Tagged With astronomy
For years, it seemed as if the future of the Thirty Meter Telescope was writ in the stars. The enormous, next-generation observatory would explore the birth of galaxies and seek signs of life on alien worlds from atop the dormant volcano of Mauna Kea, one of the best places on Earth to study the sky.
Fast radio bursts, powerful pulses of radio energy of unknown cosmic origin, are a source of endless fascination to astronomers and alien conspiracy theory fodder to everybody else. But while most FRBs discovered to date are one-off events — a single chirp in the interstellar void, if you will — these phenomena got more interesting last year when astronomers discovered the very first FRB signal that repeats. Now, they have pinpointed its location.
Geoengineering is one of those things that sounds like maybe a good idea on paper but could also go horribly, apocalyptically wrong. But if the prospect of plunging Earth's weather systems into chaos isn't enough to convince scientists we need to tread very cautiously with the ultimate global warming tech-fix, perhaps this will: Geoengineering could be a disaster for science.
A glowing green ball of ice and rock is zipping past the Earth and on December 31, it can be spotted near the crescent moon — in a dark sky, with the aid of some good binoculars. But for those hoping this comet will veer off course and take aim straight at our sorry planet? Sorry, 2016 isn't that merciful.
As the Cassini spacecraft executes its final daredevil maneuvers, scientists on both sides of the Atlantic are already thinking about the next mission to Saturn. But this time around, nobody's talking about studying the gas giant itself. They're talking about hunting for life in Saturn's rings.
You thought those bright spots on dwarf planet Ceres were cool? That was only the half of it. Ceres is also covered in dark spots, craters that — because of their position — never see the light of day. Now, astronomers have discovered that at least one and perhaps many of these shadowy regions are filled with water ice.
NASA's Juno mission may have fallen behind schedule, but that hasn't stopped artists and amateur astronomers from having a blast with the data. The Jupiter-orbiting spacecraft's citizen science camera just sent back its second batch of close-up images — and over the past few days, folks have been processing them to create some out-of-this-world artwork.
Last week, the Cassini spacecraft began a series of dramatic, "ring-grazing orbits" that will see it fly high over Saturn's poles before diving perilously close to the gas giant's rings. Now, NASA has received back the first images from this exciting chapter in Cassini's last year of life — and they do not disappoint.