At Horizon’s Edge…

An artist’s concept of New Horizons during the spacecraft’s planned encounter with Pluto and its moon Charon. The craft’s miniature cameras, radio science experiments, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers, and space plasma experiments would characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto’s atmosphere in detail. Credit: JohnsContinue reading “At Horizon’s Edge…”

Modified Gravity…

Rotation curve of the typical spiral galaxy M 33 (yellow and blue points with error bars) and the predicted one from the distribution of the visible matter (white line). The discrepancy between the two curves is accounted for by adding a dark matter halo surrounding the galaxy. Credit: Wikipedia Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Dark MatterContinue reading “Modified Gravity…”

Cosmic Family Portraits…

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Planetary Science, Space Exploration Jupiter’s rings, its moons Amalthea (bright point at left) and Adrastea (faint dot at left tip of rings), and even background galaxies are visible in this image from JWST’s NIRCam instrument. Whiter areas on the planet represent regions with more cloud cover, which reflects sunlight, especially Jupiter’s famousContinue reading “Cosmic Family Portraits…”

Death of Chrysalis…

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, NASA, Planetary Science WASHINGTON, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Call it the case of the missing moon. Scientists using data obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and computer simulations said on Thursday the destruction of a large moon that strayed too close to Saturn would account both for the birth of the gas giantContinue reading “Death of Chrysalis…”

Proxima Oceans…

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Exoplanets, Space Exploration, Spaceflight Astronomers have discovered a third planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the star closest to the Sun. Called Proxima Centauri d, the newly spotted world is probably smaller than Earth and could have oceans of liquid water. “It’s showing that the nearest star probably has a very rich planetary system,”Continue reading “Proxima Oceans…”

Cosmic Existentialism…

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Black Holes, Cosmology, Einstein, General Relativity “Small” black holes are estimated to make up 1% of the universe’s matter. Scientists have estimated the number of “small” black holes in the universe. And no surprise: It’s a lot. This number might seem impossible to calculate; after all, spotting black holes is not exactly the simplestContinue reading “Cosmic Existentialism…”

Dyson Sphere Feedback…

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Dyson Sphere, SETI Although the so-called Dysonian SETI has been much in the air in recent times, its origins date back to the birth of SETI itself. It was in 1960 – the same year that Frank Drake used the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia to study EpsilonContinue reading “Dyson Sphere Feedback…”

Exomoon Two…

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Exomoon, Exoplanets And then there were two—maybe. Astronomers say they have found a second plausible candidate for a moon beyond our solar system, an exomoon, orbiting a world nearly 6,000 light-years from Earth. Called Kepler-1708 b-i, the moon appears to be a gas-dominated object, slightly smaller than Neptune, orbiting a Jupiter-sized planet around a sunlikeContinue reading “Exomoon Two…”

Moments and Metaphors…

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Comets, Philosophy, Science Fiction On a recent morning, in Lower Manhattan, 20 scientists, including me, gathered for a private screening of the new film Don’t Look Up, followed by lunch with the film’s director, Adam McKay. The film’s plot is simple. An astronomy graduate student, Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), and her professor,Continue reading “Moments and Metaphors…”

From Redshift to Enlightenment…

Topics: Astrobiology, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Carl Sagan, James Webb Space Telescope, SETI The relief was as deep as the stakes were high. At 7:20 A.M. (ET), the rocket carrying the largest, most ambitious space telescope in history cleared the launchpad in French Guiana, and the members of mission control at the Space Telescope Science Institute inContinue reading “From Redshift to Enlightenment…”