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Red Supergiant Star Betelgeuse Going Supernova Soon? Not quite

By on Dec 26, 2019 in Breaking News | 0 comments

There has been lots of buzz in the Astro community about whether Betelgeuse will be supernova or not. Well, let’s catch you up quickly on the background. TL;DR version here Betelgeuse is a huge star that is about 11-20 times larger than our own Sun! In fact, if it was placed where our Sun is that it would reach as far as Jupiter, engulfing Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Now, when we think about the most fantastic and terrifying explosions in the universe you might hear or think of supernova. If you start asking the question what’s the nearest star to us that will go supernova next? Then you land on Betelgeuse. It’s a widely known fact but no cause for alarm. It takes tens of thousands of years for a star to go down this path of going supernova. There’s a wonderful simulation of how frantic this process is over a time period of 16 years. Check out the following...

Once in a Lifetime Comet Siding Spring Skimming by Mars Today!

By on Oct 19, 2014 in Breaking News | 0 comments

Comet Siding Spring Skimming Mars and Giving Our Satellites a Scare. Here’s Why You Should Be Watching this Event Today!     Comets are fascinating and valuable to astronomers and scientists alike. It helps us understand where we come from or how we even got here. It’s said that comets were the reason water is even on Earth. Now why the fuss over Comet Siding Spring? Well here is the lowdown:   Quick Facts You Need to Know About Comet Siding Spring:   It will just skim Mars by 87,000 km. To give you an idea, our Moon is about 384,400 km from our Earth so this comet would pass in between earth and the moon and show up like a second sun in the sky. Comet Siding Spring is hurtling through space at about 56 km/s! The weight alone is about the weight of a mountain. It’s also shedding 220 pounds of dust per second. This comet took an estimated million years to...

Mission to Jupiter’s Moon Europa: 2014 Edition

By on Jul 19, 2014 in Breaking News | 2 comments

2014 Update on the Mission to Jupiter’s Moon Europa     The mission to Europa has been a dream for many planetary scientists for a long time and now NASA is asking for proposals for what science instruments should be on board for the mission. One of the main reasons Europa is an excellent prospect to send an orbiter or spacecraft is the ocean of water beneath its thick icy crust. As far as we know water is a great indicator for potential life and with a combination of tidal heating it makes Europa a suitable candidate for life. Before we jump into the details of the mission let’s take a look at why Europa is insanely cool!   Europa: All the Fun Facts You Want to Know     It’s still quite mind boggling that not only do we live in a galaxy that may support from 100-400 billion exoplanets but now moons may be capable of harbouring life as well!...

NASA’s New Study Suggests Carbon Worlds May Be Waterless

By on Nov 5, 2013 in Breaking News | 0 comments

NASA’s New Study Suggests Carbon Worlds May Be Waterless     According to a NASA-funded theoretical research carbon rich planets, such as diamond planets, may be waterless. By modelling the ingredients of a carbon planet the data shows that they would lack ocean reservoirs or icy water that supply said planets with oceans. Torrence Johnson of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena says, “The building blocks that went into making our oceans are the icy asteroids and comets.” Then goes on to say “If we keep track of these building blocks, we find that planets around carbon-rich stars come up dry.” Torrence brings up an interesting point that from his observations he noticed that if the main building block, carbon, is too abundant then it will steal away all the oxygen that would have made water. This strikes me as thought provoking when...

NASA’s Observatories Begin Deepest Ever Look of the Universe

By on Oct 24, 2013 in Breaking News | 0 comments

NASA’s Observatories Begin Deepest Ever Look of the Universe     We’ve looked deep into the universe and almost at the point where we are getting closer to the birth of it. NASA’s Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra telescopes are teaming up to look deeper into the universe. Using the universe’s “zoom lenses” found in space these observatories should be able to uncover galaxies that are 100 times fainter than what we would normally see with these telescopes on their own. In a collaborative team effort called the Frontier Fields astronomers will record and observe data for the next three years. The way they are using the universe as a zoom lens is by using the gravitational fields caused by cluster of galaxies or targeting the most massive amount of matter in the universe. “The Frontier Fields program is exactly what NASA’s great...

How the Largest Star (W26) Known in the Universe is Tearing Itself Apart

By on Oct 20, 2013 in Breaking News | 1 comment

How the Largest Star (W26) Known in the Universe is Tearing Itself Apart     A star called W26 located in a supercluster called Westerlund 1. W26 is located in our very own Milky Way and is considered a red supergiant and is 1,500 times bigger than our own sun! Just to humor you and try and give you some perspective think about this. Our Earth has a diameter of 12,742 km. Our sun has a diameter of 1,392,684 km and when we compare that to W26 it has a staggering diameter of 2,089,026,000 km! If W26 was placed in our solar system it would reach out to 13.9 AU (astronomical units – distance from sun to the Earth) which would be further out than Jupiter. That would mean every planet including Jupiter would be sitting inside W26! Now something interesting happened to W26 as astronomers were observing it using the VLT (Very Large Telescope) in Chile. Look at the photo above...