Two neutron stars. One is 50% more massive than the other, yet they are almost exactly the same size. The results have big implications for understanding what neutron stars are really made of.Continue reading “How Squeezable are Neutron Stars?”
The May Moon Meets Venus and Mercury, at dusk en route to eclipse season and more.
Wonder where all the solar system action is hiding? While the dusk sky may seem devoid of planets (save for Mars), that’s all about to change this evening. The watch-phrase for astronomy in May 2021 is to ‘follow the Moon’ as it makes several spectacular planetary passes, then kicks off the first eclipse season of the year.Continue reading “Following the Moon for Amazing May Astronomy”
What’s better than a quasar? That’s right, two quasars. Astronomers have spotted for the first time two rare double-quasars, and the results show us the dynamic, messy consequences of galaxy formation.Continue reading “Astronomers see a Rare “Double Quasar” in a Pair of Merging Galaxies”
Things have been heating up lately over at Blue Origin, the commercial spaceflight company launched by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Since Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon to take a more hands-on role with his other projects, the company has made some rather positive strides. This includes a “dress rehearsal” test flight that took place on April 14th and brought their New Shepard a step closer to bringing passengers to space.
Following the success of this flight, Blue Origin recently announced they are planning to conduct the first crewed flight with the New Shepard by July 20th. In addition to the Blue Origin astronaut crew, one seat is being set aside for a commercial passenger. As of May 5th, Blue Origin announced that this ticket will be available for auction and that the proceeds will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future.Continue reading “Blue Origin Will Finally Fly Passengers to the Edge of Space in July”
Two companies, OneWeb and SpaceX, are racing to put fleets of thousands of communication satellites into orbit. In March they had their first near-miss. Avoidance maneuvers were successful, but how many more close calls will they face in the future?Continue reading “Starlink and OneWeb Have Their First Avoidance Maneuver With Each Other’s Constellations”
White dwarfs have some surprisingly strong magnetic fields, and one team of astronomers may have finally found the reason why. When they cool, they can activate a dynamo mechanism similar to what powers the Earth’s magnetic field.Continue reading “How can White Dwarfs Produce Such Powerful Magnetic Fields?”
Ever feel like no matter how far you fly you end up in the same spot? Ingenuity certainly does. The helicopter that has been making dozens of headlines lately for all of the firsts it is achieving as part of its mission on Mars so far has only returned back to its original take-off point. Named Wright Brothers Field, after the brothers who first brought controlled powered flight to Earth, it has been the site of all of Ingenuity’s firsts so far. But now the basic science of Ingenuity’s mission is over and it is time to start moving on, which it did last week to a new “air field”.Continue reading “Ingenuity Makes a one-way Trip for the First Time, Flying to a new Landing Site”
It’s widely known by now that the “dark side” of the moon, made famous by Pink Floyd, isn’t actually dark. It gets as much sunlight as the side that is tidally locked facing Earth. However, it is dark in one very important way – it isn’t affected by radio signals emanating from Earth itself. What’s more, it’s even able to see radio waves that don’t make it down to Earth’s surface, such as those associated with the cosmic “Dark Ages” when the universe was only a few hundred million years old. Those two facts are the main reasons the far side of the moon has continually been touted as a potential location for a very large radio telescope. Now, a project sponsored by NASA’s Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) has received more funding to further explore this intriguing concept.Continue reading “NASA is Getting Serious About a Radio Telescope on the Moon”
The magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune are really, seriously messed up. And we don’t know why.Continue reading “Both Uranus and Neptune Have Really Bizarre Magnetic Fields”
Many planetary systems may get snuffed out before they even get a chance to form, according to new research. The culprit: nearby stars, capable of evaporating entire protoplanetary disks just when they begin to form.Continue reading “Young Stars can Evaporate Nearby Disks Before They can Form Planets”