Stories in Episode 6...
Biggest known black hole discovered
Astronomers have confirmed what could be the most massive black hole ever detected – a monster 21 billion times the mas of our Sun -- at the heart of a placid looking galaxy 300 million light years away. The record breaking supermassive black hole at the centre of the elliptical galaxy NGC 4889 in the Coma cluster, was detected in new images by the Hubble Space telescope.
Five-dimensional black hole could 'break' general relativity
Researchers have shown how a bizarrely shaped black hole could cause Einstein's general theory of relativity, a foundation of modern physics, to break down. However, the research also shows such an object could only exist in a universe with five or more dimensions.
Pluto's surface is only ten million years old
A new study claims Pluto's heart shaped Sputnik Planum region is only ten million years old -- far younger than the rest of the distant Kuiper Belt dwarf planet. The findings are based on a study of the number of impact craters detected on the frozen surface of Pluto by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.
Immense gas cloud to collide with the Milky Way Galaxy
An immense gas cloud over 11 thousand light years wide is expected to slam into the Milky Way galaxy at over a million kilometres an hour. The cosmic collision which is expected to happen in about 30 million years from now, will spark a flurry of starburst triggering the formation of millions of new stars.
Climate change showing Earth’s rotation
A new study has confirmed that climate change caused by human activity such as burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels has both slowed Earth's rotation and caused a migration of the planet’s spin axis. A report in the journal Science Advances found the melting of glaciers caused by the world's rising temperatures has resulted in Earth's rotation slowing by about a thousandth of a second during the past century and the planet's rotational axis has been migrating at a rate of almost a centimetre per year.
The aliens are silent because they’re dead
A new study claims life on other planets would likely be brief and become extinct very quickly. The findings reported in the journal Astrobiology provide a possible explanation for what’s become known as the Fermi paradox – if the universe is full of alien life as often postulated why haven’t we found it yet?
Third Sentinel satellite launched for Copernicus
The European Space Agency has launched the third Sentinel Earth-observation satellite for Europe’s Copernicus environment programme. Sentinel-3A carries sensors to measure the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface as well as the thickness of sea ice.
JAXA the Japanese space agency has launched its new X-Ray astronomy satellite ASTRO-H aboard an H2A rocket from the Tanegashima Space Centre south of Tokyo. ASTRO-H is designed to study the hot and energetic universe using X-Ray eyes and extend into gamma ray wavelengths.
We check out the skies of February with Jonathan Nally the editor of Australian Sky and Telescope Magazine.
SpaceTime 20160217 Series 19 episode 4
Hunting the light from gravitational waves
After last week’s historic detection of gravitational waves, astronomers have begun the hunt for a possible corresponding light source. The new research will help scientists place limits on the brightness that can serve as a benchmark for future observations linked to gravitational wave detections.
Ancient Babylonian tablets used to track Jupiter
A series of newly deciphered ancient Babylonian cuneiform tablets represent the earliest known examples of mathematical and geometric astronomy. The five clay tablets show how the ancient Babylonians tracked the movement of Jupiter using a form of calculus -- 14 centuries before its invention in Europe.
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission has said farewell to its lost comet lander Philae. There’s been no communication with the tiny vehicle on the surface of Comet 67P since July.
New Western Australian space tracking dish opens for business
A new radio dish has been inaugurated at the European Space Agency’s New Norcia tracking station near Perth for communicating with spacecraft. The dish is under the flight path of rockets launched from ESA’s Kourou space port in French Guiana.
SpaceTime with Stuart Gary Season 19 Ep.3 12th Feb 2016
Gravitational waves detected for the first time
Ripples in the fabric of spacetime known as gravitational waves have been directly seen for the first time. The historic announcement ends months of speculation and rumour.
The Great Attractor
Hundreds of galaxies hidden from view behind the Milky Way have been unveiled in unprecedented detail providing astronomers with new information about a mysterious object known as the Great Attractor. The findings shed new light on this massive gravitational anomaly, which appears to be drawing hundreds of thousands galaxies including the Milky Way towards it with a gravitational force equivalent to millions of billions of Suns.
Earth's Ancient Crust
Scientists have discovered 2.5 billion year old material from the ancient Earth in lava that's erupted from some oceanic volcanoes. The findings are the first evidence that Archean era planetary crust is being recycled through the mantle.
Activity discovered on Saturnian moon Dione
An 800 kilometre long mountain range on the Saturnian ice moon Dione is providing scientists with clues about how active the distant frozen world once was. The discovery also hints at possible continued activity even today.
North Korea Satellite failure
The satellite launched by North Korea last week appears to have failed to activate and is orbiting the Earth dead in space. The object which had been tumbling but had now stabilized but has failed to communicate with ground stations.
The show notes for SpaceTime with Stuart Gary podcast