LOFAR Sees Strange Radio Signals Hinting at Hidden Exoplanets

LOFAR

LOFAR sees ‘exoplanet aurorae’ near distant red dwarf suns.

A powerful new method may help to detect exoplanets, via the aurorae they induce on their host star. The finding was announced recently from ASTRON’s Low Frequency Array radio telescope (LOFAR), based out of Exloo in the Netherlands, and sprawled across sites in Europe.

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Using Quasars as a New Standard Candle to Define Distance

Quasar

A new study shows a way to use quasars to gauge distance in the early Universe.

The simple question of ‘how far?’ gets at the heart of the history of modern astronomy. Looking out across our galactic backyard into the primordial Universe, different yardsticks—often referred to as ‘standard candles’ —are used to gauge various distances, from near to far.

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Here’s Our Best View Yet of Asteroid Kleopatra

216 Kleopatra

The European Southern Observatory returns intriguing views of enigmatic asteroid 216 Kleopatra.

It’s not every day we get a new look at a distant world, let alone a strange misshapen asteroid. But that just what happened last week, when the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile released new images of asteroid 216 Kleopatra.

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A Flurry of Fall Binocular Comets

Comet T2 Palomar

Fall 2021 offers up an all-night parade of challenging telescopic comets.

Ready for the next big one? If you’re like us, the surprise appearance of Comet F3 NEOWISE last summer was a great teaser of what could be. To be sure, we’re still long overdue for the next great naked eye comet, but there’s always a steady stream of fainter fuzzies out there for owners of large light buckets to hunt down. Fall of 2021 sees half a dozen comets knocking on binocular visibility around +10th magnitude, from dusk ‘til dawn. So without further fanfare, here are the best cometary targets for September into October 2021:

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Review: Unistellar’s New eQuinox Telescope

equinox

A leader in the ‘smartscope’ industry releases its exciting new eQuinox telescope.

It’s every amateur astronomer’s dilemma. If you’re like me, the basic equation of ‘should I observe tonight?’ is always up against the same basic equation: is the time and effort worth it? Living under bright downtown urban skies, my options are to either head to the parking garage rooftop (and be restricted to bright targets), or load up, drive for several hours, setup at a remote dark sky site, observe, then repeat the reverse process and head home in the early AM hours…

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Skywatcher’s Delight: Nova RS Ophiuchi in Outburst and Comet O1 Nishimura

Rs Oph

The Perseids, a rare eruption of nova RS Ophiuchi and a challenging dawn comet round out an amazing week of skywatching.

It couldn’t have happened at a better time. While we’re all gearing up for the peak of the Perseid meteors this New Moon week on August 12th, two more astronomical events have given us a reason to step outside on warm August nights: the eruption of recurrent nova RS Ophiuchi, and the brief appearance of comet C/2021 O1 Nishimura.

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The Tears of the Hero: Get Ready for the 2021 Perseid Meteors

Persied

A sure-fire summer shower, the Perseid meteors are set to put on a spectacular show this year.

It’s one of my fondest astronomical observing memories of childhood. Growing up in Northern Maine, it was a family tradition to set the lawn chairs out on warm mid-August nights, and watch with my mom and brother as the Perseid meteors slid silently through the inky black sky.

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Balloon Mission May Also Work to Detect Quakes on Venus

An opportunity in 2019 lays the groundwork for balloon-borne detectors on Venus, working to unravel a key mystery.

The skies of Venus may become a busy place in the coming decade, using technology field-tested here on Earth.

A team out of NASA JPL-Caltech hypothesized that terrestrial earthquakes should also produce low-frequency infrasonic sound waves, which would be transmitted from the ground through the atmosphere as changes in barometric pressure. These sound waves, while difficult to detect, should be measurable via highly sensitive barometers carried aloft.

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