Last Week’s Space & Science Headlines –“Strange Dark-Matter Objects to Vast Cosmic Void”

ESO Observatories



“850 Alien Planets & Unknown Objects” –NASA’s TESS Expedition Ends Year One



What’s buried in the data? “The team is currently focused on finding the best candidates to confirm by ground-based follow-up,” said Natalia Guerrero, who manages the team in charge of identifying exoplanet candidates at MIT. “But there are many more potential exoplanet candidates in the data yet to be analyzed, so we’re really just seeing the tip of the iceberg here. TESS has only scratched the surface.”


“Extremely Extreme Life” –Planets Orbiting Milky Way’s Pulsars & Supermassive Black Hole

Pulsar Crab Nebula


We have known since the 1990s that planets exist around pulsars, says Harvard’s chief astronomer, Avi Loeb, which are extraordinarily dense objects born out of the violent explosions of stars. It’s reasonable to assume that planets might also exist around black holes, which, perhaps surprisingly, have a much weaker impact on their environment than pulsars.


Milky Way Center’s Light from 26,000 Years Ago –“Reconfirms Einstein’s General Relativity”

star S0-2


“We’re so excited, and have been preparing for years to make these measurements,” said Andrea Ghez, who directs the UCLA Galactic Center Group. “For us, it’s visceral, it’s now—but it actually happened 26,000 years ago!” said Andrea Ghez, who directs the UCLA Galactic Center Group about photons from a star known as S0-2 that makes a complete orbit in three dimensions around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way confirming Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The full orbit takes 16 years; the black hole’s mass is about four million times that of the sun.


“Game Changer” –‘Micro’ Supermassive Black Hole 5,000 Times Size of Our Solar System



This image of microquasar SS 433, first discovered forty years ago, located about 18 000 light-years away in the constellation of Aquila (The Eagle), was captured for the very first time at submillimeter wavelengths by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The image is a game changer because it shows the jets emitted by a hot, swirling disc of material encircling the supermassive black hole at SS 433’s center –these jets have been seen to move at apparent speeds greater than that of light .


Alien Civilizations –“May Create Detectable Black-Hole Particle Accelerators”

Cosmic Particle Accelerator


“The nightmare of particle physics is the dream of astronomers searching for extraterrestrials,” says astrophysicist Brian Lacki, at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, who proposes that advanced civilizations may want to build a black-hole-powered particle accelerator to study physics.



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