On Tuesday, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking presented his new theories on black holes to a gathering of esteemed scientists and members of the media at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Hawking focused on something called the information paradox, an aspect of black holes that has been puzzling scientists for years. Basically, the paradox involves the fact that information about the star that formed a black hole seems to be lost inside it, presumably disappearing when the black hole inevitably disappears. However, according to how the universe works and what physicists believe, these things cannot be lost. But where does the information go when the black hole that’s absorbed goes down the drain?
Have you ever heard of a “fire rainbow”? Well, it’s neither fire nor is it a rainbow.
The majority of exo-planets discovered are called “Super Jupiters.” They’re the most discovered because their great size contributes to the slight tug, or wobble, of the star they orbit–much like an Olympic athlete when competing in the hammer throw. And in this orbit, they’ll annually pass in front of their star, dimming the starlight output from our relative view, alerting us to its presence–like a bug flying in front of a lightbulb. Unlike most “Super-Jupiters,” which have the characteristics of very cool stars, 51 Eridani b is much more like a gas giant planet. It orbits its star about 13 times the diameter of Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The 51 Eridani system lies about 100 light years away.
We’ve become accustomed to seeing the face of the moon in its tidal locked rotation around the Earth. In fact, the dark side of the moon has become a mystery and a thing for fictional devices. It’s not that the dark side of the moon has never been photographed or explored, but it sure looks great when see from a million miles away, crossing in front of Earth.
We’ve been searching the stars and scanning the heavens for many years, trying to find another solar system that might be able to harbor life like our own. And through the years we’ve edged very close to finding similar planets to our home planet of Earth. Well, on July 23rd of this year, the Kepler Mission announced that it has discovered the closest thing to an Earth 2.0. It is Kepler 452b and it’s only 1,400 light-years away. Here’s the who, what, when, where and how of this new discovery.
More than half a billion people watched the televised first moonwalk that took place on July 20, 1969. It was a day so historic that space enthusiasts still celebrate it annually. It was the day that marked the culmination of human endeavor, spirit, and perseverance. And it can always be summed up in that now-famous sentence uttered by Neil Armstrong, “That is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
July 15th was a historic occasion as it marked the first time we were able to see close-up pictures of Pluto’s surface. Traveling at over 30,000 mph, New Horizons snapped some very interesting pictures of the dwarf planet’s surface as it came within 47 thousand miles of it, beaming back to us details never before seen. What New Horizons captured for us was a first glimpse at mountain ranges and deposits of methane & nitrogen ice.
We might be half-way through 2015 but there are still 7 upcoming stargazing events that you won’t want to miss.
The first validated Earth-sized planet to orbit a star in the habitable zone, Kepler-186f, has been discovered. It beats out the current most potential candidate for a world with Earth-like life which went to Kepler-62f–a planet forty percent larger than Earth, yet still residing in its own habitable zone.
Hello from the Southeastern Planetarium Association. I’m currently at the SEPA 2015 and while I’m here I participated in a brief story-telling workshop where planetarians got together to share their favorite stories of the night sky. I chose to tell the story of the largest star ever observed (so far): UY Scuti.