Welcome to the second review of "Space and Astronomy" news, selected for you by Insane Curiosity Channel. The news, which will be weekly, will try to provide a quick overview of everything interesting happened in recent days in the field of astronomical research and space exploration.
1 | It was the brightest supernova in nearly 400 years when it lit the skies of the southern hemisphere in February 1987. Supernova 1987A – the explosi of a blue supergiant star in the nearby mini-galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud – amazed the astronomical community. It offered them an unprecedented opportunity to observe an exploding star in real-time with modern instruments and telescopes.
But something was missing. After the supernova faded, astronomers expected to find a neutron star (a hyper-dense, collapsed stellar core, made largely of neutrons) left-over at the heart of the explosio. They saw nothing.
2 | Good news, don't you think? With the discovery of the "missing pulsar," we are perhaps about to solve one of the most exciting mysteries of the last decades. But also the one I am about to propose is not bad. Apparently, the time has come to forget forever the old story that wanted Phobos and Deimos to be two asteroids captured from the red planet... Listen up!
Ever since they were discovered in 1877, the moons of Mars - Phobos and Deimos - have raised many questions, some of which remain open to this day. Of these two objects, in fact, surprise among other things the small size (just 22 kilometers in diameter for Phobos, about 15 for Deimos) and irregular shape.
3 | We have not done in time to give news of a study according to which it was the fall of a comet fragment to give the end the dinosaurs of the cretaceous, that immediately is published another one that instead confirms, with new evidences, that it was surely an asteroid to make the misdeed! And with this excluding once for all also the theory of volcanic eruptions.
In short, we come back, and this time in a definitive way, to the most credited hypothesis since the '80s, when scientists found, everywhere in the world, traces of iridium in the same geological layer where dinosaur fossils were found.
4 | A bit like that of Venus, Titan's surface is also undetectable from outer space. In this case, Saturn's large moon appears to be permanently immersed in a thick fog of nitrogen gas, but below the clouds, the landscape looks similar to Earth, with mountains, continents, islands, rivers, lakes and seas in a liquid state.
But similar does not mean "equal"...
Titan is in fact a hostile and cold world. Its distance from the Sun is about ten times that of the Earth and its surface temperatures are around -180 degrees Celsius. Even the hydrological cycle on Titan works in a way "similar" to that of our Earth, but also in this case with a not insignificant difference: instead of water, Saturn's moon hosts liquid methane and ethane. So much so that its surface appears dotted with hundreds of lakes and seas of hydrocarbons.
The largest of these seas, the Kraken Mare is as large as our Caspian Sea (450 thousand square kilometers) and contains about 80 percent of the surface liquids of the satellite. Well, in the course of a new study, scientists have managed to estimate the depth, finding that in some places comes up to over 300 meters.