Monthly Archives: April 2014
Space is awesome. There’s no arguing that. But all of the really cool stuff is way out there—beyond the edges our solar system—in deep space. In fact, our solar system is pretty lousy. Everyone learns about it in first grade: You’ve got nine planets (or eight since Pluto got the boot), a few boring moons flying around them, the Sun, and that’s pretty much it—right? Actually, space has more wonders than you could possibly imagine, and some of them are right in our backyard
Blue supergiant stars are unique, in the sense that they are amongst the most luminous stars, and yet short-lived. These stars can transform into red supergiant stars before eventually exploding during the supernova event.
A very strange object called WISE 0855−0714 lies just 7.2 light-years from the earth. Discovered by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), it is nominally one of those not-quite-planets-not-quite-stars known as a brown dwarf.
While looking up information about the recently discovered Tamu Massif in the Pacific Ocean, I was surprised to learn that Olympus Mons is not the tallest Mountain in the solar system. I was even more surprised to learn that the mountain was not even located on a planet.
The Eta Aquarids can be a spectacular meteor shower. It peaks each year around early May and in the case of this year’s shower, the peak is expected in the morning of May 6, but meteors from this shower can be seen between April 19 and May 28.
Researchers have used new image processing techniques to reveal two rare images of planetary systems forming around their home stars. The images are, according to NASA, “two treasures that were hiding in the Hubble archives.” They are spectacular.
The European space observatory XMM-Newton has discovered two supermassive black holes in one quiet galaxy 2 billion light years away, according to a paper to be published in the May 10 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.
The life cycle of a star begins in a nebula and ends in a black hole. The lifespan of a star depends on its mass. The more massive it is, the shorter it lives. This ‘long’ and ‘short’ however, is in millions and billions of years! Now you know how long the life cycle of a star is!
Venus is the second planet from the Sun and is the second brightest object in the night sky after the Moon. Named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, Venus is the second largest terrestrial planet and is sometimes referred to as the Earth’s sister planet due the their similar size and mass. The surface of the planet is obscured by an opaque layer of clouds made up of sulfuric acid.
Using the new capabilities of the upgraded Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), scientists have discovered previously-unseen binary companions to a pair of very young protostars. The discovery gives strong support for one of the competing explanations for how double-star systems form.
Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and due to its proximity it is not easily seen except during twilight. For every two orbits of the Sun, Mercury completes three rotations about its axis and up until 1965 it was thought that the same side of Mercury constantly faced the Sun.