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...
In its younger days, the Milky Way devoured a smaller galaxy, and stars from the hapless victim still roam the skies today to tell the tale, a new study finds.
“This is a major event in the history of the galaxy,” says astronomer Amina Helmi of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. “We’re really starting to probe the ancestors of the Milky Way.”
Helmi and her colleagues...
News in Brief
As far as close shaves with a black hole go, it doesn’t get much closer than this.
Scientists have spotted clouds of gas hurtling around the monster black hole at the center of the Milky Way, not far from the behemoth’s edge. Observed on three separate occasions, the gas clouds careened along at unimaginably fast speeds — 30 percent of the speed of light, researchers report October 31 in...
Letters to the Editor
Wonderwall10/17/2018 - 07:15 Astronomy, Biomedicine, Genetics
An ultraviolet glow spotted by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft may signal a hydrogen wall that separates the solar system from the rest of the Milky Way galaxy, Lisa Grossman reported in “New Horizons may have seen a glow at the solar system’s edge” (SN: 9/15/18, p. 10).
Online reader RayRay wondered if researchers could see similar walls at the edges of other solar...
First Man is not a movie about the moon landing.
The Neil Armstrong biopic, opening October 12, follows about eight years of the life of the first man on the moon, and spends about eight minutes depicting the lunar surface. Instead of the triumphant ticker tape parades that characterize many movies about the space race, First Man focuses on the terror, grief and heartache that led to...
A faint, fleeting supernova may be the key to understanding how neutron star duos are born.
Astronomers have spotted what seems to be an ultrastripped supernova: a massive star in its death throes after its outer layers of gas have been siphoned off slowly by a compact companion such as a neutron star or black hole.
“This is the first of its kind: the first ultrastripped supernova...
Hubble’s in trouble again.
The 28-year-old space telescope, in orbit around the Earth, put itself to sleep on October 5 because of an undiagnosed problem with one of its steering wheels. But once more, astronomers are optimistic about Hubble’s chances of recovery. After all, it’s just the latest nail-biting moment in the history of a telescope that has defied all life-expectancy...
News in Brief
When the 2017 Great American Eclipse hit totality and the sky went dark, bees noticed.
Microphones in flower patches at 11 sites in the path of the eclipse picked up the buzzing sounds of bees flying among blooms before and after totality. But those sounds were noticeably absent during the full solar blackout, a new study finds.
Dimming light and some summer cooling during the...
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...