A New Satellite Will (Safely) Drop ‘Meteors’ Over Hiroshima

A New Satellite Will (Safely) Drop ‘Meteors’ Over Hiroshima

Several Perseid meteors dash across the sky above Italy's Castel Santa Maria in this photo by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project taken during the peak on Aug. 12-13, 2018. Credit: Gianluca Masi/Virtual Telescope Project There's a new satellite was just launched into space, and it was put there to drop "meteors" over…

NASA’s new telescope will investigate the evolution of the universe

NASA’s new telescope will investigate the evolution of the universe

The telescope is projected to launch in 2023. A bit of a mouthful: This week, NASA announced it will create the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer: SPHEREx for short. It’ll look at how our universe has changed, and how common the ingredients of life are in the…

Prospects for Resolving the Hubble Constant Tension with Standard Sirens

Abstract The Hubble constant (H0) estimated from the local Cepheid-supernova distance ladder is in 3−σ tension with the value extrapolated from cosmic microwave background (CMB) data assuming the standard cosmological model. Whether this tension represents new physics or systematic effects is the subject of intense debate. Here, we investigate how new, independent H0 estimates can…

How Harvard’s human computers helped invent modern astronomy

How Harvard’s human computers helped invent modern astronomy

"The beginning of the whole capacity to do that starts like photography, with people putting together these all-sky surveys," she continued. "And the first group of people to do that, to put together a full survey of the entire visible universe at the time was the Harvard Computers."In the mid-1870s, the fourth director of the…

Space Photos of the Week: The Trail of Opportunity and More

Space Photos of the Week: The Trail of Opportunity and More

This week, NASA had to say farewell to the Opportunity rover, which had been exploring Mars for the past 15 years. Its final months are a tale of grit, literal and figurative: Late last spring, a dust storm engulfed the entire Martian planet—the worst, most severe storm ever observed there.Blasts of wind kicked fine grains…

Hubble Shows off the Atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune

Hubble Shows off the Atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune

Like Earth, Uranus and Neptune have season and experience changes in weather patterns as a result. But unlike Earth, the seasons on these planets last for years rather than months, and weather patterns occur on a scale that is unimaginable by Earth standards. A good example is the storms that have been observed in Neptune…

Mars looks dead, but don’t count it out just yet

Mars looks dead, but don’t count it out just yet

Mars' surface is a lifeless, unwelcoming desert. But beneath its red soil the planet still might be alive — geologically. Big space news broke in 2018: Using a ground-penetrating radar aboard a Mars satellite, a group of scientists detected a thin 12-mile lake thousands of feet beneath the Martian south pole. Now, researchers have put…

Warm Up With a Virtual Tour of Lava-Covered Exoplanet 55 Cancri e

Warm Up With a Virtual Tour of Lava-Covered Exoplanet 55 Cancri e

Warm Up With a Virtual Tour of Lava-Covered Exoplanet 55 Cancri e This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use. This Exoplanet Travel Bureau poster illustration shows futuristic explorers gliding in a protective bubble over the red-hot landscape of the exoplanet 55 Cancri e (via NASA/JPL-Caltech) Can’t afford…

What are the biggest threats to humanity?

What are the biggest threats to humanity?

Image copyright Getty Images Human extinction may be the stuff of nightmares but there are many ways in which it could happen.Popular culture tends to focus on only the most spectacular possibilities: think of the hurtling asteroid of the film Armageddon or the alien invasion of Independence Day. While a dramatic end to humanity is…

Riccardo Giacconi (1931-2018)

Riccardo Giacconi (1931-2018)

Credit: Bettman/Getty Revolutionary discoveries in astronomy stem from new observing technologies. And so it was with orbiting X-ray telescopes. They revealed a Universe dominated by luminous, gravity-fed black holes and plasmas glowing at tens of millions of degrees, inside clusters of galaxies. Now 60 years old, the discipline requires space observatories — outside Earth’s X-ray-blocking…