- Scientists have been looking for decades to confirm a weird quantum effect first predicted in 1936. Have they finally found hard evidence for it?This artist’s view shows how the light coming from the surface of a neutron star with a powerful magnetic field (left) becomes linearly polarized as it travels through the vacuum of space close to the star on its way to the observer on Earth (right). The magnetic and electric field directions of the light rays are shown by the red and blue lines,
- Astronomers analyzing a new sky survey have found that the distribution of dark matter in the modern universe is smoother than predicted from observations of a far younger universe.
Analysis of weak gravitational lensing produced this map of dark matter in a region surveyed by the Kilo-Degree Survey.
Kilo—Degree Survey Collaboration / H. Hildebrandt & B. Giblin / ESO
The large-scale distribution of dark matter in the universe is less clumpy than expected. That surprising conclusion is
- In a spectacular case of bad timing, the full Moon coincides with the annual Geminid meteor shower. Don't feel put out. There's still something for everyone, including a consolation prize.
Although they can appear anywhere in the night sky, Geminid meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini, which is well above the horizon by late evening.
Sky & Telescope
A supermoon is a good thing. So is a rich meteor shower. But the two together? Maybe not so good. But that's&n
- (Phys.org)—Russian astronomers have recently observed a giant radio flare from a strong X-ray binary source known as Cygnus X-3 (Cyg X-3 for short). The flare occurred after more than five years of quiescence of this source. The discovery was presented in a paper published Dec. 2 on the arXiv pre-print server.
- Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO's VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought. An international team used data from the Kilo Degree Survey (KiDS) to study how the light from about 15 million distant galaxies was affected by the gravitational influence of matter on the largest scales in the Universe. The results appear to be in disagreement with earlier results from the Planc
- Reaching even the closest star to the sun would take tens of thousands of years using conventional propulsion — but an antimatter engine could cut that trip down to just 40 years, according to the company Positron Dynamics.
- The U.S. Air Force's WGS-8 communications satellite will take flight today (Dec. 7), and you can catch all the spaceflight action live.
- San Francisco's Millennium Tower skyscraper is subtly sinking by a few centimeters a year, according to measurements from the European Space Agency's (ESA) twin Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites.
- While December's supermoon will wash out the peak of this year's Geminid meteor shower, you can still expect to see several bright shooting stars in the sky. There will just be fewer of them during the North American peak on the night of Dec. 13 and morni
- The post M78 in Orion appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- The post Dusk Delight – Moonset at Sculptured Beach appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- The post Tarantula appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- University of Notre Dame astronomers have identified what they believe to be the second generation of stars, shedding light on the nature of the universe's first stars.
- The post M42 – 8° sessão. appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- The post Heart of Rosette nebula appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- The space capsule that returned the United Kingdom's first professional astronaut to the Earth will land on display in London in 2017. Science Museum, London has acquired Tim Peake's Soyuz TMA-19M descent module to inspire a new generation of explorers.
- New observations from a NASA sun-watching spacecraft could help solve a persistent mystery — why the sun's atmosphere is so much hotter than its surface.
- On Dec. 13, 2016, the full moon will be at perigee causing it to look brighter and slightly larger than a usual full moon. This is the third straight month where the full moon can be considered a 'Supermoon."
- In "Babylon's Ashes" (Orbit, 2016), the people of Earth, Mars and the asteroid belt deal with the aftermath of a stunning blow from the violent Free Navy, and Capt. James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante take on a desperate mission.
- The post orion nebula m42 running man nebula ngc 1977 appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- Analyzing nitrogen levels on Mars could help researchers find evidence of life on the Red Planet, if it ever existed, a new study suggests.
- The United States Mint is now between one 'small step' and 'giant leap' closer to striking curved coins for the first moon landing. The House of Representatives voted to pass the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act.
- Cassini zoomed within 57,000 miles (91,000 kilometers) of Saturn's cloud tops on Sunday morning, plunging through the planet's ring plane at about the spot where a faint ring generated by the small moons Janus and Epimetheus lies.
- New images from NASA's Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite mission captured glowing electric-blue clouds in the twilight sky over Antarctica, marking an early start to this year's noctilucent, or night-shining, cloud season in the Southern H
- The WGS-8 military communications satellite is scheduled to launch today (Dec. 7) at 6:53 p.m. EST (2353 GMT). Watch the liftoff live here at Space.com beginning at 6:33 p.m. EST (2333 GMT), courtesy of United Launch Alliance.
