Pluto’s Smaller Moons Spin Like Crazy Tops Pluto’s four…

Pluto’s Smaller Moons Spin Like Crazy Tops

Pluto’s four smaller moons: Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra, are each 20 to about 50 times smaller than the largest moon, Charon.

These smaller moons aren’t round like Charon, and unlike pretty much every other moon in the solar system, they are not in synchronous rotation with their host planet – they don’t always show one face to their host.

By: Coconut Science Lab.

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Pluto’s Smaller Moons Spin Like Crazy Tops Pluto’s four…

This Planetary Disk Looks Like a Flying Saucer The young star…

This Planetary Disk Looks Like a Flying Saucer

The young star 2MASS J16281370-2431391 is located in the spectacular Rho Ophiuchi star formation region, about 400 light-years from Earth.

This star is surrounded by a disk of gas and dust, known as a protoplanetary disk – an early stage in the creation of a planetary system.

The disk is seen nearly edge-on and its appearance in visible light pictures has led to its being nicknamed the “Flying Saucer.”

The final close-up infrared view of the Flying Saucer comes from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Credits: ESO, N. Risinger (skysurvey.org), S. Guisard (www.eso.org/~sguisard), Digitized Sky Survey 2, NASA, ESA

Music: Johan B. Monell (www.johanmonell.com)

By: Coconut Science Lab.

This Planetary Disk Looks Like a Flying Saucer The young star…

After Pluto, New Horizons Aims for Second Target The target…

After Pluto, New Horizons Aims for Second Target

The target object the New Horizons team has settled on is called 2014 MU 69.

Discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2014, this object may be made of the same building blocks that formed all the Kuiper Belt objects, including Pluto.

The spacecraft will fly by 2014 MU 69 on January 1, 2019 – though this extended mission is still pending approval by NASA.

By: Coconut Science Lab.

After Pluto, New Horizons Aims for Second Target The target…

What Do Gravitational Waves Look Like? ESA LISA Pathfinder…

What Do Gravitational Waves Look Like?

ESA LISA Pathfinder Project Scientist Paul McNamara explains gravitational waves.

The LISA Pathfinder spacecraft was launched on December 3, 2015 on a Vega rocket from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana; on its way to demonstrate technology for observing gravitational waves from space.

At its core is a pair of identical 46 mm gold–platinum cubes separated by 38 cm, which will be isolated from all external and internal forces acting on them except one: gravity.

By: Coconut Science Lab.

What Do Gravitational Waves Look Like? ESA LISA Pathfinder…

Best Close-up Views of Pluto’s Rugged Surface These are…

Best Close-up Views of Pluto’s Rugged Surface

These are the sharpest views of Pluto that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft obtained during its flyby on July 14, 2015.

They are part of a sequence of images taken near New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto, with resolutions of about 250-280 feet (77-85 meters) per pixel – revealing features smaller than half a city block on Pluto’s diverse surface.

By: Coconut Science Lab.

Best Close-up Views of Pluto’s Rugged Surface These are…

Zooming in on Massive Hypergiant Star VY Canis Majoris a…

Zooming in on Massive Hypergiant Star VY Canis Majoris

a close-up look at one of the biggest stars in the Milky Way, VY Canis Majoris. The final image comes from the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

VY Canis Majoris is a stellar goliath, a red hypergiant, one of the largest known stars in the Milky Way. It is 30–40 times the mass of the Sun and 300,000 times more luminous. In its current state, the star would encompass the orbit of Jupiter, having expanded tremendously as it enters the final stages of its life.

The new observations of the star using SPHERE clearly revealed how the brilliant light of VY Canis Majoris was lighting up clouds of dusty material surrounding it.

Careful analysis revealed these grains of dust to be comparatively large particles, 0.5 micrometers across, which may seem small, but grains of this size are about 50 times larger than the dust normally found in interstellar space.

Throughout their expansion, massive stars shed large amounts of material – every year, VY Canis Majoris sees 30 times the mass of the Earth expelled from its surface in the form of dust and gas.

This cloud of material is pushed outwards before the star explodes, at which point some of the dust is destroyed, and the rest cast out into interstellar space.

This material is then used, along with the heavier elements created during the supernova explosion, by the next generation of stars, which may make use of the material for planets.

Until now, it had remained mysterious how the material in these giant stars’ upper atmospheres is pushed away into space before the host explodes. The most likely driver has always seemed to be radiation pressure, the force that starlight exerts. As this pressure is very weak, the process relies on large grains of dust, to ensure a broad enough surface area to have an appreciable effect.

By: Coconut Science Lab.

Zooming in on Massive Hypergiant Star VY Canis Majoris a…