On our way to eternal darkness

2011-10-12 20:39:49
SupernovaLast week, on October 4th, the winners of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics were announced. This year, the prize has been awarded to three astrophysicists who were independently responsible for probably one of the most bizarre discoveries in the field of astrophysics: the ever-expanding universe.
 
 
 

Are we finally going to Mars?

2011-09-28 23:15:33
marsEver since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the Moon in July 1969, the main question has been which object was going to be the next target. Was there any other celestial body that could be reached by humanity? Virtually everything seemed possible during the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union that led to the Moon landing in the 1960s, as it proved that even the sky wasn’t the limit. It shows a harsh contrast with the present day, more than forty years later. While the global powers are perhaps on more peaceful terms currently than they were during the Cold War, their space programmes have lost priority due to concerns about the economy, durability and climate. And the Moon is still the farthest we have gotten.
 
 
 

Science fiction becomes reality

2011-09-20 19:52:12
In the famous Star Wars movies, Luke Skywalker was born on the planet Tatooine. The remarkable thing about this dessert-planet was that it circled around two stars, i.e. it had two Suns. Ever since the run on exoplanets, planets orbiting a star other than our Sun, had commenced astronomers speculated about discovering such a Tatooine-like planet. A recent discovery shows that science fiction has indeed become reality.
 
 
 

New light on the evolution of galaxies

2011-09-15 19:43:25
When astronomers look in our 'local' galactic neighborhood -only a billion light-years away or so- it seems that star formation is only vigorously taking place in galaxies that are colliding or have just collided. From such observations astronomers assumed that this must have been the case throughout the whole history of the universe. However, now it appears as if they were wrong. The European Space Agency (ESA)'s Herschel Telescope has revealed that in the early universe another mechanism was responsible for triggering high star formation rates.
 
 
 

New load of exoplanets announced

2011-09-13 18:27:26
Only 16 years ago, Michel Mayor discovered the first planet orbiting a star other than our Sun. Now, the amount of observed exoplanets seems to be ever increasing. One of the telescopes responsible for this increase is the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) telescope. HARPS observed over 150 new planets and recently a there was an announcement of another 50 new exoplanets including 16 super-Earths -planets less than 10 times the mass of the Earth. This was the largest number of observed exoplanets announced at one time.
 
 
 

Milky Way filled with ticking time bombs

2011-09-09 17:43:29
One of the biggest explosions known in the universe is a supernova explosion. Often supernova explosions mark the end of a massive (over ten times the mass of the Sun) star's life. However, in one case, the so-called type Ia supernovae, the formation process is not quite understood. This is very unfortunate, since type Ia supernova are very important in measuring distances in the universe. Recently, a new suggestion was made, stating that it is a ticking time bomb that could cause the explosion.
 
 
 

Impossible star discovered

2011-09-05 18:09:11
An astronomical theory can never be kept as always true, since there may always be a case in which the theory proves wrong. A new observation can confirm the theory but it can never prove that there might be another not yet observed phenomena that disagrees with theory. If a disagreeing observation occurs, the theory has to be discarded or at least rewritten to explain the new phenomena. This latter is what should happen to the theory of star formation after the discovery of a star that should not exist according to that theory.
 
 
 

Milky Way's fuel reservoir discovered

2011-08-31 17:22:41
Like many other galaxies, also our Milky Way is currently forming new stars. However, at the rate that this is taking place, the Milky Way would ran out of fuel in a very short time. There has to be some fuel reservoir, not yet observed, that is being used to keep the Milky Way's star formation rate at its current pace. Recently, astronomers have discovered this reservoir in the outskirts of the Milky Way.
 
 
 

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What is Project Collision?

A blog on the Universe, its secrets, and our place among the stars. You can read the blog posts on new, exciting discoveries, or play the iPhone app Collision - Travel to the Moon. If you'd like to propose a blog topic, feel free to contact me using the contact form at the bottom of the screen!

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