Do You See the “Cosmic Bat” in NGC 1788?

Do You See the “Cosmic Bat” in NGC 1788?

2,000 light years away, in the Orion constellation, lurks an eerie looking creature, made of glowing gas lit up by young stars: the Cosmic Bat. It’s real name is NGC 1788. It’s a reflection nebula, meaning the light of nearby stars is strong enough to light it up, but not strong enough to ionize the…
This Star has actually been Tossed out of the Galaxy. It Understands What It Did.

This Star has actually been Tossed out of the Galaxy. It...

Every once in a while, the Milky Way ejects a star. The evicted star is typically ejected from the chaotic area at the center of the galaxy, where our Super Massive Black Hole (SMBH) lives. But at least one of them was ejected from the comparatively calm galactic disk, a discovery that has astronomers rethinking…
The Iridium Flare Age will End

The Iridium Flare Age will End

You never forget your first one. I remember reading about a curious new set of flaring satellites, known as Iridiums. This was waaaaay back in the late 1990s, when we still occasionally read things in something called magazines, which involved pressing ink into plant-flesh to convey information. Fast-forward to 2019, and the age of the…
New Ring of Dust Found in the Inner Planetary System

New Ring of Dust Found in the Inner Planetary System

Discovering new things in space is a regular occurrence. Astronomers keep finding more distant objects in the outer reaches of the Solar System. Worlds like ‘The Goblin,’ ‘FarOut,’ and ‘FarFarOut‘ are stretching the limits of what our Solar System actually is. But finding new things in the inner Solar System is rare. “It’s not every…
This is What It’ll Appear like When the Galaxy and Andromeda Galaxies Collide Billions of Years from Now

This is What It’ll Appear like When the Galaxy and Andromeda...

What happens when two galaxies collide? The Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy are on a collision course, and in about 4.5 billion years, they will meet. Now astronomers using the Hubble have provided some visual insight into what that collision might look like. When two galaxies collide, it’s highly unlikely that any stars will…
A Newer, More Accurate Measurement Sets the Mass of the Galaxy at 1.5 Trillion Solar Masses

A Newer, More Accurate Measurement Sets the Mass of the Galaxy...

Astronomers keep trying to measure the mass of the Milky Way and they keep coming up with different numbers. But it’s not that they’re bad at math. Measuring the mass of something as enormous as the Milky Way is confounding. Plus, we’re embedded in it; it takes some very clever maneuvering to constrain its mass.…
Messier 80– the NGC 6093 Globular Cluster

Messier 80– the NGC 6093 Globular Cluster

Welcome back to Messier Monday! Today, we continue in our tribute to our dear friend, Tammy Plotner, by looking at the globular cluster known as Messier 80! During the 18th century, famed French astronomer Charles Messier noticed the presence of several “nebulous objects”  while surveying the night sky. Originally mistaking these objects for comets, he…
Enormous Photons Might Describe Dark Matter, However Do Not

Enormous Photons Might Describe Dark Matter, However Do Not

I’ll be the first to admit that we don’t understand dark matter. We do know for sure that something funny is going on at large scales in the universe (“large” here meaning at least as big as galaxies). In short, the numbers just aren’t adding up. For example, when we look at a galaxy and…
It Took 10 Years to Validate the First World Ever Discovered by Kepler

It Took 10 Years to Validate the First World Ever Discovered...

Even though astronomy people are fond of touting the number of exoplanets found by the Kepler spacecraft, those planets aren’t actually confirmed. They’re more correctly called candidate exoplanets, because the signals that show something’s out there, orbiting a distant star, can be caused by something other than exoplanets. It can actually take a long time…
Sorry Hollywood, it’s Going to Take a Lot More to Ruin an Asteroid

Sorry Hollywood, it’s Going to Take a Lot More to Ruin...

It’s become something of an action movie cliche: an asteroid is hurling towards Earth, its impact will cause a mass extinction, and the only hope for humanity is a ragtag group of astronauts and average Joes who will fly to the asteroid and blow it to pieces using nukes. The idea has been explored so…
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