NASA discovers seven exoplanets around dwarf star TRAPPIST-1

In a much-anticipated news conference held on Wednesday, NASA announced the discovery of seven planetary bodies in the TRAPPIST- 1 system. TRAPPIST-1 is a small, faint star found in the Aquarius constellation, situated approximately 40 light years away from us! In itself not terribly exciting – we discover news stars all the time – but it […]

From Europe to Europa – in search of life

From the earliest astronomers to the space race of the late 21st century, space exploration has always had one question in mind: is there life elsewhere in the universe? Although numerous exoplanets (planets located outside of our solar systems) offer habitable zones, scientists at ESA and NASA are looking a bit closer to home. Europa, […]

Water on Mars – what is the significance?

Yesterday (28th September 2015), Jim Green, the director of planetary science, confirmed that “under certain circumstances, liquid water has been found on Mars”. But what does this mean in terms of science, the habitability of Mars, and humanity’s future with the red planet? What did NASA find? Firstly, let’s discuss what NASA has found on […]

Mars – a Mystery Solved?

Last Thursday (24th September), NASA posted on their website that they would be announcing a major breakthrough in its exploration of Mars at a news press conference at its headquarters in Washington later today (28th September 2015). The conference will be attended by leading figures including Jim Green, director of planetary science and Michael Meyer, […]

July 2015 – Pluto and the New Horizons Spacecraft

Heavens Above! Heavens Above! is the astronomy section of the Sci@StAnd website, updated each month to highlight a particular phenomenon in this month’s night sky. Last month, we showcased the the great observatories of space. This month, we will discuss the flyby of the planet pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft. The Realm of Pluto […]

NASA’s Curiosity Rover finds new evidence for Liquid Water on Mars

The Curiosity Rover, which has now been situated on the red planet since 2012, has found new evidence that suggests liquid water could exist on Mars. [1] Whilst liquid water has not be identified on Mars, new calculations based on weather and soil conditions, including the presence of Perchlorate salts, suggest that liquid brine (highly […]

Breaking News: NASA Antares Rocket Explodes on Takeoff

Last night, on the 28th October 2014 at 22:22 UTC, the latest NASA Antares rocket exploded on takeoff from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Being described as a ‘catastrophic anomaly’ by NASA, the cause of the failure is not yet known. It was an unmanned mission and reports indicate there were no casualties despite […]

The First of Four Blood Moons…

  As many of you may know, early on Tuesday morning, stargazers in America and the Pacific were blessed with a rare celestial event – a blood moon, or total lunar eclipse. The first of a lunar tetrad – four consecutive total lunar eclipses, each separated by six lunar months. The next are due to […]

February 2014 – Orion and the Birth of Stars

Heavens Above! Heavens Above! is the astronomy section of the Sci@StAnd website, updated each month to bring you a different constellation of focus. Last month, we focused on the constellation of Gemini and the planet Jupiter. This time, we focus on the constellation of Orion and its association with the birth of stars. Constellation IX […]

What on Earth happened to Comet ISON?

As astronomy enthusiasts and regular readers of Sci@StAnd will know, Thursday 28th November was a dramatic day for anyone interested in astronomy and solar physics (see our article ‘The Ineffable ISON’ for our commentary at the time). The comet ISON, tipped to become the ‘comet of the century’, made its closest approach to the Sun, […]

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