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
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
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
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
Confirmation of an exoplanet require observations of three transits of the exoplanet around the host star. Thus, given the relative short operating span of current space telescopes used in detecting exoplanets, only exoplanets with short duration orbit around host stars are confirmed as exoplanets, while others remain as candidate exoplanets. However, with sufficient observation time, … More Current transit methods could only confirm exoplanets of short duration orbit around the host star
Super Earth refers to planets with a rocky core that has a radius of between 1.5 to 2 of that of Earth. They represent a class of exoplanets of significant scientific interest given the possibility of Earth-like habitability with respect to life, and is a target for observation by both space-based and Earth-based observatories. Thus … More What is a super-Earth in exoplanet research?
Interferometry is the way to go in modern radio astronomy. Why? By arranging multiple small radio telescopes in interferometric arrays, spatial resolution of the entire array of smaller dishes is higher than that of a single radio dish of larger diameter. More importantly, design of interferometric arrays is critical to improving reception of distant … More Gaining spatial resolution by arranging radio telescopes in interferometric arrays
Many observatories are available in the world, but many of them are situated in areas of low elevations and with significant light pollution. These observatories typically could be used for observing planets in our Solar System and bright stars in the Milky Way. To perform cutting edge research into cosmology, planetary science and astrophysics, … More Observatories with large reflector telescopes are usually located at high elevations with low relative humidity and away from light pollution
Various theories have been put forward for the formation of our Solar System. The most plausible of which concerns the accretion and nucleation of the rocky cores of various planets from a proto-planetary disk surrounding the sun when it was young. Specifically, early in its development, the Sun is surrounding by a cloud of … More Solar system formation theory
Between Mars and Jupiter lies a disk of asteroids, which is purported to be remnants of a planet shred apart by the gravitational pull of Jupiter. Personally, I do not think that is the case. Specifically, it is hard to conceive that a rocky planet between Mars and Jupiter could be shred apart by … More Could the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter be the remnants of a planet?