Deep Sky Astronomy & Telescopes

The View from Outside the Galaxy

June 5, 2015

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has recently released a video (viewable here on YouTube) showing how a number of celestial objects might look if they were substantially closer to Earth than they are. The image of the Andromeda galaxy and its trillion stars projected against an apparent Earthscape is below. Unfortunately, this seems to […]

Read the full article →

Perytons: A Microwave Solution

April 15, 2015

Radio bursts scant milliseconds long that have been reported at the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales — so-called ‘perytons’ — turn out to be the product of microwave ovens. The Case of the Puzzling Perytons, as Earl Stanley Gardner might have titled it, appeared in these pages earlier, with alliteration intact, when Jim […]

Read the full article →

Enter ‘Galactic Archaeology’

April 9, 2015

I’ve used the term ‘interstellar archaeology’ enough for readers to know that I’m talking about new forms of SETI that look for technological civilizations through their artifacts, as perhaps discoverable in astronomical data. But there is another kind of star-based archaeology that is specifically invoked by the scientists behind GALAH, as becomes visible when you […]

Read the full article →

In Search of Colliding Stars

April 7, 2015

How often do two stars collide? When you think about the odds here, the likelihood of stellar collisions seems remote. You can visualize the distance between the stars in our galaxy using a method that Rich Terrile came up with at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The average box of salt that you might buy at […]

Read the full article →

Starship Detection: The K2 Perspective

March 26, 2015

‘Classical’ SETI, if I can use that term, is based on studying the electromagnetic spectrum primarily in the radio wavelengths thought most likely to be used for communication by an extraterrestrial civilization. SETI’s optical component is largely focused on searching for signals intended as communication. What is now being called Dysonian SETI is a different […]

Read the full article →

Starship Observational Signatures

March 24, 2015

Now and again in relatively rarefied SETI discussions the topic of starship detection comes up. Specifically, if there were a starship moving through the interstellar medium in the general vicinity of our perch in the Orion Arm, would we be able to detect any sort of signature in our astronomical data? Centauri Dreams regular Al […]

Read the full article →

Were There Planets Inside Mercury’s Orbit?

March 3, 2015

With the Mercury Messenger mission now coming to its end, it seems an appropriate time to speculate on why our inner Solar System looks the way it does. After all, as we continue finding new solar systems, we’re discovering many multi-planet systems with planets — often more than one — closer to their star than […]

Read the full article →

Scholz’s Star: A Close Flyby

February 19, 2015

The star HIP 85605 until recently seemed more interesting than it may now turn out to be. In a recent paper, Coryn Bailer-Jones (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg) noted that the star in the constellation Hercules had a high probability of coming close enough to our Solar System in the far future (240,000 to […]

Read the full article →

Information and Cosmic Evolution

February 16, 2015

Keeping information viable is something that has to be on the mind of a culture that continually changes its data formats. After all, preserving information is a fundamental part of what we do as a species — it’s what gives us our history. We’ve managed to preserve the accounts of battles and migrations and changes […]

Read the full article →

What Comets Are Made Of

February 12, 2015

When the Rosetta spacecraft’s Philae lander bounced while landing on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last November, it was a reminder that comets have a hard outer shell, a black coating of organic molecules and dust that previous missions, like Deep Impact, have also observed. What we’d like to learn is what that crust is made of, and […]

Read the full article →