South Africa launches powerful new telescope

South Africa has unveiled the 64-dish MeerKAT radio telescope, slated to be the world’s largest and most powerful telescope on its completion in 2030. Built for $330 million, MeerKAT will be integrated into an array of 3,000 dishes. The telescope is being built by an international consortium, including Australia, Britain, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden and the Netherlands.

NASA puts Kepler space telescope to sleep

The Kepler Space Telescope, which is a famous planet-hunting telescope of NASA has been put to sleep since it is almost out of fuel. The telescope was launched by NASA in 2009 to learn more about the frequency and number of planets in our galaxy. Scientists have found many exoplanets with the help of this telescope, which is 94 million miles away from the Earth.

NASA’s Webb Telescope to study Great Red Spot

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will use infrared capabilities to study Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. The plan is to use Webb’s mid-infrared instrument (MIRI) to create multispectral maps of the Great Red Spot and analyse its thermal, chemical and cloud structures. The Great Red Spot is a storm has been monitored since 1830 and has existed for more than 350 years.

India’s 1st robotic telescope launched

The Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) at Hanle in Ladakh is Indian’s 1st robotic telescope & is the one of the world’s highest astronomical observatories at 4,500 m. It is a part of Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH) program along US, the UK, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Israel. The telescope is designed to observe dynamic events in the universe.

Over 100 exoplanets identified

Scientists have identified more than 100 giant planets outside our solar system that may potentially host moons capable of supporting life. The finding will guide the design of future telescopes that can detect these potential moons and look for tell-tale signs of life, called biosignatures, in their atmospheres. There are currently 175 known moons orbiting the 8 planets in our solar system,

Traces of water, metal found in exoplanet

Scientists have identified traces of of multiple metals, along with possible signs of water, in one of the least dense exoplanets ever found. The team used the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) to observe WASP-127b, a giant gaseous planet with partly clear skies and strong signatures of metals in its atmosphere. WASP-127b has a radius 1.4 times larger than Jupiter but has only 20% of its mass.

Rare, isolated neutron star discovered

NASA scientists have discovered a special kind of neutron star for the first time outside of the Milky Way galaxy. Neutron stars are the ultra dense cores of massive stars that collapse and undergo a supernova explosion. The newly identified neutron star was discovered using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

Fastest growing black hole discovered

Scientists have discovered the fastest-growing black hole known in the universe. The energy emitted from this newly discovered supermassive black hole, also known as a quasar, was mostly ultraviolet light but also radiated x-rays. The discovery of the new supermassive black hole was confirmed using the spectrograph on the ANU 2.3 metre telescope to split colours into spectral lines.

SpaceX launched NASA’s planet-hunting TESS

19 : NASA has blasted off its newest planet-hunting spacecraft ‘TESS’ that aims to scan 85% of the skies for cosmic bodies where life may exist.TESS is expected to reveal 20,000 planets beyond our solar system, including more than 50 Earth-sized planets & up to 500 planets less than twice the size of Earth. Tess will survey more cosmic terrain than its predecessor, Nasa’s Kepler Space Telescope.

Icarus, the farthest star ever seen

Scientists have detected the most distant star, Icarus, ever viewed, located more than halfway across the universe.The star was formally named MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star-1. Scientists used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to spot the star. The star is 9.3 billion lights years away from Earth and it is about twice as hot as our sun.