Friday, February 8, 2019

🚀 The Milky Way is Warped, Colliding Exoplanets, Photograph of the Chinese Rover from Orbit, Generation Ship Survival, and More...

Space Junk

Interview on Space Junk About Conspiracy Theories

My friends Tony Darnell from Deep Astronomy and Dustin Gibson from Oceanside Photo and Telescope have started up a new podcast called Space Junk. They had me on their latest episode to talk all about space-based conspiracy theories, although, the conversation quickly devolved into the Fermi Paradox and whether it makes sense to colonize Mars.

It was a lot of fun to do this episode and I think you'll probably enjoy the podcast. Might be a good one to add to your podcatcher.

Here's a link if you want to subscribe on iTunes, Anchor, or Spotify

Fraser Cain
Universe Today

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Big Rip?

Dark Energy Seems To Be Changing Over Time. Leading To A Big Rip?

Astronomers working with NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton have developed a technique to watch quasars and track the expansion of the Universe over the last 9 billion years.

What they found is that the mysterious dark energy that's currently accelerating the expansion of the Universe doesn't appear to be a fixed amount. It's changing, and appears to be increasing over time. 

If true, it's a groundbreaking discovery in cosmology, and it could just fortel the end of the Universe.

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Elon Musk's New Plan is to Get to the Moon as Fast as Possible

SpaceX has been doing a series of dramatic tests with its new Raptor engine this week, and Elon Musk announced that they're simplifying their plans to build a rocket capable of getting to the Moon as quickly as possible. The key to this will be the Raptor engine, which uses methane and liquid oxygen and not kerosene like previous engines. This is all in preparation for the upcoming hop tests of the "Starhopper", which is expected to happen in the next few months.

Milky Way

The Milky Way is Actually Warped

Astronomers have been studying the structure of the Milky Way, to better understand the nature of the galaxy that we live in. And new research seems to indicate that disc of the Milky way is actually warped, and not flat as previously believed. This has been seen in several other galaxies, actually, and appears to be caused by a torque from the inner disk.


The Biggest Non-Planets in the Solar System

We know all about the planets in the Solar System, but there are other fascinating worlds out there, like dwarf planets and moons. Ethan Siegel looks into 10 fascinating worlds that didn't made the planet designation, but still worthy of learning more about.

Solar eclipse

How The Sun's Scorching Corona Stays So Hot

While the surface of the Sun is only 6,000 Kelvin, the outer atmosphere can reach a few million Kelvin. This is known as the Sun's corona, and why it can get so hot is still a puzzling mystery to science. But it's a mystery that scientists have been studying for a while, and getting closer and closer to some answers. Paul Sutter explains the mystery and what's been figured out so far.


See the Journey that ESA's JUICE Mission Will Take as it Explores Jupiter's Moons

You're probably familiar with the upcoming Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter's icy moon. But did you know the European Space Agency is also planning an ambitious mission to the moons of Jupiter? It's called JUICE, and ESA just released a video that shows the path the mission will take as it visits Jupiter and its moons.

Exoplanet collision

Two Newly-Discovered Exoplanets are Probably the Result of a Catastrophic Collision

In the Kepler 107 star system there are two really strange planets. One has a density similar to the Earth, and the other has a density greater than solid lead. Astronomers are thinking these two worlds were caused by an enormous collision in the Kepler 107 system, essentially punching the guts out of a planet, separating it into two worlds. 

Large Magellanic Cloud

Star Forming Region Blows Bubbles in the Large Magellanic Cloud

You're looking at a photograph of a starforming region called N180B, which is actually located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The LMC is close to Earth, has only a single star-forming arm, and we see it face on, which lets astronomers peer into this star factory in a way that's harder to see in the Milky Way. 

ESA mission

ESA is Planning a Mission to the Smallest Spacerock Ever Visited: the Moon of an Asteroid

Worried about asteroid impacts? That's why we need to learn more about these dangerous spacerocks. NASA's DART mission is going to be traveling to the asteroid Didymos, to study it and learn what it might take to change its trajectory. ESA's Hera mission is going to come along for the ride, and visit Didymos' tiny moonlet, dubbed "Didymoon". 


InSight Just Put a Windshield Over its Seismometer

NASA's InSight Lander arrived at Mars in November, 2018, and it's still getting all its scientific equipment set up, just the way it likes it. The lander gently placed its seismometer on the surface of Mars, and has just placed a domed protective shield over the instrument. This will allow it to listen to the interior of Mars with a greater sensitivity than anything that's ever been sent to the Red Planet, and should help us understand how much it has cooled down since its formation.


NASA Orbiter sees the Chinese Lander on the Far Side of the Moon

The Chinese Chang'e-4 lander and Yutu rover just woke up from a nap over the lunar night, and now they're back to work. And NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped a picture of lander as it orbited overhead. That's it there, just a couple of blurry pixels lost in an ocean of lunar regolith. Just for a sense of scale, that crater on the right of the lander measures about 440 kilometers across.

Generation ship

How Big Would a Generation Ship Need to be to Keep a Crew of 500 Alive for the Journey to Another Star?

A voyage to another star might take thousands of years. Multiple generations would live and die on the journey. The question is, how much resources would a spacecraft need to support a crew of 500 people for the journey? 

Organic molecules

A Star's Outburst is Releasing Organic Molecules Trapped in the ice Around it

After a difficult winter the snow melts, revealing everything that had been covered up for months. Something like this is happening around a nearby star that just flared up. The increased radiation coming from the star has released a torrent of material from the disk, including a variety of organic molecules, like methanol and acetone. 

Other Interesting Space Stuff

Amazing Astrophotography on @universetoday

Bubble Nebula

Some astronomical objects get better the longer you look at them. This is a photograph of the Bubble Nebula taken by @mr_astronomer_, and it's made up of 11 hours of total data.

We have featured nearly 1,000 astrophotographers on our Instagram page, which has more than 153,000 followers. Want to do a takeover? Use the hashtag #universetoday and I'll check out your photos.


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