A new image of star cluster RCW 38, an area strewn with young, hot, massive stars, is providing an unprecedented glimpse into a tumultuous region of space located 5,500 light-years from Earth. Continue reading Behold the Haunting Beauty of a Distant Star Cluster
You might be aware of one of Uranus’ complexities: It spins on its side, and its moons orbit on that same rotated plane. New evidence strengthens the case that Uranus was smashed in a giant collision, resulting in its sideways orientation to its orbital plane and perhaps explaining some of the planet’s other mysteries. Continue reading Did Something Massive Smash Into Uranus?
Proxima b, our nearest neighboring exoplanet, is almost 25 trillion miles away. Even one of our fastest spaceships—the 31,600-mile-per-hour New Horizons—would take hundreds of thousands of years to get there. Assuming we can’t figure out how to warp space-time (seems unlikely, but fingers crossed), we’re still looking at a couple-hundred-year trip in the best-case scenario, which leads to the real problem: No human crew could survive the entire ride. Science-fiction writers have long floated so-called generation ships as a solution. Designers would outfit these interplanetary cruise vessels to support a community of adults and their children, and their children’s children, and their children’s children’s children…until humanity finally reaches a new celestial shore. Here’s our best guess for what it would take to sow the seeds of an extrasolar species.
In addition to filling balloons at birthday parties, helium can be found scattered throughout the cosmos. To date, however, scientists have struggled to detect the ubiquitous element on distant worlds, even though the gas is certain to be there. But that’s now changed, thanks to the discovery of helium on a Jupiter-sized world located 200 light-years from Earth—but that’s only part of the story. Continue reading The First Exoplanet Known to Contain Helium Is a Truly Alien World
Elon Musk and other prominent Silicon Valley kooks may hold the belief that we live in a simulation, but one conspiracy theorist speaking at the Flat Earth Convention in England last weekend articulated an even stranger theory about our home, the Earth: the ‘Pac-Man effect.’ Continue reading According to some Theorists The universe may be a giant video game
Over the past 28 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has inspired a generation of astronomers with insanely dramatic views of the universe, but it’s hardly done blowing our minds. NASA has unveiled a new fly-through video of the Lagoon Nebula. Located in the center of the Milky Way, NASA calls it a “raucous star nursery” full of dust and star formation with “Herschel 36,” a star 200,000 times larger than our sun, at its center. Continue reading Hubble flies through the Milky Way’s ‘raucous star nursery’
On January 16th 2018, a bright flash lit up the sky over Michigan, accompanied by a loud boom. Caught on dash cams and home surveillance systems, the meteor briefly turned night to day as it streaked to the ground at almost 36,000 miles per hour, causing a blast waveequivalent to a minor earthquake. Continue reading The Meteorite Hunters Who Trade in Precious Space Debris