Astronomical News

hunck

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jul 13, 2011
Messages
3,565
Likes
3,811
Points
159
Location
Hobbs End
ultra-hot planet so hot its air contains vaporised metal

New observations of the hottest known planet have revealed temperatures similar to those typically seen at the surface of a star, as well as an atmosphere of vaporised iron and titanium.

The planet, called Kelt-9b, was discovered last year by an American team. It is in orbit about a star 650 light years from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus, the swan. The ultra hot planet is about 30 times closer to its host star than the Earth is to the sun – and its star is also twice as hot as the sun. As a result, temperatures on Kelt-9b reach 4,000C on the side that faces the star. This is not as hot as our Sun, which is almost 6,000C, but hotter than many stars.

Detailed measurements of the orbit suggest the planet is gaseous, probably mostly hydrogen and possibly with a small solid core.

Due to its proximity to the star, the planet orbits the star every 36 hours, with the same side always facing inwards. This means there is constant daytime on one side and constant night on the other, creating extreme temperature variations across the planet. The temperature of the night side is probably still about 2,000C, though, Heng suggested.

The team used the Galileo National Telescope in La Palma, Canary Islands, to observe the planet precisely as it was moving in front of its host star. By detecting the tiny fraction of light from the star that filters through the planet’s atmosphere, the astronomers were able to detect components in the atmosphere and show that these included iron vapour and titanium. This is the first time that metals have been spotted on planets beyond the solar system.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
10,256
Likes
10,191
Points
294
Location
Out of Bounds
This has been suggested - and believed - for some time now, but it's finally been confirmed.

Water Ice Confirmed on the Surface of the Moon for the 1st Time!
It's official: There's water ice on the surface of the moon.

Researchers have confirmed the presence of the frozen stuff on the ground around the lunar north and south poles, a new study reports. That's good news for anyone eager to see humanity return to the moon for more than just a flag-planting mission.

"With enough ice sitting at the surface — within the top few millimeters — water would possibly be accessible as a resource for future expeditions to explore and even stay on the moon, and potentially easier to access than the water detected beneath the moon's surface," NASA officials wrote in a statement Monday (Aug. 20). ...
FULL STORY: https://www.space.com/41554-water-ice-moon-surface-confirmed.html
 

Swifty

doesn't negotiate with terriers
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
23,009
Likes
25,257
Points
284
An interactive 360 degree look inside the space shuttle Discovery

 

hunck

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jul 13, 2011
Messages
3,565
Likes
3,811
Points
159
Location
Hobbs End
Dwarf planet 'The Goblin' discovery redefining solar system

The newly discovered icy world, estimated to be just 300km across, is in an extremely elongated orbit. At its closest, it gets about two and a half times as far from the sun as Pluto. Then it heads off to the outermost fringes of the solar system, to almost 60 times further out than Pluto, taking an astounding 40,000 years to loop once around the sun. For 99% of its orbit, it would be too faint to see.

Astronomers made the discovery while hunting for a hypothetical massive planet, known as Planet Nine, that is suspected to be in orbit far beyond Pluto in a mysterious region known as the Oort Cloud. Planet Nine has not yet been seen directly, but The Goblin appears to be under the gravitational influence of a giant unseen object, adding to astronomers’ certainty that it is out there.

The object is the third minor planet to have been found in the outer solar system, following the discoveries of Sedna and, recently, another object called 2012 VP113. And this region, which once appeared to be cold, dark and empty now appears to be a rich collection of exotic and extreme objects.

“We are only just now uncovering what the very outer solar system might look like and what might be out there,” said Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC and a member of the team. “We believe there are thousands of dwarf planets in the distant solar system. We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg right now.”

The discovery was made using the Japanese Subaru 8-metre telescope located on the dormant Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii. The telescope is the only one in the world to be able to produce deep images capable of probing the outer reaches of the solar system, while also having a wide enough field of view to be able to image enough sky to discover rare objects. “With other large telescopes, it is like looking through a straw and thus they are good for observing things you know are there, but not for finding new things as their field of views are too small for covering large areas of sky,” said Sheppard.
 

