The 1st interstellar object – 1I/’Oumuamua – had already passed closest to our sun when astronomers first spotted it. So catching this 2nd one – 2I/Borisov – prior to perihelion was a big plus for astronomers! Before and after images here.
There’s a supermassive black hole – 4 million times our sun’s mass – in the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers who’ve measured star movements near this central black hole are now saying there might be a 2nd companion black hole near it.
Posted by Deborah Byrd in Astronomy Essentials | Space|3 days ago
Astronomers held a press conference this week to discuss the trail of dust left by 3200 Phaethon – the mysterious blue rock-comet that spawns the Geminid meteor shower each year. This object was one of the 1st to blur the distinction between asteroids and comets.
The Geminid meteor shower – one of the highlights of the stargazing year – will peak on the mornings of December 13, 14, and 15, 2019, though under the light of a bright moon. The Geminids are bright, too. You still might see some!
Remember comet 46P/Wirtanen? It was a bright comet about this time last year. Around the time it swept near the Earth and sun, the comet entered the field of view NASA’s TESS planet-hunter. And boom! It underwent an outburst, caught by TESS.
White dwarf stars are typically more or less Earth-sized. The planet orbiting white dwarf WDJ0914+1914 appears to be at least twice as big as its star! High intensity radiation from its star is causing this planet to evaporate. Will the same thing happen in our solar system someday?
Parker Solar Probe – now in its 4th orbit around the sun – can endure heat and radiation like no previous mission. This week, 4 new studies in Nature reveal new insights about the sun’s mysterious corona and solar wind.
Why should we care about the new findings – released this week – from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe? This new NASA video explains how the solar wind – a stream of charged particles from the sun – affects earthly astronauts and technologies.
In September, India hoped to become the 4th nation to soft land on the moon successfully with its Chandrayaan 2 mission. Moments before touchdown, the mission’s Vikram lander crashed. Now the lander has been found again.
We know of a couple of dozen so-called “stellar-mass” black holes in our Milky Way galaxy. They tend to be between about 5 and 20 times as heavy as our sun. This new black hole – in a distant spiral arm of the galaxy – is 70 times as heavy as the sun.
A new study focuses on the axial tilt of Earthlike exoplanets in binary or double star systems. It boosts hope for complex life elsewhere … although not, these astronomers say, within the star system closest to our sun.
It sounds unbelievable, but a new study from Kagoshima University and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan says that exoplanets – thousands of them – could be orbiting supermassive black holes.
‘Oumuamua – the weird object that entered our solar system in 2017 and quickly fled back toward interstellar space – might not be an asteroid or comet from a distant solar system, as many believed. It might instead be a “cosmic dust bunny.”
Space-based observatories detected a violent explosion in a galaxy billions of light-years away. It became the brightest source of high-energy cosmic gamma rays seen so far. Specialized Earth-based telescopes detected it via faster-than-light particles cascading through Earth’s atmosphere.