February 2007

Hyades Planet Challenges Formation Theories

February 21, 2007

At just over 150 light years from Earth in the constellation Taurus, the Hyades is the nearest open star cluster to Earth. We’ve been scouting the terrain in clusters recently, looking at globular clusters like 47 Tucanae and open clusters like M37, both of which are under intense scrutiny. But the first exoplanet to be […]

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Envisioning the Interstellar Ark

February 20, 2007

Strange Paths offers a robust essay on the topic of interstellar arks, one that considers our future among the stars without warp drives or other breakthroughs that get us past the speed of light barrier. Star Trek and its ilk offer familiar, short-term travel analogous to our own relatively brief journeys in the Solar System. […]

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The Europa Gambit

February 19, 2007

Perhaps ten to twenty kilometers under Europa’s global shell of ice there looks to be an ocean. That ice sheet is pretty thick for even our best drilling rigs but, says William B. McKinnon (Washington University, St. Louis), the deformities make a good case for its being relatively thin in comparison to the world it […]

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Tau Zero Founder on TV

February 18, 2007

Star Trek technology will be the subject of two upcoming shows on the History Channel, with at least one segment devoted to the interstellar warp drive and the possibility of making it real. The Tau Zero Foundation’s Marc Millis will make an appearance in the context of his work on advanced propulsion for NASA. Star […]

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A Birthplace like the Sun’s

February 17, 2007

The night sky has always been a kind of time machine, allowing us to look farther into the past the deeper we look into space. But the heavens are also a time machine in another sense — by looking carefully, we can find stellar systems in almost every stage of development. We recently saw an […]

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A Singularity in our Future?

February 16, 2007

When Vernor Vinge takes on the topic “What if the Singularity Does NOT Happen,” interesting things are bound to follow. Thus his talk for the Long Now Foundation-sponsored Seminars About Long-Term Thinking yesterday. Vinge, a computer scientist and science fiction author, is not giving up his belief that the Singularity will happen. That event, which […]

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In Search of Dark Matter Galaxies

February 16, 2007

Understanding dark matter, a major goal for cosmology, comes down to figuring out how normal matter interacts with its mysterious counterpart. A vital part of this work may be the objects called dwarf spheroidal galaxies, surely among the most bizarre agglomerations every observed. For current thinking (based on mass-to-light ratios) is that a dwarf spheroidal […]

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A Human Future Among the Stars?

February 15, 2007

Speaking at the Space Technology and Applications International Forum (STAIF 2007) in Albuquerque yesterday, space historian Roger Launius questioned whether the idea of a human future in interstellar space is still relevant. From a USA Today story: “We may already be Cyborgs,” Launius pointed out, looking out into an audience filled with people wearing glasses, […]

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A Quick Note re Comments

February 15, 2007

Due to my own clumsiness with some needed spam filter adjustments, I’ve lost several moderated comments that I had intended to post today. If you submitted a comment within the last three hours that didn’t appear, please re-submit, and sorry for the confusion!

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A Deep Sky Survey for Exoplanets

February 15, 2007

Stellar clusters make useful tools in the exoplanet hunt. Think of the transit search of the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, which has brought in statistically significant findings about the occurrence of hot Jupiters. As recently discussed in these pages, David Weldrake’s team found no transits in either 47 Tucanae or Omega Centauri, an indication that […]

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