Reviews & Previews
Einstein’s ShadowSeth FletcherEcco, $26.99
Right now, a ragtag team of astronomers, assembled from institutes across the globe, may be peering in wonder at the first picture of a black hole’s shadow. The quest to create such an image has involved a massive level of scientific coordination, combining data from telescopes at eight observatories scattered from the South Pole to Hawaii...
The “ring rain” of material falling from Saturn’s rings into the planet’s atmosphere is a much more intense, contaminated downpour than scientists thought.
For decades, astronomers have suspected that Saturn’s rings pelt the planet with grains of water ice, but some of the final observations from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft provide the first detailed views of these celestial showers (SN: 4...
The first suspected exomoon is coming into focus. Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope bolster the case for a Neptune-sized moon orbiting a gas exoplanet 8,000 light-years away, astronomers report October 3 in Science Advances. The moon’s existence, if confirmed, would challenge theories of how satellites are born.
Astronomers David Kipping and Alex Teachey of Columbia University...
With no luck so far in a six-decade search for signals from aliens, you’d be forgiven for thinking, “Where is everyone?”
A new calculation shows that if space is an ocean, we’ve barely dipped in a toe. The volume of observable space combed so far for E.T. is comparable to searching the volume of a large hot tub for evidence of fish in Earth’s oceans, astronomer Jason Wright at Penn State...
Paula Jofré, 36Galactic and stellar astrophysicsUniversidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile09/26/2018 - 08:31 Astronomy
Paula Jofré wants to map the galactic lineage of every star in the Milky Way. It’s like tracing your family tree, if your grandparents were supernovas.
Jofré, 36, is an astrophysicist at Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago, Chile, where she studies the inner lives and histories of stars....
For the first time, astronomers may have watched a massive stellar explosion give rise in real time to a superdense dead star called a neutron star.
New observations of supernova 2012au show charged oxygen and sulfur atoms fleeing the scene of the explosion at 2,300 kilometers per second. That suggests the shells of gas surrounding the dense remains of the original star are being lit up...
News in Brief
A pair of tiny satellites that will help test technology for a space elevator is on its way to the International Space Station.
At 1:52 p.m. EDT on September 22, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched a rocket carrying the STARS-Me experiment from the island of Tanegashima.
STARS-Me (or Space Tethered Autonomous Robotic Satellite – Mini elevator), built by engineers at...
A strand of spaghetti snaps easily, but an exotic substance known as nuclear pasta is an entirely different story.
Predicted to exist in ultradense dead stars called neutron stars, nuclear pasta may be the strongest material in the universe. Breaking the stuff requires 10 billion times the force needed to crack steel, for example, researchers report in a study accepted in Physical Review...
Jocelyn Bell Burnell first noticed the strange, repeating blip in 1967. A University of Cambridge graduate student at the time, she had been reviewing data from a radio telescope she had helped build near campus. Persistent tracking revealed the signal’s source to be something entirely unknown up to that point — a pulsar, or a rapidly spinning stellar corpse that sweeps beams of radio waves...
Letters to the Editor
Sunny-side up09/06/2018 - 06:15 Astronomy, Physics, Earth
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is on its way to “touch” the sun. Maria Temming reported on the mission before the August 12 launch in “NASA’s Parker probe is about to get up close and personal with the sun” (SN: 7/21/18, p. 12).
Astronomy writer Lisa Grossman, who wrote a follow-up story, answered readers’ questions about the probe on Reddit.
Reddit user Gildolen...