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

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

Current transit methods could only confirm exoplanets of short duration orbit around the host star

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

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