- Scientists have developed a new optical chip for a telescope that enables astronomers to have a clear view of alien planets that may support life.
- The post Transit of Mercury appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has stopped driving and using its 7-foot-long (2.1 meters) arm while mission controllers investigate an issue with the robot’s sample-collecting drill.
- The post Rise of Sun and Venus appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- The post Morning Moon and Earthshine appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- The post Rise of the Supermoon appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- The post The Flying Horse Nebula, SH2-142, NGC7380 appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- Tonight's new episode of National Geographic's "Mars" miniseries will demonstrate the importance of thinking realistically about big dreams while expanding a human settlement on the Red Planet.
- Interested in improving your nightscape photography? Join S&T's live webinar on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, where you’ll learn some advanced techniques that can improve your own landscape astrophotography.
Babak A. Tafreshi
Next Monday I'll be hosting Sky & Telescope's next online webinar, "Nightscape Astrophotography: Untold Secrets" with National Geographic and S&T Contributing Photographer Babak Tafreshi. Babak has traveled the world capturing breathtaking nightscapes from
- Galaxy clusters contain a few to thousands of galaxies and are the largest bound structures in the universe. Most galaxies are members of a cluster. Our Milky Way, for example, is a member of the "Local Group," a set of about fifty galaxies whose other large member is the Andromeda galaxy. The closest large cluster of galaxies to us, about fifty million light-years away, is the Virgo Cluster, with about 2000 members.
- (Phys.org)—Astronomers have found a new dwarf satellite of Messier 83 (M83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy) located some 85,000 light years from its host. This satellite galaxy was designated dw1335-29 and could be an irregular or a transition dwarf. The findings were presented in a paper published Nov. 30 on arXiv.org.
- The team is back up to there epic sci-fi hijink in the latest trailer for the new movie. It premieres May 5, 2017.
- via Recent PostsThe Astrophysics Source Code Library compiled the following list of astro-focused software events being held at next month’s AAS meeting; rich offerings for the computational astronomer! A few of these, particularly workshops, require prior registration; the rest are open to all.
TUESDAY, 3 JANUARY 2017
Introduction to Software Carpentry, 8:00 am – 5:30 pm, Appaloosa 1
Using Python for Astronomical Data Analysis, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Texas C
WEDNESDAY, 4 JANU
- Researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), have for the first time, achieved a precise size measurement of small dust particles around a young star through radio-wave polarization. ALMA's high sensitivity for detecting polarized radio waves made possible this important step in tracing the formation of planets around young stars.
- This delicate blue group of stars—actually an irregular galaxy named IC 3583—sits some 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin).
- The post From Venus to Neptune : 6 planets, 1 webcam appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- In the mid-19th century, women worked at the Harvard College Observatory as human computers, studying photographic plates of stars and unveiling some of the most fundamental discoveries of our universe.
- A striking new image from the Hubble Space Telescope captures an extremely detailed view of the galaxy NGC 4696 and the tangled, thread-like filaments stretching from its bright galactic core.
- Saturn's moon Titan is being used by scientists to better understand the Earth's atmosphere. One day, it could give scientist a clue about the likelihood of non-Earthlike lifeforms evolving in the universe.
- Planetary scientists have pinpointed the size of a near-Earth asteroid to be a mere 2 meters, one of the smallest ever characterized.
This illustration depicts a near-Earth asteroid similar to 2015 TC25, which flew past Earth in October 2015 at only 128,000 km away, or one-third the distance between Earth and the Moon.
NASA / JPL-Caltech
Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) are the social members of the asteroid population. They buzz by Earth regularly to say hello. Unfortunately some of them are the typ
- Arianespace lofted Turkey’s Göktürk-1 Earth-observation satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit today (Dec. 5) aboard a Vega rocket, marking the eighth success for the European light-lift vehicle.
- A giant spider's web of young galaxies may reveal the secrets of how massive galaxies form.
- In "Reaching for the Stars: Traveling to Alpha Centauri," the CEO from Positron Dynamics briefly explains how their new propulsion system works. This type of new tech could make the "Project Blue" campaign a possibility.
- On Aug. 21, 2017, the first total solar eclipse to cross over the continental United States in nearly four decades will occur — and the American Astronomical Society has launched a new website and grant program to engage skywatchers in the event.
- Famed production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas discusses the incredible starship design for the film "Passengers" (2016).
Follow @newsl_astronomy on Twitter!