Interstellar visitor might be a comet rather than an asteroid

Recent interstellar visitor that pass by near Earth in a high speed hyperbolic trajectory was thought to be an asteroid due to analysis of its light curve. However, observations of its speed as it moved away from the Solar system suggested that it was speeding up, which might be attributed to outgassing of material from … More Interstellar visitor might be a comet rather than an asteroid

Interstellar asteroid took up residence in Jupiter’s orbit

Observations by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) telescope revealed that an interstellar asteroid has taken up residence in Jupiter’s orbit. Specifically, the asteroid’s orbit is in resonance with Jupiter and it orbits Jupiter in the retrograde direction.   Discovering the asteroid opens up vast opportunities for understanding solar system formation in … More Interstellar asteroid took up residence in Jupiter’s orbit

Large diameter telescopes without cooling systems tend to yield blurry images

Comparing large telescopes with small ones in the size range of 12 to 16 inch diameter, large telescopes tend to yield blurry images if they are without cooling systems for the lenses. Cold evening air tend to cool the lenses of telescopes, but in the case of large telescopes, the higher heat capacity of the … More Large diameter telescopes without cooling systems tend to yield blurry images

Large ground-based telescopes play important roles in the search for atmospheric biosignatures in exoplanets

The recent decommissioning of the Kepler space telescope brings to a close an era where the satellite played an important role in the detection of thousands of exoplanet candidates by the transit method. Out of fuel and thus not able to reliably point at a particular patch of sky, Kepler detected close to 3000 exoplanet … More Large ground-based telescopes play important roles in the search for atmospheric biosignatures in exoplanets

Detection of subsurface water lake near polar region of Mars

Using radar imaging, a large body of liquid water was discovered under 1.5 km of soil near the South polar region of Mars. This represents the first large body of liquid water discovered on Mars, and raises possibility of the existence of extant microbial life on Mars. Estimated at – 68 degree Celsius, the concentrated … More Detection of subsurface water lake near polar region of Mars

Large distances separate asteroids in the main asteroid belt

Although the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is usually depicted as a dense array of asteroids of varied sizes, the reality is that the closest asteroids in the main belt remains millions of kilometres apart. This meant that the density of asteroids in the main asteroid belt remain low such that spacecraft with … More Large distances separate asteroids in the main asteroid belt

Transit method for detecting exoplanet

By detecting a small dip in the intensity of starlight when a planet transits in front of the star, the transit method has been used in detecting exoplanets around stars. Specifically, both Earth-based and space telescopes had detected exoplanets using the transit method, but the method requires confirmation through repeated observations.   Planets orbit around … More Transit method for detecting exoplanet

Interstellar visitor to Earth’s neighbourhood

An elongated astronomical object of reddish hue recently visited Earth’s neighbourhood. Trajectory analysis of the astronomical object revealed that it originated from interstellar space and is not an asteroid or comet that orbits our Sun. The finding opens up the possibility of finding more interstellar astronomical objects that visit our Solar System by tuning into … More Interstellar visitor to Earth’s neighbourhood

Gravitational forces could not disintegrate a moon of a planet

Rings around planets are thought to be formed, in part, by the disintegration of small moons by the gravitational forces of the parent planet. However, this is unlikely to be the case as moons around a planet are compositionally different from asteroids or comets. In particular, moons are formed through a nucleation process where smaller … More Gravitational forces could not disintegrate a moon of a planet