Most of us are familiar with sunspots – dark, cool blemishes on the surface of the Sun that appear and disappear. Now, astronomers using the European Southern Observatory telescopes announced that they have found stellar spots that are hotter and brighter than the surface of their stars.
For those observing gamma rays, there is a new telescope array in town. The prototype Schwarzchild-Couder Telescope is testing a new design for detecting the cascades of light created when high-energy gamma rays strike our atmosphere.
Graduate student Adelle Goodwin has made the first-ever start-to-finish observations of a cataclysmic variable star. This system consists of a neutron star, a regular companion star, and a whole lot of gravity that is tearing material off the companion star and pulling it into a disk around the neutron star.
Take a look at recent stories on asteroids and comets, including our own dinosaur-killer, Bennu, Ryugu, and Comet ATLAS.
ESPRESSO, a new spectroscope on the Very Large Telescope (VLT), has, for instance, determined that the nearest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri, has a 1.17 Earth-mass planet in its habitable zone.
Our first story of the day came out last week while we were on hiatus, and it came out with the title “The ‘Cow’ Mystery Strikes Back” and the most confusing scientist quote we’ve ever seen: “When I reduced the data, I thought I made a mistake. The ‘Koala’ resembled the ‘Cow’ but the radio emission was as bright as a gamma-ray burst!”
Today, Virgin Orbit is going to attempt to launch a cubesat on its LauncherOne rocket from the belly of a modified 747. This Richard Branson-owned company is a sister to Virgin Galactic, and like its sibling, this company looks to avoid the hold-ups in access to space that can happen at spaceports like Kennedy.
Today, we have just one science story, and it has one terribly large hole poked through the center of it; a literal hole scientists are having fun explaining. This artist’s rendition shows you what appears to be a messy ring of star formation with nothing in the center.
We are super pleased to share that the OSIRIS-REx mission is now scheduled to collect materials from the surface of the asteroid Bennu on October 20, and the material will be collected from the Nightingale site.
Found out near Jupiter last June and classified as a Trojan asteroid, 2019 LD2 grew itself a tiny tail as volatile materials got heated by the sun and pushed away by the solar wind. This tail was confirmed last July, and its development was followed until geometry took this active asteroid out of our view and hid it behind the Sun.