19 Jul 2019, 15:15 UTC Since Planet Hunters launched in 2010, we’ve made all sorts of interesting discoveries, but apart from the occasional blog posted here you’ve had to wait until we’ve written them up in peer reviewed papers to hear about them. Such formal publication is important – it’s how information gets written into the scientific record, and how credit is recorded – but it’s slow, and this can be frustrating. It’s especially frustrating for volunteers who think they’ve found something and who then have to wait years for us to get around to doing the work required to turn a ‘maybe’ into a candidate worth publishing.
Starts With a Bang! 19 Jul 2019, 14:01 UTC Although our intuition is an incredibly useful tool for navigating daily life, developed from a lifetime of experience in our own bodies on Earth, it’s often horrid for providing guidance outside of that realm. On scales of both the very large and the very small, we do far better by applying our best scientific theories, extracting physical predictions, and then observing and measuring the critical phenomena. Without this approach, we never would have come to understood the basic building blocks of matter, the relativistic behavior of matter and energy, or the fundamental nature of space and time themselves. But nothing matches the counterintuitive nature of quantum vacuum. Empty space isn’t completely empty, but consists of an indeterminate state of fluctuating fields and particles. It’s not science fiction; it’s a theoretical framework with testable, observable predictions. 80 years after Heisenberg first postulated an observational test, humanity has confirmed it. Here’s what we’ve learned.
Drew Ex Machina 19 Jul 2019, 12:27 UTC As the historic Apollo 11 mission was heading to the Moon, a bit of space drama was unfolding before the eyes of the world. Just three days before the launch of Apollo 11, the Soviet Union had launched a 5.7 metric ton robotic spacecraft called Luna 15 towards the Moon with only a vague announcement about its mission. Speculation swirled through the Western press and among space observers about the flight’s true intentions: Was it some last-minute Soviet space spectacular? Or maybe an attempt to spy on or even interfere with the American Apollo mission? It would be decades before it was confirmed that this was actually a lunar sample return attempt employing the new E-8-5 spacecraft launched in a last ditch effort to secure the first samples from the lunar surface before Apollo.