Astronomy, News

First blue moon since 2012 will be visible on Friday

Blue moon of August 31, 2012, viewed from Slobozia, Romania. Image via Wikipedia.

If you do something “once in a blue moon”, that’s really rare – once every 2 or 3 years, to be more exact. There’s no exact pattern for blue moons, sometimes they grace us with their presence sooner, and sometimes it takes more time. It’s been about three years since we had the last one, and it will be another three before we have the next one: the blue moon comes on Friday.

Astronomy, Astrophysics, News

NASA’s exciting announcement: They’ve discovered an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone

The sweep of NASA Kepler mission’s search for small, habitable planets in the last six years. The first planet smaller than Earth, Kepler-20e, was discovered in December 2011 orbiting a Sun-like star slightly cooler and smaller than our sun every six days. But it is scorching hot and unable to maintain an atmosphere or a liquid water ocean. Kepler-22b was announced in the same month, as the first planet in the habitable zone of a sun-like star, but is more than twice the size of Earth and therefore unlikely to have a solid surface. Kepler-186f was discovered in April 2014 and is the first Earth-size planet found in the habitable zone of a small, cool M dwarf about half the size and mass of our sun. Kepler-452b is the first near-Earth-Size planet in the habitable zone of a star very similar to the sun.
Credits: NASA Ames/W. Stenzel

Planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our Sun. This extremely exciting announcement was made by NASA today; while this doesn’t mean that the planet is inhabited, it does mean that it has many of the characteristics that our own Earth-Sun system have, and the odds of it hosting life seem significant.

Astronomy, News, Science, Space

Pluto had its moment – now Charon, Pluto’s Moon is in the spotlight

Image via NASA.

OK, we all know New Horizons zoomed past Pluto, took some breathtaking pictures and then called back home to tell us everything’s fine. But let’s switch our attention a bit and focus on Charon – Pluto’s Moon that’s just as mysterious as its name implies. Charon is the largest of the five known moons of the dwarf planet Pluto, at about

Astronomy, News, Space

New Horizons Phones Back After Pluto Flyby

Members of the New Horizons science team react to seeing the spacecraft's last and sharpest image of Pluto before closest approach later in the day, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.
Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls

New Horizons’s trip to Pluto came and went – it was met with extreme enthusiasm at NASA headquarters and praised by astronauts throughout the world – but New Horizon’s mission is far from over. The shuttle is adequately powered to sent back valuable data until the 2030s; for now, it simply “phoned” back home to say it’s OK after zooming past Pluto.

Astronomy, News, Observations

New Horizons and Pluto: Everything You Wanted to Know

This is the best photo of Pluto we have. Thank you, NASA!

Speeding at 14 km per second, NASA’s New Horizons shuttle went past Pluto, hurdling towards the edge of the Solar System. But regardless of what happens, New Horizons’ flyby of the dwarf planet will remained firmly anchored in the history of space exploration. “We have completed the initial reconnaissance of the Solar System, an endeavour started under President Kennedy more than 50

Astronomy, News

Millions of supermassive black holes are hiding under thick blankets of dust and gas

A montage of images showing an artist's concept of NuSTAR (top); a color image of one of the galaxies targeted by NuSTAR (lower left); and artist's concept of a hidden black hole.
Credits: Top: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Lower-left: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA. Bottom-right: NASA/ESA

Our Universe may be riddled with millions of supermassive black holes, a new study reports. The reason why we haven’t yet discovered them is because they are shrouded in thick clouds of dust and gas, and because we weren’t looking with the right telescope. Using NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) satellite observatory, astronomers from Durham University in Britain detected the

Astronomy, News, Observations

Lucky shot: Photographer catches space station racing past the moon

Astronomy Photography

Dylan O’Donnell, an amateur photographer, took one of the luckiest shots ever: the International Space Station past the moon. Any astro buff would be envious.

Astronomy, News

Stargazers delight: Jupiter and Venus get up close and personal

View of Jupiter and Venus in the evening sky after sunset at around 11pm on 20 June 2015. On this night the crescent Moon lies just below Jupiter. To the right of Venus, using binoculars, may just be seen Praesepe, the famous "Beehive" star cluster, though this will be a difficult object in the twilight and at such a low altitude. The bright star to the left of Jupiter is known as Regulus, the principal star of the constellation Leo, though it is actually a multiple stellar system.

  Last night, Jupiter and Venus nearly converged on the night sky, being so close that you actually don’t need a telescope to see their celestial dance. “Throughout the month of June 2015, the two brightest planets in the night sky, Venus and Jupiter, are going to converge for a close jaw-dropping encounter,”said NASA in a news release. #perth if

Astronomy, News

Tomorrow, the world is getting one extra second – what are you gonna do with yours?

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Tomorrow, something extraordinary will happen, even though you might not notice it: right before 8 p.m. Eastern time, we will be adding an extra second – a leap second. Aside for being an interesting quirk, this is another reminder that our time isn’t exactly synced with solar time, and every once in a while, we need to make some adjustments. Why

Astronomy, News

Alien pyramid on Ceres? More like bad media on Earth

Ceres-pyramid

The whole media is abuzz after NASA released some pictures of the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But while it’s somewhat expected for pseudoscientists and alien fanatics went crazy after they spotted what appears to be a huge pyramid-shaped mountain, I was expecting more from the mainstream media. I know, right?