The Juno spacecraft is a space probe orbiting Jupiter and it’s been sending back some amazing pictures of the gas giant. Launched on August 5, 2011, Juno only arrived at Jupiter as of 2016 and its been in orbit ever since. It dives between the planet and its intense belts of charged particle radiation, coming about 3000 miles from the cloud tops at its closest approach.
Today we know of over 4000 exoplanets, or extrasolar planets: worlds orbiting around stars not our sun. But in 1992, possibly the first exoplanet ever discovered came in the form that scientists did not expect. It was a pulsar planet, or a zombie planet, formed from the matter and debris in the aftermath of an exploding star.
On January 9 1992, two planets orbiting the pulsar PSR 1257+12 had been confirmed. This is generally considered to be the first definitive detection of planets beyond our own solar system. And now, as of February 1 2018, planets beyond our own galaxy have been confirmed.
A newly discovered extra-solar planet located some 11 light-years away may be suitable for life. It’s called “Ross 128 b” and you may be hearing a lot more of this exoplanet in the months and years to come.
It’s something the likes of which astronomers have never seen: seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting a nearby star. And all of them may be capable of supporting life as we know it.
From gravitational waves to weird radio signals, 2016 has been a busy year in the field of astronomy. With the constant deluge of ongoing news and controversies, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s happening in the world of outer space. So here are the top 10 stories in astronomical discoveries you should know about.
Recently, we began hearing rumors that an Earth-like planet had been found within the habitable zone of the next-nearest star to us, Proxima Centauri. According to the European Southern Observatory and other institutions, those statements have been confirmed. Yes, there is a new planet, like Earth, within its star’s habitable zone, and relatively close to us.
Juno is the second spacecraft designed under NASA’s New Frontiers Program and left Earth on August 8, 2011 for a journey to Jupiter. July 4, 2016 it finally entered Jupiter’s orbit and will now orbit the massive gas giant 37 times in a span of 20 months. Its mission: to collect data on the planetary core, map the magnetic field, and measure the amount of water and ammonia in the atmosphere.
That’s the gist of the mission, but here are some little known facts you may not already know.
Three worlds, potentially hospitable for life, have been discovered orbiting a dim, nearby star some 39 light-years away.
It is believed that the black hole at the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy, Sagittarius A, is 4 million solar masses. This is the the most massive object in our galaxy. Even so, it is dwarfed in comparison with the black hole located at the center of NGC 4889, a galaxy 308 million light-years away at the center of the Coma Cluster. This elliptical galaxy is one of the brightest and largest galaxies in the Coma Cluster, and even though it doesn’t display much activity, it contains a black hole with a mass 21 billion times that of our Sun.