astronomy

Our first interstellar visitor is a long, ominous asteroid

Our first interstellar visitor is a long, ominous asteroid

Asteroids passing us by, and even potentially sending us to our deaths, is not news even for astronomers. But one that comes from outside our solar system definitely is. That is exactly why the asteroid named `Oumuamua has astronomers all over the world scampering when it passed by almost undetected. In addition to the asteroid’s unusual shape, `Oumuamua has been estimated to have been traveling hundreds of millions of years before its chance, and probably only, encounter with our solar system.

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Three Occultations, all today (with and without the magic)

Three Occultations, all today (with and without the magic)

This week we're set to witness one real celestial event while another is said to be beginning to "end the world as we know it." Of course one of these events is real, while the other is complete nonsense. The first event begins today, and it has to do with the position of our Moon and three other planets within our Solar System. This event is a triple-occultation.

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Earth will see its largest asteroid fly-by in September

Earth will see its largest asteroid fly-by in September

2017 is shaping up to be a real treat for astronomy fans: not only will they be treated to a rare solar eclipse on Monday, less than two weeks after a significant asteroid fly-by will take place. Dubbed Asteroid Florence, NASA has revealed that it will be the largest to pass by our planet since it began keeping track of near-Earth asteroids, and it's scheduled to zoom past on September 1st.

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Ross 128 red dwarf’s signals send scientists’ hearts aflutter

Ross 128 red dwarf’s signals send scientists’ hearts aflutter

You might have an image of outer space as being this vast, empty, and silent vacuum, and, to some extent, you’d be correct. But with the right instruments, you’d discover how much of a noisy party space really is. Radio waves of all kinds travel the vastness of space, taking ages even when traveling at the speed of light. And some of them naturally reach earth, giving scientists data to devour. Last week, however, a red dwarf by the name of Ross 128 in the constellation of Virgo has been sending us some rather strange signals and scientists are only too excited to find out what exactly they are. And no, they don’t think they’re from aliens.

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Fast space radio bursts finally traced to nearby galaxy

Fast space radio bursts finally traced to nearby galaxy

There are many mysteries in both the known and the unknown universe, but one that has recently confounded astronomers is what is known as Fast Radio Bursts (FRB). First recorded in 2007, these short explosions of radio energy were so strong but so short that it was near impossible to determine where they came from. Finally it seems that our stars have aligned and researchers have discovered that these FRBs are actually coming from a dwarf galaxy just outside our Milky Way. And, no, they're not coming from aliens.

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Astronomers catch first glimpse of water snowline around young star

Astronomers catch first glimpse of water snowline around young star

Astronomers have announced a rather big discovery today, as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile has captured what appears to be the water snowline around V883 Orionis, a young star that has taken up residence in the Orion Nebula cluster, about 1,350 light years from Earth. This is the first time the water snowline has been seen in the disk of debris that forms around young stars and will eventually come together to form new planets.

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How to spot Mars at its brightest in the sky this weekend

How to spot Mars at its brightest in the sky this weekend

The planet Mars is about to be the closest it's been to the Earth in over a decade this weekend, and you'll be able to step outside and spot our red neighbor with the naked eye. Sunday, specifically, marks the "Mars opposition," which is when the sun and Mars are on the opposite sides of Earth, but you can peer into the sky just after sunset on both Saturday and Sunday and find what looks like a bright red star.

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Astronomers discover tailless comet almost as old as Earth

Astronomers discover tailless comet almost as old as Earth

Scientists have discovered a space rock that's like nothing seen before: a comet that has no tail. While being the first of its kind makes it a truly rare find in itself, the comet is also believed to have been formed around the same time as Earth. Asteroids and comets are believed to have been created during the violent formation of the Solar System, but this example has been described as being in pristine condition, and thus contains samples of the material present when the Earth formed billions of years ago.

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Supernovae left radioactive debris on Earth 3 million years ago

Supernovae left radioactive debris on Earth 3 million years ago

The explosive death of stars have always been of interest to scientists. The chemical reactions and emissions from this phenomena usually holds clues to the very formation of the universe itself. Considering that these stars are usually thousands, if not millions, of light years away, by the time we do "see" a supernova, it means it really happened ages ago. So when scientists discover traces of radioactive debris from supernovae still lingering on earth, they are understandably pleasantly surprised and excited.

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Russia plans to use modified missiles to shoot asteroids

Russia plans to use modified missiles to shoot asteroids

The danger of large asteroids colliding with Earth is always a concern for space agencies around the world, and there are a number of plans on how to prevent this from happening. Russia, however, seems to have plans that involve a more direct approach: blowing up any approaching meteorites using intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Apparently this is the country's strategy for revenge for the 2013 meteor that exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk, injuring over 1,000 people.

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Newly formed star creates a dazzling light show

Newly formed star creates a dazzling light show

Stars are wondrous and marvelous things, at least from a very safe distance of a few hundred light years away. Their birth, maturity, and death have always captured the interest of astronomers and scientists. Sometimes, however, they also capture the attention regular mortals like you and me, especially when they create a stunning light show. A newly formed star with a rather unexciting name of HD 97300 is doing exactly that, illuminating its neighboring nebula and creating a light display to remember.

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Scientists discover star-swallowing black hole

Scientists discover star-swallowing black hole

A Johns Hopkins University-led group of international astrophysicists have just published a new report in the journal Science about the first ever witnessing of a star being swallowed by a black hole. The scientists monitored the event, describing a star that was about the size of our sun, getting pulled from its course by the massive black hole's gravitational pull, and then being swallowed whole.

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