Category: Space

The Discovery of Gleis 486b and Why It Matters In The Search For Life, Habitability, and Understanding In Space

Valene M., journalist

Last week on March 4th, astronomers at the CARMENES consortium announced the discovery of the exoplanet Gleis 486b, a rocky and sweltering super-Earth. It closely orbits the red dwarf star Gleis 486 at 24 light-years from Earth, making it relatively close in the grand scheme of space. Although it is 30% larger than Earth and boasts about 2.8 times more mass, it is assumed to be relatively similar to familiar rocky planets like Earth and Venus in its makeup. It is even believed to have a metallic core. In fact, with a projected surface temperature of 430 degrees Celsius, Gleis 486b bears a notable resemblance to the searing Venus, albeit with a thin and insubstantial atmosphere. 

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Satellite Mega-Constellations, Hampered Science, and a Cluttered Orbit

Valene McInerney, journalist

Long ago, people would look to the night sky and observe only natural celestial bodies. Artificial lights did not blot and blur their sights, and human-made satellites did not crowd their horizons. Both of these phenomena factor into modern astronomy, but it has only been in the past 19 months that satellites have become a threat to astronomical observation. With the recent surge in satellite launches and the construction of satellite mega-constellations, hobbyists and professional astronomers alike are witnessing what can be a dangerous disruption and distortion of their cosmic viewing. 

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