Jim

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Jan 19, 2016
Messages
798
Likes
716
Points
94
Location
NYS, USA
Bearing in mind the last post on dwarf planets. We now know that our solar system has 8 planets, 5 dwarf planets and 181 moons (9 of which orbit dwarf planets). When I was younger we were only aware of 9 planets (Pluto was then considered a main planet) and a couple of moons. The solar system itself is an incredibly amazing place with 3 moons having liquid oceans.
 

Bigphoot2

Carbon Based Infestation
Joined
Jul 30, 2005
Messages
5,493
Likes
11,895
Points
294
Location
Armenia City in the Sky
Voyager 2, still working and sending back data
NASA Voyager 2 Could Be Nearing Interstellar Space

This graphic shows the position of the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes relative to the heliosphere, a protective bubble created by the Sun that extends well past the orbit of Pluto. Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause, or the edge of the heliosphere, in 2012. Voyager 2 is still in the heliosheath, or the outermost part of the heliosphere.Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Full image and caption
NASA's Voyager 2 probe, currently on a journey toward interstellar space, has detected an increase in cosmic rays that originate outside our solar system. Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 is a little less than 11 billion miles (about 17.7 billion kilometers) from Earth, or more than 118 times the distance from Earth to the Sun.

Since 2007 the probe has been traveling through the outermost layer of the heliosphere -- the vast bubble around the Sun and the planets dominated by solar material and magnetic fields. Voyager scientists have been watching for the spacecraft to reach the outer boundary of the heliosphere, known as the heliopause. Once Voyager 2 exits the heliosphere, it will become the second human-made object, after Voyager 1, to enter interstellar space.

Since late August, the Cosmic Ray Subsystem instrument on Voyager 2 has measured about a 5 percent increase in the rate of cosmic rays hitting the spacecraft compared to early August. The probe's Low-Energy Charged Particle instrument has detected a similar increase in higher-energy cosmic rays.

Cosmic rays are fast-moving particles that originate outside the solar system. Some of these cosmic rays are blocked by the heliosphere, so mission planners expect that Voyager 2 will measure an increase in the rate of cosmic rays as it approaches and crosses the boundary of the heliosphere.

In May 2012, Voyager 1 experienced an increase in the rate of cosmic rays similar to what Voyager 2 is now detecting. That was about three months before Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause and entered interstellar space.

However, Voyager team members note that the increase in cosmic rays is not a definitive sign that the probe is about to cross the heliopause. Voyager 2 is in a different location in the heliosheath -- the outer region of the heliosphere -- than Voyager 1 had been, and possible differences in these locations means Voyager 2 may experience a different exit timeline than Voyager 1.
etc
https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7252
 

eburacum

Papo-furado
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
2,918
Likes
879
Points
129
Here's Andrew LePage's Habitability Reality Check for this planet. Note that this planet was found more than a year ago, so it's not exactly news.
https://www.drewexmachina.com/2017/11/16/habitable-planet-reality-check-the-nearby-ross-128/

A stellar flux 1.38 times as great as that received on Earth, all falling on a single face of a tidally-locked world? This world is unlikely to be Earth-like, but if life has evolved there, the homeostasis effect of a biosphere might preserve its habitability. I doubt that life on such a world would resemble Earth life very much- too many environmental differences.
 

