Space

Have you ever wondered if any spaceship could ever travel through the sun with future technology? What if it is as big as Mercury or larger? Nothing material will work that we know of.  The sun's temperature of 26 million degrees is far too hot, and the most refractory substances we know of melt at a few thousand degrees. It seems a hopeless task. But there are a few things to explore, so let's look a bit more closely.

HEAT - NEEDS REFRIGERATION

4 billion light-years away, inside a collection of nearly 500 galaxies called Pandora's Cluster, are the faint, ghostly glow of stars gravitationally ripped apart several billion years ago.

The scattered stars are no longer bound to any one galaxy and drift freely between galaxies in the cluster. By observing the light from the orphaned stars, Hubble astronomers have assembled forensic evidence that suggests as many as six galaxies were torn to pieces inside the 
Abell 2744
cluster over a stretch of 6 billion years.




Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have discovered a streamer of gas flowing from a massive outer disc toward the inner reaches of a young, low-mass binary star system GG Tau-A.

With private space missions just around the corner, we need to think about keeping important lunar sites safe. Cultsofhteshadow/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

By Beth O'Leary, New Mexico State University

Who will preserve the first lunar landing site at Tranquility Base for future generations?

 NASA Kepler Mission

If we were aliens, would we be able to detect Earth, using the technology we have now?

This morning, a large active region on the sun erupted with another X-class flare, its fourth since Oct. 24th. 

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.


The first images of a nova during its early fireball stage - when it ejects material and gases expand and cool - have been delivered from a nova that erupted last year in the constellation Delphinus.  

A nova occurs after a thin layer of hydrogen builds up on the surface of a white dwarf--a highly evolved star with the mass of the sun packed into the volume of the Earth. A normal star accompanies the white dwarf in a binary star system, providing that hydrogen as the two stars orbit each other.


A team of astronomers recently reported discovering a pulsating star that appears to shine with the energy of 10 million suns. A pulsar is a type of rotating neutron star that emits a bright beam of energy that regularly sweeps past Earth like a lighthouse beacon.

What are the odds finding another one so bright? According to one of the paper's authors, quite good. 

Professor Deepto Chakrabarty of the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says he is optimistic that astronomers will find additional ultra-bright pulsars now that they know such objects exist.


The expanding thermonuclear fireball of a nova is a staple of movies and fiction but last year one was witnessed in the constellation Delphinus with unprecedented clarity. The observations produced the first images of a nova during the early fireball stage and revealed how the structure of the ejected material evolves as the gas expands and cools.