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Science
All About Space

All About Space

No. 112

Every issue All About Space delivers fascinating articles and features on all aspects of space and space travel with mind-blowing photography and full-colour illustrations that bring the amazing universe around us to life.

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Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Future Publishing Ltd
Frequency:
Monthly
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13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
welcome

This month All About Space returns to the concept of dark matter, hailed as the most mysterious substance in the universe next to dark energy. There’s a plethora of questions astrophysicists are posing and working to solve in order to get closer to understanding it once and for all. What (we think!) we know about dark matter is how much comprises the cosmos and how it behaves. What we’re still trying to figure out is what it’s made of and where it actually came from. This issue, you’ll discover that a team of astronomers at the University of Houston, Texas, and the University of Melbourne, Australia, has an idea in mind – it could have been forged by ballooning cosmic bubbles, which led to its abundance in the universe. The team reasons…

2 min.
launch pad your first contact with the universe

A split sky The Moon, Saturn and Mercury are all captured in this image, but can you identify where they are? The dusty area at the top of the frame is the Milky Way, which looks as if it cuts the sky in two horizontally. There you can identify the Lagoon Nebula, Cat’s Paw Nebula and Trifid Nebula. But where are those celestial bodies? In the centre is a bright object - it’s not the Sun, but the Moon reflecting our star’s light. Saturn is positioned slightly to the upper right and Mercury is to the lower left. As for the objects on the ground, these are the telescopes making up the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. NASA’s Moon shot The International Space Station (ISS) has allowed…

2 min.
china’s chang’e 5 lands on the moon, collects first lunar sample

China has landed on the Moon again, and this time the country plans to bring home some souvenirs. Chang’e 5, China’s first sample-return mission, successfully touched down on 1 December near Mons Rümker, a lunar mountain located in the Ocean of Storms, or Oceanus Procellarum. The probe deployed its solar array and antenna soon after to begin its work. Two pieces of the four-module Chang’e 5 mission hit the grey dirt after descent - a stationary lander and an ascent vehicle. If all goes according to plan, the lander will spend the next few days collecting about two kilograms of lunar material, some of it dug from up to two metres (6.5 feet) beneath the lunar surface. The sample will then be transferred to the ascent vehicle, which will launch to lunar…

1 min.
newfound ‘kraken merger’ may have been the biggest collision in milky way history

The Milky Way has more than 100 billion stars, but it didn’t come by them all honestly. At least a dozen times over the last 12 billion years, the Milky Way collided with a neighbouring galaxy and devoured it, swallowing up that neighbour’s stars and mixing them into an ever-growing stew of pilfered suns. With each galactic merger, the shape, size and motion of our galaxy changed forever, ultimately becoming the iconic spiral we recognise today. Now researchers have attempted to unwind that spiral. Using artificial intelligence (AI) to match distinct clusters of stars by their ages, motions and chemical compositions, the team found evidence of five large- scale galactic mergers - each involving 100 million stars or more - dating back more than 10 billion years - including one ancient collision…

1 min.
arecibo radio telescope hanging platform collapses

After two cable failures in the span of four months, Puerto Rico’s most venerable astronomy facility, the Arecibo radio telescope, has collapsed in an uncontrolled structural failure. The United States’ National Science Foundation (NSF), which owns the site, decided in November to proceed with decommissioning the telescope in response to the damage, which engineers deemed too severe to stabilise without risking lives. But the NSF needed time to come up with a plan for how to safely demolish the telescope in a controlled manner. Instead, gravity did the job on the morning of 1 December, at about 08:00 local time, according to reports from the area. “NSF is saddened by this development,” the agency wrote on Twitter. “As we move forward, we will be looking for ways to assist the scientific…

1 min.
faint ‘super-planet’ found by radio for the first time

Scientists have discovered a cold, faint ‘super-planet’ that has remained elusive to traditional infrared survey methods. Observations from the Low- Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio telescope revealed a brown dwarf, designated BDR J1750+3809 and nicknamed Elegast. Brown dwarfs are sometimes referred to as failed stars or super-planets because they are too small to be considered stars, yet too big to be considered planets. Generally, brown dwarfs are discovered by infrared sky surveys. Elegast, however, represents the first substellar object to be detected using a radio telescope, according to a statement from the University of Hawai’i. Since brown dwarfs are too small to become stars, they don’t undergo the same nuclear fusion reactions that fuel bright stars, like our Sun. Therefore they are smaller, dimmer and colder than normal stars, making them harder…