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Birth of a Black Hole

At2018cow, or The Cow, as seen about 80 days after it first exploded
At2018cow, or The Cow, as seen about 80 days after it first exploded(Credit: Northwestern University)

In June 2018, a bright light burst into the skies over the Northern Hemisphere. At a glance it looked like any other supernova, but on closer inspection this thing turned out to be far weirder. Officially known as AT2018cow (but quickly nicknamed “The Cow”), astronomers now believe the ATLAS survey’s twin telescopes in Hawaii captured an unprecedented look at the birth of a black hole or a neutron star. read more

Chinese Rover Lands on the Moon

from the Daily Mail:

A Chinese rover is making its tracks on the soft surface of the ‘dark’ side of the moon after touching down on our nearest celestial neighbour.Image result for chinese rover

The Yutu-2 – or Jade Rabbit 2 – rover drove off its lander’s ramp and onto the exterior of the moon’s far side at 10:22pm Beijing time (2:22 pm GMT) on Thursday, about 12 hours after the Chinese spacecraft carrying it came to rest.

China’s space agency later posted a photos online, revealing lunar rover several yards away from the spacecraft.

The tracks it makes on the surface of the moon will be forever immortalised and will never be lost as there is no wind on the moon due to its lack of an atmosphere. read more

On a Collision Course with a Cloud

An artist's imagining of the night sky from Earth as the Milky Way collides with neighboring...
An artist’s imagining of the night sky from Earth as the Milky Way collides with neighboring galaxy Andromeda – a new study shows that the Large Magellanic Cloud will also smash into the Milky Way much sooner(Credit: NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger)

When we think of celestial threats to our planet, we usually think of big asteroids and comets, and maybe the odd gamma ray burst or supernova. What we probably wouldn’t think of is an entire galaxy bearing down on us, but according to a new study, that’s exactly what’s happening right now. The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a nearby dwarf galaxy, is on a collision course with the Milky Way, but there’s no need to worry just yet – the starry smashup won’t begin for another two billion years or so. read more

New Horizons Probe to Pass Mysterious Ultima Thule on New Years Day

An artist's impression of Ultima Thule, which is already turning out to be quite mysterious before...
An artist’s impression of Ultima Thule, which is already turning out to be quite mysterious before New Horizons even arrives(Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Steve Gribben)

NASA’s New Horizons probe is just days away from its historic flyby of Ultima Thule, a mysterious object on the fringe of the solar system. Since it awoke from hibernation back in June, the craft has been making observations of the object, and that has raised the first puzzle – Ultima seems to be an unexpectedly “dark” world, and while there are a number of possible explanations, none of them have any precedent in the solar system. read more

Black Holes Aren’t Holes – They’re Fountains

Gas surrounding a supermassive black hole spews out from above and below the disk like a three-dimensional fountain, new simulations have revealed.

While it’s long been assumed that the rings of gas around active black holes took on the shape of a donut, researchers say the reality is far more complex.

Simulations and observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimetre Array (ALMA) suggest the ‘donut’ is actually a more dynamic structure made if three gaseous components that circulate constantly.

According to the team, it¿s more of a three-step process. First, the cold gas forms a disk near the plane of rotation, heating up until the molecules break down. Some of these molecules are expelled above and below the disk. This falls back down to create a fountain-like structure

According to the team, it’s more of a three-step process. First, the cold gas forms a disk near the plane of rotation, heating up until the molecules break down. Some of these molecules are expelled above and below the disk. This falls back down to create a fountain-like structure read more

Going Back to the Moon

NASA has revealed plans to take America back to the moon – but will rely on private firms to run the missions.

The space agency plans to work with nine private firms, ranging from small startups to giants like Lockheed Martin, to develop robotic landers and systems to mine the natural resources on the moon.

This will help develop the technology need for eventual manned missions, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine pledged to have a manned lunar base within a decade.

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Jim Bridenstine announces new Moon to Mars partnerships with American companies

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Jim Bridenstine announces new Moon to Mars partnerships with American companies read more

NASA Announces Commercial Space Flights

Artist's concept of the Crew Dragon
Artist’s concept of the Crew Dragon(Credit: SpaceX)

NASA has announced the dates for the first flights of the commercial manned space capsules that will be used to ferry astronauts from the United States to the International Space Station (ISS). read more

Prolonged Space Travel may Damage the GI Tract

Cosmic radiation could adversely affect the digestive tracts of astronauts on a future manned mission to...
Cosmic radiation could adversely affect the digestive tracts of astronauts on a future manned mission to Mars(Credit: NASA)

In more bad news for future voyagers to Mars, a team of scientists at the Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) has found the kind of Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR) that astronauts will encounter on long space voyages can cause heavy damage to their gastrointestinal (GI) tract. read more

Is Nuclear Pasta the Strongest Material?

Computer simulations have found that "nuclear pasta" – strange material found inside neutron stars – may...
Computer simulations have found that “nuclear pasta” – strange material found inside neutron stars – may just be the strongest material in the universe(Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

Forget steel, forget diamond and even forget everyone’s favorite wonder material graphene – “nuclear pasta” may be the strongest material in the universe. This strange substance is formed in the intense pressures inside neutron stars, and researchers have now run computer simulations to test just how strong it is. read more