All About Space

All About Space

No. 101

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.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
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The star of the month this issue – and let's be honest, it has been for the past few weeks – is red supergiant Betelgeuse. If you've been following the latest on the swollen member of the constellation Orion or have even observed it yourself, then you'll know that its weird dimming and brightening over a long period of time has got astronomers talking. So why the fuss? It's taken over 150 years of observations for something notable to happen, earmarking it as the next supernova candidate. Understandably, astronomers – whether they're professional or amateur – are waiting for the inevitable to happen, and while they're hoping for the sky to be lit up by the equivalent of 10,000 Suns, they reveal to All About Space the real reason behind the…

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our contributors include…

James Romero Space science writer Is Betelgeuse going to be our next supernova? Join James as he uncovers what its recent unusual behaviour means for the supergiant star's future. David Rothery Planetary scientist David provides the lowdown on mission to Mercury BepiColombo and what the surface tells us about the pint-sized planet's early history. Andrew May Science writer What's new at the Solar System's swiftest planet? Andrew uncovers the latest discoveries at Mercury – we guarantee you'll find out something new. Ben Skuse Space science writer What happened to the world's animal astronauts? From space dogs to water bears, each and every one of these creatures has contributed to science.…

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launch pad

Our Sun, as you’ve never seen it before The world’s largest solar telescope is still in the process of having its full instrumental suite assembled, but the first piece of aparatus that was set up has shown the world a glimpse of its incredible power. The National Solar Observatory’s four-metre (13-foot) Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope has revealed to the world the most detailed image of the Sun’s surface to date. This telescope, which sits on the summit of Haleakalā, Hawaii, as part of Haleakalā Observatory, will continue to revolutionise the investigation of our nearest star, and this is just the start of what they hope will be a 50-year investigation. To put this image into perspective, each cell-like structure is a similar size to the state of Texas. Hubble spots a surreal…

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photons could uncover ‘massive gravity’, brand new theory suggests

Gravitational waves, ripples in space-time, slip through Earth all the time, carrying secrets about the universe. Until a few years ago we couldn’t detect these at all, and even now we have only a basic ability to detect the stretching and squeezing of the cosmos. A proposed new gravitational-wave hunter, which would measure how particles of light and gravity interact, could change that. In the process it could answer big questions about dark energy and the universe’s expansion. The detectors on Earth today, called the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo, operate according to the same principle: as a gravitational wave moves through the Earth, it faintly stretches and squeezes space-time. By measuring how long a laser light takes to travel over long distances, the detectors notice when the size…

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‘flammable ice’ could be key in discovering alien life

Flammable ice, also known as methane hydrate, is created when methane gas is trapped within ice’s molecular structure. Sheets of this frozen gas and ice contain microscopic bubbles of oil and water. Scientists studying ‘flammable ice’ in the Sea of Japan found microscopic, living creatures within these tiny bubbles. The researchers chanced upon this discovery in a unique manner. While melting hydrate to study the methane gas it contains, Glen T. Snyder, a researcher at Meiji University, noticed a powder with little microscopic spheroids in it that contained tiny spheres with dark centres in them. “In combination with the other evidence collected by my colleagues, my results showed that even under near-freezing temperatures, at extremely high pressures, with only heavy oil and saltwater for food sources, life was flourishing and leaving its…

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a single grain of apollo moon dust opens up a world of lunar science

A team of scientists set out to find a way to analyse Moon dust based on only a single grain of the material. The researchers reported their results in a new study that analyses a single grain of Moon dust gathered in 1972 by astronauts on the Apollo 17 mission. “We’re analysing rocks from space, atom by atom,” revealed Jennika Greer, a doctoral student in geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago. “It’s the first time a lunar sample has been studied like this. We’re using a technique many geologists haven’t even heard of.” “We can apply this technique to samples no one has studied,” Philipp Heck, a curator at the Field Museum, said. “You’re almost guaranteed to find something new or unexpected. This technique has such high sensitivity and resolution,…