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All About Space No. 116

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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United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
R 57,76
R 477,54
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min

This month we delve deep into an incident that occurred on a ranch in Lincoln County, New Mexico, in 1947 – an event that is a mix of rumours, speculation and claims of debris from a spaceship and alien bodies: the Roswell UFO incident. Over the past 40 or so years, new claims and fresh leads suggest that what happened that summer wasn’t of terrestrial origin. “I found all this stuff, and I was told to keep my mouth shut,” said Major Jesse A. Marcel, who was sent to survey the crash site. “I held on to this premium for 32 years without saying anything at all. See, I was an intelligence officer. I handled intelligence and security for the base. I still hold an allegiance to my country, the vow…

3 min
launch pad

22 MARCH 2021 Frosty Martian sand dunes High atop the northern plains of Mars is a field of frosty sand dunes. Here the dunes are nestled in a crater five kilometres (three miles) wide and appear to be clambering up the crater slope, with narrow furrows evident on the larger dunes. The darker toned patterns peppered across the image are thought to be caused by seasonal frost processes, while the striped textures on the crater floor, seen in the upper right-hand corner, are caused by seasonal thaw driven by sublimating ice. This striking image was captured by NASA’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE). 22 MARCH 2021 A peculiar galaxy NGC 7678 is a dazzling spiral galaxy that lies approximately 164 million light years away in the constellation of Pegasus (the Winged Horse). It was…

2 min
a supermassive black hole is speeding through space, and astronomers don’t know why

YOUR FIRST CONTACT WITH THE UNIVERSE A supermassive black hole is racing across the universe at 177,000 kilometres (110,000 miles) per hour, and the astronomers who spotted it don’t know why. The fast-moving black hole, which is roughly 3 million times heavier than our Sun, is zipping through the centre of a galaxy about 230 million light years away. Scientists have long theorised that black holes could move, but such movement is rare because their giant mass requires an equally enormous force to get them going. “We don’t expect the majority of supermassive black holes to be moving; they’re usually content to just sit around,” said Dominic Pesce, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. To begin their search for this infrequent cosmic occurrence, researchers compared the velocities of ten supermassive black…

1 min
mars is leaking water into space during dust storms and warmer seasons

Water is leaking from Mars’ atmosphere through changing seasons and swirling Martian storms. There is water on Mars, but it seems to only exist either in ice caps at the planet’s poles or as gas in the thin atmosphere. Water has been escaping the planet for billions of years since Mars lost its magnetic field – and subsequently much of its air and water. Researchers using data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars orbiter and Mars Express orbiter are investigating the escape rate of Mars’ water. They’ve found that when Mars and the Sun are farther apart, the cold makes the water vapour at a certain altitude in Mars’ atmosphere freeze out, but as the planet gets closer and warmer, that water can circulate farther. As vapour can travel…

1 min
astronomers find most distant quasar shooting powerful radio jets

A quasar from the early universe is the most distant found to date that’s shooting out powerful radio jets. Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) recently discovered the quasar, called P172+18, which is so far away that it takes about 13 billion years for the light from this quasar to reach Earth, where we observe the object as it was when the universe was just 780 million years old. While the new find is not the most distant quasar ever detected, it appears to be the most distant radio- loud quasar, or radio jet-emitting quasar. This quasar was first identified as a radio source when scientists using the Magellan Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile detected these powerful jets. “As soon as we got the…

1 min
jupiter’s great red spot may survive by gobbling up smaller storms

YOUR FIRST CONTACT WITH THE UNIVERSE The most famous storm in the Solar System is an apex predator. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS) feasted on numerous smaller storms that wandered into its neighbourhood recently, possibly even gaining sustenance from these meals. Astronomers have been observing the Great Red Spot continuously since the late 19th century. The storm has shrunk considerably during that stretch, going from 40,000 kilometres (25,000 miles) wide in the 1870s to about 16,000 kilometres (10,000 miles) wide today. Astronomers aren’t sure why the GRS is getting smaller. Some have speculated that collisions with smaller storms, which have increased in recent years, may play a role. Scientists have studied images of the GRS captured between 2018 and 2020 by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, the space agency’s Jupiter-orbiting Juno spacecraft and…