Have you ever heard of the exoplanet, Tau Boötis b? Well, it was discovered back in 1996 and is one of the closest exoplanets to us. Tau Boötis b is about 51-light-years away and is considered to be a “hot Jupiter” because it is a gas giant orbiting close to its parent star. Now, with the advances in techniques used to scan planetary atmospheres, something else has been discovered about Tau Boötis b: the fact that it has water vapor.
It’s a happy Valentines Day on the surface of Mars. Thanks to the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) team we can check out a collection of heart-shaped surface features.
Back in 1960, Astronomer Frank Drake started scanning two sun-like stars with an 85-foot wide antennae in West Virginia. His goal: search for signs of life. Over the past 50 years, thanks to the advantage of significant advances in electronics, digital technology, and some help from other people, that search has really ramped up. This month, Seth Shostak of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, CA, claims it is now estimated that by 2040 enough star systems will have been scanned to have discovered alien-produced electromagnetic signals.
Besides the Sun and Moon, Venus is the brightest celestial body. It’s so bright that you can even see it during the daytime. Tomorrow morning, and the rest of the week, you can see Venus in the morning sky just before sunrise. That is, if it is a clear sky when you go out. Depending on where you are, Venus is about two fists above the horizon.
In order to test whether or not a satellite could withstand the sound blast of a launcher as it takes off and flies through the atmosphere, the scientists at the European Space Agency have developed a sound system so extreme it may be able to kill a human being if they stood in front of it.
A little while ago I blogged about the mysterious donut-like object that suddenly appeared on the surface of Mars at the base of the Opportunity rover. NASA concluded that it was only a rock and probably got there by being kicked up from one of Opportunity’s wheels while it moved from point A to point B. Well, now NASA has a lawsuit brought against them by someone that thinks the object is more than meets the eye and he wants the investigation to go further.
Something will happen this month that is very rare. As January 2014 comes to a close we will experience two supermoons in one month – and not two Full supermoons but two New supermoons. But what is a supermoon and when will we ever have two in one month again?
The European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory has recently discovered that the dwarf planet Ceres has direct evidence of water. Ceres, the largest object in the Asteroid Belt, was detected spouting out plumes of water vapor from two different regions. It’s suggested that this water is possibly coming from volcano-like ice geysers.
There is no such place as a Mary Lee or Dunkin Donuts over on Mars. At least, not yet. But several days ago the Mars Rover Opportunity caught a mysterious object in its lenses that looked awfully like a jelly doughnut. The strange thing is that it just happened to plop down in front of the camera. If you look at the picture above you’ll see that it’s obviously a before-and-after shot. The picture on the left was taken on December 26 of 2013 and the image on the right was taken 13 days later. The object wasn’t there before. So how did it get there?
Are you bored with all the recent coverage of the unusually low temperatures sweeping the nation? Well, you can now relax by knowing that a giant solar flare is going to be hitting the Earth today.