Geminids to offer another thrilling night for stargazers

The strangest meteor shower one can observe every year is almost upon us. Geminids is the only meteor shower that isn’t caused by a passing comet, but rather by an asteroid; the meteors are slow moving and pretty bright, making them a perfect target not only for astronomy afficionados, but for everybody who want’s to see a stellar show. From

TD54 Asteroid Collision Causes Atom Bomb-like Effects

Tuesday at 6:51 a.m. EDT (1051 GMT) a small asteroid dubbed TD54 passed the Earth dangerously close, above a section of Southeast Asia by Singapore, being at its closest 28,000 miles from our blue planet. The asteroid, 2010 TD54 was first discovered on October 9th, by scientists in Arizona at a NASA-sponsored lab. A few days after being spotted, the

The most detailed photo of a Sun Spot to date captured by the Big Bear Solar Observatory

Now, that’s not Sauron’s eye. Pictured above is the most highly detailed photo of a sunspot ever taken at present date, captured and recently released by the Big Bear Solar Observatory, CA. The whole event was captured by Big Bear’s New Solar Telescope (NST), which has a resolution covering about 50 miles on the Sun’s surface. “This photo of a

A solar tsunami set to generate celestial show tonight

A huge plasma eruption that took place on the Sun has caused a “solar tsunami” of ionized atoms that are on a course for our planet on Tuesday night. Nothing to be too alarmed here, except for the disruption of some satellites. It will however generate quite a show, a rare and unpredictable one too. “It’s the first major Earth-directed

No people, Betelgeuse is not going supernova

First of all, I have no idea how this rumour started, but a number of people signaled this already; the rumour sounded something like this: I was talking to my son last week (he works on Mauna Kea), and he mentioned some new observations (that will no doubt get published eventually) of “Beetlejuice”; it’s no longer round. This is a

Herschel reveals the hidden side of star birth

The first touchable scientific results of the Herschel infrared space observatory are spectacular indeed; not only is it showing previously hidden details of star formation, but it also shows thousands of distant galaxies “building” stars with incredible energy and covering the Milky Way in wonderfully coloured star clouds. Not only are the images spectacular by any standards, but they also

Saturn’s moon full of geysers

There are many things we have yet to find out about Saturn, but the Cassini probe has definitely shed some light on the planet, and will surely do the same in the following years. The most recent flyby showed a significant number of geysers just waiting to pop out from under the surface – even more than previously believed. The

‘Fossil’ fireballs found from supernovae

The US-Japan Sukazu observatory reported the finding of some never-before seen embers from the high temperature fireballs that immediately follower the supernovae explosions. Even after thousands of years in which they haven’t been exposed to any heat source, gas within these stellar wrecks is 10.000 hotter than the Sun’s surface. “This is the first evidence of a new type of

We now know the birth place of the biggest guitar in the galaxy

In case you’re wondering, the biggest ‘guitar’ in our galaxy is in fact a pulsar that was nicknamed The Guitar Pulsar. It’s basically a stellar corpse that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation that just shreds interstellar gas, creating a wake of hot hydrogen shaped just like a guitar. Little is known about these remnants, from any point of view.

A Colourful Cosmic Jewel Box

Star clusters are among the pretties things you can see, when it comes to astrophysical observations. Recently, ESO provided some amazing pictures of one of the most beautiful nestles ever to be seen, located deep in the constellation of Crux. The cluster is named Kappa Crucis Cluster and has been nicknamed ‘the jewel box’ (by Herschel, in 1830), for reasons

Mars makes a once in a lifetime approach on 27 August

Planet Mars will be the brightest we’ll (probably) ever have a chance to see it, and it will be as large as the moon, even for the naked eye ! I can’t even imagine what it will be like, but I bet the Red Planet will be absolutely spectacular, and it’s something you definitely don’t want to miss. Just so

Dramatic fireball flies above Arizona

I’m really sorry I didn’t find out about this earlier, but better late than never. So, on June 23, several observers from Tucson, Arizona reported they noticed a bright fireball on the sky. As it turns out, it was rock from outer space that broke apart and took a dive in our planet’s atmosphere, a ‘shooting star’, and a pretty

The most distant object in the universe found so far

ESO’s Very Large Telescope has shown something that scientists concluded is the signature of the explosion of the object furthest away from Earth we have found so far, a redshift of 8.2; it’s estimated that the explosion took place more than 13 billion years ago (!!), just 600 million years after the Big Bang. They found it using a technology

Zooming in on Mars: 3d pictures of the red planet

Get your 3D pictures on and join the show; hundreds of amazing pictures made by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have been made, and despite the fact that this is not the first mission to take 3D pictures, HiRISE is by far the most powerful camera to do this, due to the significant progress in the

The day our Sun brought darkness

About 20 years ago, on March 13, 1989, the whole province of Quebec, Canada, suffered a blackout that by now has reached legendary proportions among astronomers and electrical engineers. Still, what made it reach this status wasn’t its proportions, but the fact that it was caused by the sun, or a solar storm to be more exact. Three days earlier,

Green visitor to pass through the solar system

Unfortunately for some, the green visitor is not an alien coming to greet us but something else, even though it also comes from far, far away. On the 24th of February the comet Lulin will pass within 61 million kilometers of Earth, thus being able to be seen with the naked eye from some locations. This is the first time

White dwarf considered the hottest ever discovered

Astronomy & Astrophysics has published spectroscopic observations of one of the hottest stars discovered so far – a white dwarf called KPD 0005+5106. The observations were made using the space-based Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE), showing that the temperature can reach 200 000 K at the surface of the star. Temperatures can get so high that the emission lines are exhibited

Beta Pictoris planet could finally be imaged

Beta Pictoris (β Pic / β Pictoris) is part of a group of hot young stars that have the same age and motion through stage. It’s best known for the fact that it’s surrounded by a dusty ‘debris’ disc. This disc is a result of collisions between planetary ’embryos’ and asteroids, or other such objects. Recently, a team of French