Deep space is not as silent as we have been led to believe. Every few minutes a pair of black holes smash into each other. These cataclysms release ripples in the fabric of spacetime known as gravitational waves. Now Monash University scientists have developed a way to listen in on these events. The gravitational waves from black hole mergers imprint a distinctive whooping sound in the data collected by gravitational-wave detectors. The new technique is expected to reveal the presence of thousands of previously hidden black holes by teasing out their faint whoops from a sea of static. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Elon Musk Just Shared an Image of the Main Body Tool for Building the BFR. That Thing is F’ing Big! In September of 2016, Elon Musk announced the latest addition to the SpaceX rocket family. Known then as the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) – now know as the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) – this massive launch vehicle is central to Musk’s vision of sending astronauts and colonists to Mars someday. Since that time, the space community has eagerly waited for any news on how the preparations for this rocket are going. Musk further inflamed people’s anticipation by recently announcing that the BFR would be readyRead More →

Zoom In, and In, and In! on this Amazing Falcon 9 Photo by Brady Kenniston On Monday, April 2 the 14th Commercial Resupply Mission to the International Space Station blasted off Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was carrying a Dragon spacecraft filled with cargo for the astronauts on board the station. The rocket was a re-used Falcon 9 rocket, as was the Dragon capsule; both had sent payloads to ISS before. To really appreciate that well worn, flight-tested rocket you should take a really really close look at it. And now you can, thanks to the work of NASA Spaceflight photographer Brady Kenniston. Brady took 25Read More →

Weekly Space Hangout: April 11, 2018: Emily Lakdawalla’s “The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job” Hosts: Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain) Dr. Paul M. Sutter (pmsutter.com / @PaulMattSutter) Dr. Kimberly Cartier (KimberlyCartier.org / @AstroKimCartier ) Dr. Morgan Rehnberg (MorganRehnberg.com / @MorganRehnberg & ChartYourWorld.org) Special Guests: This week we are excited to welcome Emily Lakdawalla, Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist at The Planetary Society, back to the Weekly Space Hangout. On On May 14th, Emily’s new book, The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job, will be released. It in, Emily describes the engineering thatRead More →

Carnival of Space #556 This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Brian Wang at his Next Big Future blog. Click here to read Carnival of Space #556 And if you’re interested in looking back, here’s an archive to all the past Carnivals of Space. If you’ve got a space-related blog, you should really join the carnival. Just email an entry to susie@wshcrew.space, and the next host will link to it. It will help get awareness out there about your writing, help you meet others in the space community – and community is what blogging is all about. And if you really want to help out, sign upRead More →

New Saturn Storm Emerging? The tell-tale white notch of a new storm system emerging on Saturn on April 1st. Image credit and copyright: Damian Peach. Are you following the planets this season? The planetary action is about to heat up, as Jupiter, Saturn and Mars all head towards fine oppositions over the next few months. Spying the Storms of Saturn Astrophotographer Damian Peach raised the alarm on Twitter this past week of a possible bright storm emerging of the planet Saturn. The spot was noticeable even with the naked eye and in the raw video Peach captured, a sure sign that the storm was a biggie.Read More →

SPHERE Reveals Fascinating Zoo of Discs Around Young Stars New images from the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope are revealing the dusty discs surrounding nearby young stars in greater detail than previously achieved. They show a bizarre variety of shapes, sizes and structures, including the likely effects of planets still in the process of forming. ESO News Feed Go to Source Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Io Afire With Volcanoes Under Juno’s Gaze An amazingly active Io, Jupiter’s “pizza moon” shows multiple volcanoes and hot spots in this photo taken with Juno’s infrared camera. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / ASI / INAF /JIRAM / Roman Tkachenko Volcanic activity on Io was discovered by Voyager 1 imaging scientist Linda Morabito. She spotted a little bump on Io’s limb while analyzing a Voyager image and thought at first it was an undiscovered moon. Moments later she realized that wasn’t possible — it would have been seen by earthbound telescopes long ago. Morabito and the Voyager team soon came to realize theyRead More →

Now’s Your Chance to Play Kerbal Space Program for Only $12 US I’m a huge fan of the Kerbal Space Program. I’m not great at it, but I’m a huge fan. In fact, I’ve said on many occasions that I’ve learned more about orbital mechanics from this game than I have from almost 20 years of space journalism – and I’m not the only one. It’s one thing to write stories about rockets flying to orbit, and quite another to actually design, launch and then pilot your own vehicle into orbit. And if you’ve been sitting on the fence, there’s a pretty sweet deal goingRead More →

