News

Neutron star merger yields new puzzle for astrophysicists

19 January 2018 Astronomy Now

The afterglow from the distant neutron star merger detected last August has continued to brighten — much to the surprise of astrophysicists studying the aftermath of the massive collision that took place about 138 million light-years away and sent gravitational waves rippling through the Universe.

News

Asteroid missions on track to reach their destinations in 2018

18 January 2018 Stephen Clark

Pioneering spacecraft from NASA and the Japanese space agency promise to reveal two unexplored asteroids later this year, officials said Wednesday, beginning surveys that will culminate in daring descents to capture samples for return to Earth, where eager scientists await a hands-on look at the specimens.

News

Ingredients for life revealed in meteorites that fell to Earth

16 January 2018 Astronomy Now

Two wayward space rocks, which separately crashed to Earth in 1998 after circulating in our solar system’s asteroid belt for billions of years, share something else in common: the ingredients for life. They are the first meteorites found to contain both liquid water and a mix of complex organic compounds such as hydrocarbons and amino acids.

Picture This

Hubble’s barred and booming spiral galaxy

16 January 2018 Astronomy Now

This image, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3, shows a galaxy named UGC 6093. As can be easily seen, UGC 6093 is something known as a barred spiral galaxy — it has beautiful arms that swirl outwards from a bar slicing through the galaxy’s center.

Observing

See January’s totally eclipsed Blue Moon

14 January 2018 Ade Ashford

On 31 January we experience the second full Moon of the month, which by one definition makes it a Blue Moon. However, for observers in north-western North America, Oceania, East Asia or central and eastern Russia, this full Moon will have a decidedly reddish hue since it will be immersed in the Earth’s shadow during a total lunar eclipse.

News

Plot thickens as New Horizons moves within year of next flyby

6 January 2018 Stephen Clark

The final days before NASA’s New Horizons probe barrels in on its next destination on Jan. 1, 2019, should prove eventful, with scientists trying to sort out whether a distant mini-world detected by the Hubble Space Telescope more than three years ago may actually be a swarm of icy objects.