What is a super-Earth in exoplanet research?

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?

Reusing the first stage of a commercial rocket: Economic cost of retrofitting a used rocket

Rockets for satellite launches remain the most important cost item of the launch process of any commercial satellite project, given the single use nature of the rocket. Thus, commercial space launch companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin have endeavoured to develop reusable rocket systems for reducing the cost of commercial satellite launches, and helping … More Reusing the first stage of a commercial rocket: Economic cost of retrofitting a used rocket

Gaining spatial resolution by arranging radio telescopes in interferometric arrays

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

Observatories with large reflector telescopes are usually located at high elevations with low relative humidity and away from light pollution

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

Global network of standardized telescopes for time domain astronomy

Feature article in Science, Vol. 356, Issue 6337, pp. 476-479, “A global robotic telescope network helps astronomers keep up with the fast-changing sky”   Summary of article: Using standardized telescopes of diameter between 2 meter and 40 centimeters, a global network of automated telescopes lend clarity to distant stars, galaxies and even exoplanets through the … More Global network of standardized telescopes for time domain astronomy

Determining the expansion of the Universe through the Hubble constant

Feature article in Science, Vol. 355, Issue 6329, pp. 1010-1014, “Hubble Trouble” Summary of article: Observations of distant stars and galaxies highlighted to astronomers that the universe is expanding through possibly the repulsive effect of dark energy; however, the rate of expansion of the universe as measured by the Hubble constant is still under heavy … More Determining the expansion of the Universe through the Hubble constant

Our moon is bigger in size to Pluto, but it is not a planet. What defines a planet?

Our moon’s diameter is 3476 km (Link), which is larger than that of Pluto, which stands at 2370 km (Link). Hence, can our moon be a planet? Answer is yes, if our moon orbits in a circular or slightly elliptical orbit around a star. It is our moon because it orbits around our planet, Earth. … More Our moon is bigger in size to Pluto, but it is not a planet. What defines a planet?