All posts by Zand Space

Proxima B: The Pale Red Dot

The Pale Red Dot campaign was launched to find a planet orbiting our nearest stellar neighbour, Proxima Centauri. Incredibly, the quest succeeded and astronomers detected a planet. The planet, Proxima b, falls within the habitable zone of its host star. It is by far the closest potential abode for alien life.

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A High Energy Revelation

Measurements of unprecedented detail returned by Japan’s Hitomi satellite have allowed scientists to track the motion of X-ray-emitting gas at the heart of the Perseus cluster of galaxies for the first time. Located about 240 million light-years away and named for its host constellation, the Perseus galaxy cluster contains a vast amount of extremely hot gas.

At temperatures averaging 90 million degrees Fahrenheit (50 million degrees Celsius), the gas glows brightly in X-rays. Prior to Hitomi’s launch, astronomers lacked the capability to measure the detailed dynamics of this gas, particularly its relationship to bubbles of gas expelled by an active supermassive black hole in the cluster’s core galaxy, NGC 1275.

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Neptune Through the Eyes of Kepler

In late 2014 and early 2015, NASA’s Kepler telescope observed the eighth planet in our solar system, Neptune. Kepler detected Neptune’s daily rotation, the movement of clouds, and even minute changes in the sun’s brightness, paving the way for future studies of weather and climate beyond our solar system.

Video from NASA.

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Mars’ Atmospheric Erosion

Scientists have long suspected the solar wind of stripping the Martian upper atmosphere into space, turning Mars from a blue world to a red one. Now, NASA’s MAVEN orbiter is observing this process in action, providing significant data on solar wind erosion at Mars.

Video from NASA

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