Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Meteor Explodes over Michigan

Meteor seen over Michigan on January 16. Credit: Mike Austin/Youtube

A meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere exploded in Michigan’s sky on Tuesday night in a spectacle that briefly illuminated the city of Detroit. The US Geological Survey confirmed the meteor had entered the atmosphere about 5 miles from New Haven, Michigan (about 36 miles north of The Motor City), and registered a force equivalent to a magnitude 2.0 earthquake.

Odd Behavior of Star Reveals Lonely Black Hole Hiding in Giant Star Cluster

Astronomers using ESO’s MUSE instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a star in the cluster NGC 3201 that is behaving very strangely. It appears to be orbiting an invisible black hole with about four times the mass of the Sun — the first such inactive stellar-mass black hole found in a globular cluster. This important discovery impacts on our understanding of the formation of these star clusters, black holes, and the origins of gravitational wave events.This artist’s impression shows how the star and its massive but invisible black hole companion may look, in the rich heart of the globular star cluster.  Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/spaceengine.org

Astronomers using ESO’s MUSE instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a star in the cluster NGC 3201 that is behaving very strangely. It appears to be orbiting an invisible black hole with about four times the mass of the Sun — the first such inactive stellar-mass black hole found in a globular cluster and the first found by directly detecting its gravitational pull. This important discovery impacts on our understanding of the formation of these star clusters, black holes, and the origins of gravitational wave events.

Cassini Spacecraft Finds Titan Has 'Sea Level' Like Earth

Ligeia Mare, shown in here in data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, is the second largest known body of liquid on Saturn's moon Titan. It is filled with liquid hydrocarbons, such as ethane and methane, and is one of the many seas and lakes that bejewel Titan's north polar region. Cassini has yet to observe waves on Ligeia Mare and will look again during its next encounter on May 23, 2013. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell

Saturn’s moon Titan may be nearly a billion miles away from Earth, but a recently published paper based on data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft reveals a new way this distant world and our own are eerily similar. Just as the surface of oceans on Earth lies at an average elevation that we call “sea level,” Titan’s seas also lie at an average elevation.

How Massive Can Neutron Stars Be?

Gravitational-wave emission from a collapsing star. Credit: Rezzolla

Since their discovery in the 1960s, scientists have sought to answer an important question: How massive can neutron stars actually become? By contrast to black holes, these stars cannot gain in mass arbitrarily; past a certain limit there is no physical force in nature that can counter their enormous gravitational force. For the first time, astrophysicists at Goethe University Frankfurt have succeeded in calculating a strict upper limit for the maximum mass of neutron stars.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Newly Discovered House-Sized Asteroid to Pass By Earth on Wednesday


A newly detected house-sized asteroid, designated 2018 AG4, is slated to give Earth a close shave on Wednesday, January 17. The object will fly by our planet at 10:41 UTC at a distance of approximately 1.4 lunar distances (LD), or 537,000 kilometers.

Long March 11 to Orbit Nine Small Satellites on Friday

Long March 11 launch on November 10, 2016. Credit: chinaspaceflight.com

China prepares to perform its four orbital launch this year, scheduled for Friday, January 19. The mission will see a Long March 11 booster sending nine satellites into space. The rocket will take to the skies from the Launch Area 4 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) in China’s Gansu province. The exact time of the launch is yet to be announced.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Flowing Sand, Not Water, Source of Some Recurring Dark Martian Surface Streaks

This image shows seasonal dark surface flow lines found in Horowitz Crater on Mars.  Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Dark surface features previously considered evidence of subsurface water flow on Mars have now been interpreted as being the result of dry, granular flows, according to a Nature Geoscience paper.