Thursday, February 29

Astronomy

Explore Puppis’ Messier cluster trio  – Astronomy Now
Astronomy

Explore Puppis’ Messier cluster trio  – Astronomy Now

Puppis’ wide-field combination of Messier 46, Messier 47 and NGC 2438 provide a superb imaging target. Image: Dr Dave (daveandtelescope.wordpress.com/about/). This time of the year is open cluster season for sure, with a whole host of prime examples of the species to choose from. Why not head in the direction of the under-observed southern constellation of Puppis to observe Messier 46 (NGC 2437), Messier 47 (NGC 2422) and Messier 93 (NGC 2447), a superb trio of clusters.  M46 and M47 lie under 1.5° apart in a sparkling, star-studded winter Milky Way field, and are great objects to view together through a pair of 10 x 50 binoculars. There’s an added bonus too: peering through a moderate- to large-aperture telescope will reveal tenth-magnitude NGC 2438, a tiny planetary nebula that’s embedd...
Astronomy

Astronomers discover universe’s brightest object – a quasar powered by a black hole that eats a sun a day | Space

The brightest known object in the universe, a quasar 500tn times brighter than our sun, was “hiding in plain sight”, researchers say.Australian scientists spotted a quasar powered by the fastest growing black hole ever discovered. Its mass is about 17bn times that of our solar system’s sun, and it devours the equivalent of a sun a day.The light from the celestial object travelled for more than 12bn years to reach Earth.Australian National University scientists first spotted it using a 2.3-metre telescope at the university’s NSW Siding Spring Observatory in Coonabarabran. They then confirmed the find using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO’s) Very Large Telescope, which has a primary mirror of 8 metres.The findings by the ANU researchers, in collaboration with the ESO, the University...
Can astronomers use radar to spot a cataclysmic asteroid?
Astronomy

Can astronomers use radar to spot a cataclysmic asteroid?

A Synthetic Aperture Radar image of the Moon’s Tycho Crater, showing 5-meter resolution detail. Credit: Raytheon Technologies. How can humans protect the Earth from "devastating asteroid and comet impacts?" According to the National Academies and their 2023-2032 Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey, ground-based astronomical radar systems will have a "unique role" to play in planetary defense. There is currently only one system in the world concentrating on these efforts, NASA's Goldstone solar system Radar, part of the Deep Space Network (DSN). However, a new instrument concept from the National Radio Ast...
Webb Can Directly Test One Theory for Dark Matter
Astronomy

Webb Can Directly Test One Theory for Dark Matter

What is it about galaxies and dark matter? Most, if not all galaxies are surrounded by halos of this mysterious, unknown, but ubiquitous material. And, it also played a role in galaxy formation. The nature of that role is something astronomers are still figuring out. Today, they’re searching the infant Universe, looking for the tiniest, brightest galaxies. That’s because they could help tell the tale of dark matter’s role in galactic creation. An international team of astronomers led by UCLA’s Smadar Naoz is doing simulations of early galaxy formation. Their computer programs track the circumstances of galactic births not long after the Big Bang. These “hot off the press” computer models include some new wrinkles. They take into account previously neglected interactions between dark matt...
February Night Sky 2024 – Astronotes
Astronomy

February Night Sky 2024 – Astronotes

Welcome to February, the shortest month of the year, but there is still plenty to see in the night sky. Over the last few weeks, the evenings have been getting a little brighter, which is nice for us, but it means that it takes a little more time to see the stars come out. So, for the best views it is a good idea to get out of town to avoid the light pollution. While some views are spectacular, it’s best to avoid phones, even if the pictures could go viral… It takes between 20 to 30 minutes for our eyes to adjust to the dark, so we don’t want to ruin the experience. We will be looking mostly to the southern sky, which has seasonal constellations. So, through the year different stars are going to be visible in the night sky. Let’s have a look at some of them.  Constellations  The constellat...