Year in Review
Mysterious particles called neutrinos constantly barrel down on Earth from space. No one has known where, exactly, the highest-energy neutrinos come from. This year, scientists finally put a finger on one likely source: a brilliant cosmic beacon called a blazar. The discovery could kick-start a new field of astronomy that combines information gleaned from neutrinos and light.
News in Brief
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has met the sun and lived to tell the tale.
The sun-grazing spacecraft has already broken the records for the fastest space probe and the nearest brush any spacecraft has made with the sun. Now the probe is sending data back from its close solar encounter, scientists reported December 12 at the American Geophysical Union meeting in Washington, D.C.
Scientists have spotted wind from a supermassive black hole blowing at much greater distances than ever before.
Astronomer Mark Lacy and colleagues used the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile to observe the universe’s first light, and found evidence of gusts flowing from a type of black hole called a quasar. The wind extends about 228,000 light-years away from the galaxy that...
Letters to the Editor
Exomoonmoon12/05/2018 - 05:00 Physics, Astronomy, Animals
A sighting by the Hubble Space Telescope provides more evidence that there’s a Neptune-sized moon, dubbed Neptmoon, orbiting the exoplanet Kepler 1625b, Lisa Grossman reported in “Hubble may have spotted the first known exomoon” (SN: 10/27/18, p. 14).
“If Neptmoon actually exists, could it possibly have moons of its own?” online reader MAdScientist72 asked. “And what...
Astronomers have now tallied up more gravitational wave sightings than they can count on their fingers.
Scientists with the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave observatories report four new sets of these ripples in spacetime. Those additions bring the total count to 11, the researchers say in a study published December 3 at arXiv.org, marking major progress since the first gravitational...
Astronomers have measured all the starlight that has managed to escape into space over the history of the universe.
It amounts to 4 x 1084 particles of light, or photons. That’s roughly equivalent to all the photons the sun would emit if it burned for 100 billion trillion years — long beyond the 5 billion years it has left. The universe itself is only 13.7 billion years old.
Letters to the Editor
Point, counterpoint11/21/2018 - 07:00 Science & Society, Planetary Science, Astronomy
In “The SN 10: These scientists defy limits to tackle big problems” (SN: 10/13/18, p. 18), Science News profiled 10 early- and mid-career scientists who are pushing boundaries to answer pressing questions facing science and society.
Some readers had strong reactions to the profiles.
Charles Eby praised stories about the SN 10 scientists. “Of course I love to...
There’s another oddly flickering star in the galaxy.
Astronomers using a telescope in Chile have discovered a star whose strange dimming and brightening of light are reminiscent of Tabby’s star, which was once suggested to host an alien megastructure.
The megastructure idea, first posited in 2015, was later quashed by data suggesting that the dips are probably from dust particles...
Meet the Kordylewski dust clouds, shimmering pseudo-satellites that orbit Earth near the moon. A team of Hungarian astronomers say they have spotted light scattered from one of these clouds, providing evidence that the clouds really exist after nearly 60 years of controversy.
The twin dust clouds gather at two of the points in space where the gravity of Earth and the moon cancel each...
News in Brief
Hubble worried astronomers when it ran into unexpected trouble recently, forcing mission scientists to put it into safe mode while they sorted the problem out. But the space telescope has more than made up for its time off since returning to work on October 26.
“Hubble is back to observing galaxies and stars, implementing programs that scientists around the world have proposed months ago...