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E.g., 02/18/2018
E.g., 02/18/2018
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  • Enterprise nebulae
  • SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch
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  • How To

    James Webb Space Telescope challenges artists to see in infrared

    With an astronomer’s toolkit and an artist’s eye, Zoltan Levay has transformed raw data from the Hubble Space Telescope into stunning space vistas for almost a quarter century (SN: 4/18/15, p. 4). He’s now preparing for a new challenge: Working with light not visible to human eyes.

    Levay’s next charge is the James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch in 2019. Unlike Hubble, which mostly...

    02/16/2018 - 12:58 Astronomy
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers ask about supernovas, dark energy and more

    Dying light

    Supernova iPTF14hls has erupted continually since its discovery in 2014, fluctuating in brightness at least five times. It may have had two other outbursts in the past, Lisa Grossman reported in “This star cheated death, exploding again and again” (SN: 12/9/17, p. 8).

    Reddit user Bobgushmore wondered if the exploding star might actually be a supernova impostor similar to...

    02/07/2018 - 15:30 Astronomy, Physics, Science & Society
  • Science Ticker

    SpaceX just launched its biggest rocket for the first time

    It’s another record for SpaceX. At 3:50 p.m. Eastern on February 6, the private spaceflight company launched the Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time.

    The Heavy — essentially three SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket boosters strapped together — is the most powerful rocket launched since the Saturn V, which shot astronauts to the moon during the Apollo program. SpaceX hopes to use the Heavy to send...

    02/06/2018 - 16:09 Astronomy
  • News

    Some of TRAPPIST-1’s planets could have life-friendly atmospheres

    It’s still too early to pack your bags for TRAPPIST-1. But two new studies probe the likely compositions of the seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting the cool, dim star, and some are looking better and better as places to live (SN: 3/18/17, p. 6).

    New mass measurements suggest that the septet probably have rocky surfaces and possibly thin atmospheres, researchers report February 5 in...

    02/05/2018 - 11:00 Astronomy, Exoplanets
  • News

    Universes with no weak force might still have stars and life

    Not all fundamental forces are created equal. An alternate universe that lacks the weak nuclear force — one of the four fundamental forces that govern all matter in our universe — could still form galaxies, stars, planets and perhaps life, according to calculations published online January 18 at arXiv.org.

    Scientists have long thought that our universe wouldn’t exist, or at least wouldn’...

    01/30/2018 - 07:00 Astronomy, Cosmology, Particle Physics
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers wonder about the universe's expansion and more

    Pedal to the universal metal

    Some cosmologists hope to explain the universe’s accelerating expansion by fully accounting for the universe’s lumpiness, Emily Conover reported in “Simulating the universe using Einstein’s theory of gravity may solve cosmic puzzles” (SN: 11/25/17, p. 22).

    The universe’s accelerating expansion “is apparently based on the observation of objects that are...

    01/24/2018 - 13:34 Cosmology, Archaeology, Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    The X-ray glow keeps growing after the recent neutron star collision

    More than 100 days after two neutron stars slammed together, merging into one, new telescope images have revealed that the collision’s lingering X-ray light show has gotten brighter. And scientists don’t fully understand why.

    NASA’s orbiting X-ray telescope, Chandra, previously picked up the X-rays 15 days after gravitational waves from the cataclysm reached Earth on August 17, 2017 (SN...

    01/24/2018 - 09:00 Astronomy, Physics
  • News

    Stars with too much lithium may have stolen it

    Something is giving small, pristine stars extra lithium. A dozen newly discovered stars contain more of the element than astronomers can explain.

    Some of the newfound stars are earlier in their life cycles than stars previously found with too much lithium, researchers report in the Jan. 10 Astrophysical Journal Letters. Finding young lithium-rich stars could help explain where the extra...

    01/23/2018 - 11:00 Astronomy
  • News

    Mysterious high-energy particles could come from black hole jets

    It’s three for the price of one. A trio of mysterious high-energy particles could all have the same source: active black holes embedded in galaxy clusters, researchers suggest January 22 in Nature Physics.

    Scientists have been unable to figure out the origins of the three types of particles — gamma rays that give a background glow to the universe, cosmic neutrinos and ultrahigh energy...

    01/22/2018 - 15:48 Astronomy, Particle Physics
  • Context

    Speed of universe’s expansion remains elusive

    Unless you are a recent arrival from another universe, you’ve no doubt heard that this one is expanding. It’s getting bigger all the time. What’s more, its growth rate is accelerating. Every day, the universe expands a little bit faster than it did the day before.

    Those day-to-day differences are negligible, though, for astronomers trying to measure the universe’s expansion rate. They...

    01/16/2018 - 12:52 Astronomy, History of Science