Archive for the ‘Astronomy’ Category

Billions of New Neighbours?


(ESO PoTW) – Astronomers estimate that the Milky Way contains at least between 25 to 100 billion brown dwarfs. RCW 38 probably contains even more less massive, fainter brown dwarfs, which are beyond the detection limits of this image — so this new estimate could actually be a significant underestimation. Further surveys will reveal the true number of brown dwarfs lurking in the Milky Way. …

eso potw1729

ESO potw1729: Brown dwarfs in star cluster RCW 38

The Wink of a Star


(Planetary Blogs) – Emily Lakdawalla:

After a world-spanning effort, the New Horizons team has successfully observed the tiny target of its future exploration dimming a distant star. …

emily-lakdawalla 2017/0720 mu69

2014 MU69, artist's impression

The Great. Red. Spot.


(Syfy Wire::Bad Astronomy) – Phil Plait:

On July 11, 2017, at 00:55 UTC, the armored tank of a space probe Juno reached perijove, the closest point in its orbit over the mighty planet Jupiter. Screaming above the cloud tops at over 200,000 kilometers per hour — fast enough to cross the continental Unites States in a minute and a half — it took eleven minutes and 33 seconds to reach the Great Red Spot. …

syfy great-red-spot

Great Red Spot on 2017-07-11, by Juno

Thousands of Galaxies in One Frame


(National Geographic) – Catherine Zuckerman:

A groundbreaking telescopic portrait reveals galaxies millions of light-years away, and colors the human eye can’t see. …

nationalgeographic 2017/08 telescope-australia

Murchison Widefield Array telescope below Milky Way and radio galaxy Centaurus A

How Does the Earth Move Through Space?


(Starts With A Bang!) – Ethan Siegel:

On the largest scales, it isn’t just the Earth and the Sun that move, but the entire galaxy and local group, as the invisible forces from gravitation in intergalactic space must all be added up together. …

starts-with-a-bang 30ff73fd6313

Speeding galaxy

Where Is Our Sun’s Twin?


(Atlantic Science) – Marina Koren:

New research suggests sun-like stars are born in pairs, resurrecting the idea of a solar sibling from billions of years ago. …

theatlantic 2017/06 530676

Binary stars

Betelgeuse Captured By ALMA


(ESO PoTW) – This orange blob shows the nearby star Betelgeuse, as seen by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). This is the first time that ALMA has ever observed the surface of a star and this first attempt has resulted in the highest-resolution image of Betelgeuse available. …

eso potw1726a

Betelgeuse, by ALMA

Counting Unicorns


(Discover Blogs::Out There) – Corey S. Powell:

If Tabby’s Star is the most mysterious star in our galaxy–so described by Tabetha Boyajian, who first described it–then Przybylski’s Star may qualify as the second-most strange and mysterious star around. In this case the puzzle is the star’s composition, which appears to be filled with radioactive actinides, short-lived elements normally found only in nuclear experiments on Earth. …

outthere 2017/06/30 wright

Tabby's star and alien megastructure

Fomalhaut’s Debris Disc


(ESO PoTW) –

Fomalhaut is one of the brightest stars in the sky. At roughly 25 light-years away the star lies especially close to us, and can be seen shining brightly in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus (The Southern Fish). This image from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) shows Fomalhaut (centre) encircled by a ring of dusty debris — this is the first time this scene has been captured at such high resolution and sensitivity at millimetre wavelengths. …

eso potw1721a

ESO potw1721a: Fomalhaut debris disc

True Shape of the Boomerang


(ESO PoTW) – This picture shows the Boomerang Nebula, a protoplanetary nebula,  as seen by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The background purple structure, as seen in visible light with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows a classic double-lobe shape with a very narrow central region. ALMA’s ability to see the cold molecular gas reveals the nebula’s more elongated shape, in orange. …

eso potw1724

ESO PoTW 1724a: Boomerang Nebula, by ALMA