Mythopoeika

I am a meat popsicle
Joined
Sep 18, 2001
Messages
32,960
Likes
17,216
Points
309
Location
Inside a starship, watching puny humans from afar
Here's Andrew LePage's Habitability Reality Check for this planet. Note that this planet was found more than a year ago, so it's not exactly news.
https://www.drewexmachina.com/2017/11/16/habitable-planet-reality-check-the-nearby-ross-128/

A stellar flux 1.38 times as great as that received on Earth, all falling on a single face of a tidally-locked world? This world is unlikely to be Earth-like, but if life has evolved there, the homeostasis effect of a biosphere might preserve its habitability. I doubt that life on such a world would resemble Earth life very much- too many environmental differences.
It'd have to have a moon like ours for life to evolve and survive.
 

eburacum

Papo-furado
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
2,918
Likes
879
Points
129
Unfortunately, tidally-locked planets can't have moons (not for long, anyway). So that's another environmental difference.
 

eburacum

Papo-furado
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
2,918
Likes
879
Points
129
This would delay the process, but not stop it. Eventually the large moon would drift outside of the planet's Hill sphere and become a separate planet.
 

hunck

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jul 13, 2011
Messages
3,565
Likes
3,811
Points
159
Location
Hobbs End
One of the oldest stars discovered In Milky Way

7,500 light years away, it's thought to be around 13.5 billion years old, has an extreme iron deficiency & a carbon surplus, & as a result is thought to have formed just 300 million years after the Big Bang.

“We know of only a few stars (which can be counted on the fingers of a hand) of this type in the halo [of the Milky Way], where the oldest and most metal-poor stars in our galaxy are found,” said David Aguado, a research student at the IAC and lead author of the study, in a press release.

Based on their spectroscopic follow-up, the team determined J0815+4729 has roughly a million times less calcium and iron than the Sun. This is important because only the earliest generations of stars have such low metallicities. Older stars, on the other hand, are formed out of the accumulated material from previous generations of stars, which produce lots of metals during their final death throes.

Although J0815+4729 is extremely deficient in calcium and iron, the researchers’ were surprised to find that the star has a comparatively large abundance of carbon, nearly 15 percent more than the Sun. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, previous research suggests that low-mass, extremely metal-poor stars likely develop an overabundance of carbon by accreting it from the first generation of low-metallicity supernovae, which lived very short lives.


“Theory predicts that these stars could form just after — and using material from — the first supernovae, whose progenitors were the first massive stars in the Galaxy, around 300 million years after the Big Bang," said Jonay González Hernández, a researcher at IAC and co-author of the study.
 

Swifty

doesn't negotiate with terriers
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
23,009
Likes
25,257
Points
284
The NASA Snoopy award.

(cut and pasted from the below link)

'Of all the SFA Awards, the Silver Snoopy best symbolizes the intent and spirit of Space Flight Awareness. An astronaut always presents the Silver Snoopy because it is the astronauts' own award for outstanding performance, contributing to flight safety and mission success. Fewer than 1 percent of the aerospace program workforce receive it annually, making it a special honour to receive this award.

The award is a sterling silver Snoopy lapel pin that has flown in space on a Space Shuttle mission, plus a certificate of appreciation and commendation letter for the employee, both signed by the astronaut.'

asnoopy.jpg

https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/sfa/aac/silver-snoopy-award
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fr...0.Xnasa+snoopy.TRS0&_nkw=nasa+snoopy&_sacat=0
 

OneWingedBird

Beloved of Ra
Joined
Aug 3, 2003
Messages
15,327
Likes
5,912
Points
284
With any luck Phil Plait will come up with the goods on this in a day or two, until then here's a summary from Imperial College London.

"A galaxy a third the size of our own, but extremely faint, has been observed orbiting around the Milky Way.

An international team, including an astronomer from Imperial College London, discovered the massive galaxy when trawling through data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite. Despite its size, the galaxy has very few stars, challenging conventional theories of galaxy formation."

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/189023/enormous-ghost-galaxy-spotted-hiding-next/

Seems to have been missed through a combination of very low density/brightness and also as (i think) it's in the zone of avoidance in line with the disc of our own galaxy.
 

INT21

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
3,946
Likes
2,607
Points
154
Don't forget that tomorrow ( 26 November 2018) is the day for the latest Mars landing.

Show starts about 19:40 UK local time.

14:40 EST.

See NASA site for more details.

INT21.
 

Swifty

doesn't negotiate with terriers
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
23,009
Likes
25,257
Points
284
Top