Tuesday, April 16

Astronomy

Titan’s dark dunes could be made from comets
Astronomy

Titan’s dark dunes could be made from comets

THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS — The dark dunes of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, could have fallen from space. More than enough cometary material may have struck Titan to have formed its vast dune fields, planetary scientist William Bottke reported March 12 at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Computer simulations suggest that the enigmatic drifts formed from objects hailing from the primordial Kuiper Belt, a modern source of comets beyond the orbit of Neptune. The proposed scenario could also explain the presence of similar material observed on other worlds, said Bottke, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. *{color:var(--zephr-color-text-main)}.zephr-payment-form-relative-container{position:relative}.zephr-payment-form-flex-con...
Condor telescope reveals a new world for astrophysicists
Astronomy

Condor telescope reveals a new world for astrophysicists

A view created by Condor and computer technologies of extremely faint shells of ionized gas surrounding the dwarf nova Z Camelopardalis. Credit: Condor Team A new telescope called the "Condor Array Telescope" may open up a new world of the very-low-brightness universe for astrophysicists. Four new papers, published back to back in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS) this month, present the first scientific findings based on observations acquired by Condor. The project is a collaborative led by scientists in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stony Brook University and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). ...
This Galaxy Was Already Dead When the Universe Was Only 700 Million Years Old
Astronomy

This Galaxy Was Already Dead When the Universe Was Only 700 Million Years Old

When a galaxy runs out of gas and dust, the process of star birth stops. That takes billions of years. But, there’s a galaxy out there that was already dead when the Universe was only 700 billion years old. What happened to it? That’s what an international team of astronomers wants to know. “The first few hundred million years of the Universe was a very active phase, with lots of gas clouds collapsing to form new stars,” said Tobias Looser from the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. “Galaxies need a rich supply of gas to form new stars, and the early universe was like an all-you-can-eat buffet.” So, when the galaxy JADES-GS-z7-01-QU showed up in a JWST observation, it didn’t exhibit much evidence of ongoing star formation. (JADES stands for JWST Advanced Deep E...
March Night Sky 2024 – Astronotes
Astronomy

March Night Sky 2024 – Astronotes

It really feels like we are settling in to 2024 at this point, and hopefully the year is going well for you so far! We are finally heading into the spring months, and hopefully the constant weather warnings will abate long enough for us to get out and do some relaxing stargazing. In fact, the Vernal Equinox takes place on the 20th of March this year, and marks the start of astronomical spring in the northern hemisphere. This is one of the two days of the year where the length of the day and night are equal, and the sun lies directly over the equator. Interestingly these are also the only days of the year where the line between the lit and unlit portions of Earth (the terminator. Yes, really) is perpendicular to the equator. The vernal equinox marks the beginning of the new year in some cal...
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...