Aliens ruled out for why Tabby’s star flickers

The first observations of Tabby’s star flickering in real time have put the last nails in the “it’s-an-alien-megastructure” coffin. The star’s most recent winks show that the dimming is from small dust particles surrounding it, a team of more than 200 scientists and amateur astronomers reports in a paper posted at arXiv.org January 3. The oddball star, … Continue reading Aliens ruled out for why Tabby’s star flickers

Jupiter’s massive Great Red Spot is at least 350 kilometers deep

NEW ORLEANS — Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has deep roots. Data from the first pass of NASA’s Juno spacecraft over the incessant storm show that its clouds stretch at least 350 kilometers down into the planet’s atmosphere. That means the storm is about as deep as the International Space Station is high above the Earth. … Continue reading Jupiter’s massive Great Red Spot is at least 350 kilometers deep

New Horizons’ next target might have a moon

NEW ORLEANS — The New Horizons team may get more than it bargained for with its next target. Currently known as 2014 MU69, the object might, in fact, be two rocks orbiting each other — and those rocks may themselves host a small moon. MU69 orbits the sun in the Kuiper Belt, a region more … Continue reading New Horizons’ next target might have a moon

Two Super-Earths around red dwarf K2-18

  New research using data collected by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has revealed that a little-known exoplanet called K2-18b could well be a scaled-up version of Earth. Just as exciting, the same researchers also discovered for the first time that the planet has a neighbor. "Being able to measure the mass and density of … Continue reading Two Super-Earths around red dwarf K2-18

NASA approves use of previously-flown booster on next Dragon mission

WASHINGTON — NASA officials said Nov. 29 that they have given their approval, as expected, to SpaceX’s use of a previously-flown Falcon 9 first stage on the next Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station. Speaking at a meeting of the human exploration and operations committee of the NASA Advisory Council at the Kennedy … Continue reading NASA approves use of previously-flown booster on next Dragon mission