(Phys.org)—Using the Shanghai Tianma 65m Radio Telescope (TMRT) a team of Chinese astronomers has detected a widespread presence of glycolaldehyde and ethylene glycol around the giant molecular cloud Sagittarius B2. The finding, presented Sept. 29 in a paper published on arXiv.org, could be important for studies of prebiotic molecules in the interstellar medium. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

At a distance of just 160,000 light-years, the Large Magellanic Cloud is one of the Milky Way’s closest companions. It is also home to one of the largest and most intense regions of active star formation known to exist anywhere in our galactic neighborhood—the Tarantula Nebula. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows both the spindly, spidery filaments of gas that inspired the region’s name, and the intriguing structure of stacked “bubbles” that forms the so-called Honeycomb Nebula (to the lower left). Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Scientist Find Treasure Trove of Giant Black Hole Pairs For decades, astronomers have known that Supermassive Black Holes (SMBHs) reside at the center of most massive galaxies. These black holes, which range from being hundreds of thousands to billions of Solar masses, exert a powerful influence on surrounding matter and are believed to be the cause of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). For as long as astronomers have known about them, they have sought to understand how SMBHs form and evolve. In two recently published studies, two international teams of researchers report on the discovery of five newly-discovered black hole pairs at the centers of distantRead More →

New Clues Emerge for the Existence of Planet 9 Planet 9 cannot hide for forever, and new research has narrowed the range of possible locations further! In January of 2016, astronomers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin published the first evidence that there might be another planet in our Solar System. Known as “Planet 9” (“Planet X” to some), this hypothetical body was believed to orbit at an extreme distance from our Sun, as evidenced by the orbits of certain extreme Kuiper Belt Objects (eKBOs). Since that time, multiple studied have been produced that have attempted to place constraints on Planet 9’s location. The latest studyRead More →

Not an Alien Megastructure, a Cloud of Dust on a 700-Day Orbit The mystery of KIC 8462852 (aka. Boyajian’s Star or Tabby’s Star) continues to excite and intrigue! Ever since it was first seen to be undergoing strange and sudden dips in brightness (back in October of 2015) astronomers have been speculating as to what could be causing this. Since that time, various explanations have been offered, including large asteroids, a large planet, a debris disc or even an alien megastructure. Many studies have been produced that have sought to assign some other natural explanation to the star’s behavior. The latest comes from an international teamRead More →

Carnival of Space #529 This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Brian Wang at his Next Big Future blog. Click here to read Carnival of Space #529 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 carnivalofspace@gmail.com, 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 →

In November 1572 a supernova explosion was observed in the direction of the constellation of Cassiopeia, and its most famous observer was Tycho Brahe, one of the founders of modern observational astronomy. The explosion produced an expanding cloud of superhot gas, a supernova remnant which was rediscovered in 1952 by British radioastronomers, confirmed by visible photographs from Mount Palomar observatory, California, in the 1960’s, and a spectacular image was taken in X-rays by the Chandra satellite observatory in 2002. Astronomers use supernova remnants to explore high energy physics in interstellar space. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

A new, low-cost attachment to telescopes allows previously unachievable precision in ground-based observations of exoplanets—planets beyond our solar system. With the new attachment, ground-based telescopes can produce measurements of light intensity that rival the highest quality photometric observations from space. Penn State astronomers, in close collaboration with the nanofabrication labs at RPC Photonics in Rochester, New York, created custom “beam-shaping” diffusers—carefully structured micro-optic devices that spread incoming light across an image—that are capable of minimizing distortions from the Earth’s atmosphere that can reduce the precision of ground-based observations. A paper describing the effectiveness of the diffusers appears online on October 5, 2017, in the AstrophysicalRead More →

VP Mike Pence Lays Out Administration’s Plan to go Back to the Moon Looking to the future of space exploration, NASA’s priorities are sometimes subject to change. In 2004, the Bush administration released it’s “Vision for Space Exploration“, which called for the development of rockets that would return astronauts to the Moon. This policy was later replaced by the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, which outlined plans to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars in the 2030s. Earlier today, on Thursday, October 5th, Vice President Mike Pence and several members of the Trump administration announced that their priorities have shifted onceRead More →

New Study Proposes a Giant, Space-Based Solar Flare Shield for Earth In today’s modern, fast-paced world, human activity is very much reliant on electrical infrastructure. If the power grids go down, our climate control systems will shut off, our computers will die, and all electronic forms of commerce and communication will cease. But in addition to that, human activity in the 21st century is also becoming increasingly dependent upon the infrastructure located in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Aside from the many telecommunications satellites that are currently in space, there’s also the International Space Station and a fleet of GPS satellites. It is for this reasonRead More →

Weekly Space Hangout -Oct 4, 2017: CosmoQuest’s Image Detective Citizen Science Project 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 Guest: Dr. Pamela Gay of CosmoQuest will be discussing and demonstrating the new citizen science project Image Detective, where people can help identify locations in space and on Earth in photos taken by astronauts on the ISS and spacecraft. Announcements: If you would like to join the Weekly Space Hangout Crew, visit their site here and sign up. They’re a great team who can helpRead More →

NRO Spysat Set to Kick Off Florida Space Coast Launch Double Header Overnight Oct. 5 on ULA Atlas V: Watch Live A ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the NROL-52 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office stands poised for launch. Liftoff is slated for is 4:07 a.m. ET, Oct. 5, 2017 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL — A classified spy satellite for the U.S. governments National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is set to kick of a launch double header this week on the Florida Space Coast with what should be aRead More →

LIGO Scientists who Detected Gravitational Waves Awarded Nobel Prize in Physics In February of 2016, scientists working for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) made history when they announced the first-ever detection of gravitational waves. Since that time, multiple detections have taken place and scientific collaborations between observatories  – like Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo – is are allowing for unprecedented levels of sensitivity and data sharing. Not only was the first-time detection of gravity waves an historic accomplishment, it ushered in a new era of astrophysics. It is little wonder then why the three researchers who were central to the first detection have beenRead More →

Determining the Mass of the Milky Way Using Hypervelocity Stars For centuries, astronomers have been looking beyond our Solar System to learn more about the Milky Way Galaxy. And yet, there are still many things about it that elude us, such as knowing its precise mass. Determining this is important to understanding the history of galaxy formation and the evolution of our Universe. As such, astronomers have attempted various techniques for measuring the true mass of the Milky Way. So far, none of these methods have been particularly successful. However, a new study by a team of researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics proposedRead More →

An international team of researchers has found evidence that the brightest stellar explosions in our Universe could be triggered by helium nuclear detonation near the surface of a white dwarf star. Using Hyper Suprime-Cam mounted on the Subaru Telescope, the team detected a type Ia supernova within a day after the explosion, and explained its behavior through a model calculated using the supercomputer ATERUI. This result was reported in Nature published on Oct. 5. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Scientists will use NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to study sections of the sky previously observed by NASA’s Great Observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, to understand the creation of the universe’s first galaxies and stars. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

SpaceX Targets Saturday Launch of SES-11 after Successful Static Fire Test of Recycled Rocket; Space Coast Gator Gazes in Glee SpaceX conducts successful static hot fire test of recycled Falcon 9 at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on 2 Oct 2017 as a gator gazes from Playalinda waterways, FL. Liftoff is slated for 7 Oct 2017 with SES-11/EchoStar 105 telecommunications comsat. Credit: Ken Kremer/Kenkremer.com PLAYALINDA/KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – SpaceX is targeting Saturday Oct. 7 for blastoff of the SES-11/EchoStar 105 commercial telecomsat following a successful static fire test of the first stage engines of the ‘used’ Falcon 9 booster, as aRead More →