Centauri Dreams 25 May 2021, 17:19 UTC My fascination with the earliest era of star and galaxy formation leads me to a new paper on an intriguing find. The authors describe the distant object BRI 1335–0417 as “an intensely star-forming galaxy,” and its image as captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is striking. This is a galaxy that formed a mere 1.4 billion years after the Big Bang, making it the most ancient galaxy with spiral structure ever observed.
EarthSky Blog 25 May 2021, 11:10 UTC Astronomers used a new technique to pinpoint the ages of a sample of around 100 old red giant stars in the Milky Way. They were able to reach a much higher accuracy of the stars’ ages and they also found that a number of those red giant stars did not originate in the Milky Way.
Centauri Dreams 21 May 2021, 11:31 UTC Our recent look at the possibility of technosignatures at Alpha Centauri is now supplemented with a new study on the detectability of artificial lights on Proxima Centauri b. The planet is in the habitable zone, roughly similar in mass to the Earth, and of course, it orbits the nearest star, making it a world we can hope to learn a great deal more about as new instruments come online. The James Webb Space Telescope is certainly one of these, but the new work also points to LUVOIR (Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor), a multi-wavelength space-based observatory with possible launch in 2035.
ESO Blog 21 May 2021, 10:00 UTC Astronomers have discovered thousands of exoplanets –– planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. When looking for the chemical fingerprints that life might have left in the atmospheres of these worlds, astronomers have turned to an unlikely ally: the Moon. Lunar eclipses like the one we will see on May 26 allow us to study the Earth’s atmosphere in the same way we do with exoplanets, which will help us recognise the signatures of life when we eventually find them.