News

Gravitational wave testbed repurposed as comet dust detector

26 April 2017 Stephen Clark

In the final months of Europe’s LISA Pathfinder mission, scientists have found an unexpected use for the trailblazing testbed for a future gravitational wave observatory by tracking the tiny dings made by microscopic particles that strike the spacecraft in deep space, exploiting the impacts to learn about the population of dust grains cast off by comets and asteroids across the solar system.

News

Cassini sails by Saturn’s moon Titan for last time

24 April 2017 Stephen Clark

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft sped by the moon Titan on Saturday, using the hazy world’s gravity to slingshot the probe on a trailblazing trajectory to explore the region between Saturn’s hydrogen-helium atmosphere and the planet’s famous rings for the first time.

Observing

Look out for Lyrid meteors around 22 April

21 April 2017 Ade Ashford

If skies are clear between midnight and the first glimmer of dawn this weekend, you may get to see some celestial fireworks from the Lyrid meteor shower. While it may not be the richest of the annual shooting star displays, the Lyrids can deliver a few fireballs and a portion of these medium-speed meteors can leave glowing trains.