Proxima Centauri Just Released a Flare so Powerful it was Visible to the Unaided Eye. Planets There Would Get Scorched Since it’s discovery was announced in August of 2016, Proxima b has been an endless source of wonder and the target of many scientific studies. In addition to being the closest extra-solar planet to our Solar System, this terrestrial planet also orbits within Proxima Centauri’s circumstellar habitable zone (aka. “Goldilocks Zone”). As a result, scientists have naturally sought to determine if this planet could actually be home to extra-terrestial life. Many of these studies have been focused on whether or not Proxima b could retainRead More →

What If New York City Had No Light Pollution? I grew up on a small island off the West Coast of Canada, with the darkest skies you could hope for. Although I live in a small town now, with some light pollution, I can still see the Milky Way from my backyard. But for the people living in some of the biggest cities in the world, like New York City, the sky is so much worse – the light pollution is ever present. You can see the few brightest stars and some of the planets, but mostly the sky is just a dull yellow glowingRead More →

When LIGO’s twin detectors first picked up faint wobbles in their respective, identical mirrors, the signal didn’t just provide first direct detection of gravitational waves—it also confirmed the existence of stellar binary black holes, which gave rise to the signal in the first place. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

The magnetic field is arguably one of the most mysterious features of our planet. ESA’s Swarm mission is continually yielding more insight into how our protective shield is generated, how it behaves and how it is changing. Adding yet another string to its bow, Swarm is now tracking changes in the magnetic field produced in the oceans in more detail that ever before. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

The H.E.S.S. telescopes have surveyed the Milky Way for the past 15 years searching for sources of gamma radiation. The H.E.S.S. collaboration includes scientists of the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Tübingen led by Professor Andrea Santangelo and Dr. Gerd Pühlhofer. They are interested in sources of very high energy gamma radiation in the TeV energy range, i.e. in the range of 1012 electron volts, corresponding to a trillion of the energy of visible light photons. For the first time they have been able to classify celestial objects using only the emission of this kind of radiation: very likely they areRead More →

This is the COOLEST! Everything that’s Orbiting the Earth Right Now Okay, if you’ve got some spare time, check out this amazing website called Stuff in Space. It’s a simulation of every satellite (alive or dead), space station, and large piece of space junk orbiting the Earth right now. You can zoom in and out, rotate the Earth and its satellites around. Pick any one object and discover more information about it. Or just leave it running and watch all the objects buzz around in real time. Humans have been busy launching a lot of stuff, and it’s only going to increase. The simulation wasRead More →

A Magnetar Just Woke Up After Three Years of Silence When stars reach the end of their main sequence, they undergo a gravitational collapse, ejecting their outermost layers in a supernova explosion. What remains afterward is a dense, spinning core primarily made up of neutrons (aka. a neutron star), of which only 3000 are known to exist in the Milky Way Galaxy. An even rarer subset of neutron stars are magnetars, only two dozen of which are known in our galaxy. These stars are especially mysterious, having extremely powerful magnetic fields that are almost powerful enough to rip them apart. And thanks to a newRead More →

Launching Rockets from Balloons is About to be a Thing, But We Need a Better Name than “Rockoons” One of the technological hurdles of our age is to get people and equipment into space more cheaply. SpaceX gets a lot of the headlines around that, with their reusable rockets. And so does Blue Origin, to some degree. Now a small start-up affiliated with Purdue University is tackling the problem and making some headway. The company is called Leo Aerospace LLC and they’re using balloons to lower the cost of putting micro-satellites into orbit, rather than reusable rockets. The balloons will be reusable, but the rocketsRead More →

Astronomers Just Found 72 Stellar Explosions, but Don’t Know What’s Causing Them A supernova is one of the most impressive natural phenomena in the Universe. Unfortunately, such events are often brief and transient, temporarily becoming as bright as an entire galaxy and then fading away. But given what these bright explosions – which occur when a star reaches the end of its life cycle – can teach us about the Universe, scientists are naturally very interested in studying them. Using data from the Dark Energy Survey Supernova (DES-SN) program, a team of astronomers recently detected 72 supernovae, the largest number of events discovered to date.Read More →

For centuries, human beings have wondered about the possibility of other Earths orbiting distant stars. Perhaps some of these alien worlds would harbor strange forms of life or have unique and telling histories or futures. But it was only in 1995 that astronomers spotted the first planets orbiting sunlike stars outside of our solar system. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →