Jan. 27, 2017

08: A very bright discovery

08: A very bright discovery

The Astronomy and Space Science News Podcast

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*Discovery of one of the brightest distant galaxies ever seen 

Astronomers have detected one of the brightest galaxies ever seen in the distant universe. The galaxy known as BG1429+1202 was discovered 11.4 billion light years away – which is some four-fifths of the way back to the beginning of the universe -- thanks to a process known as gravitational lensing. 

*Trying to understand quantum gravity 

Cosmologists trying to understand how to unite the two pillars of modern science -- quantum physics and gravity -- have found a new way to make robust predictions about the effect of quantum fluctuations on primordial density waves which are ripples in the fabric of space and time. Scientists have found quantum imprints left on cosmological structures in the very early universe and shed light on what we may expect from a full quantum theory of gravity. 

*Breakthrough project 

Astronomers are about to begin a new project to search for planets in our nearest neighbouring star system Alpha Centauri. The new search is part of the Breakthough foundation Initiative funded by Russian physicist Yuri Millner and British scientist Steven Hawking. The foundation is already funding two other major projects -- Breakthrough listen t which is searching for radio signals from extra-terrestrial intelligence and Breakthrough Starshot which is developing a swarm of small spacecraft -- each fitted with a giant sail propelled by lasers -- which will travel to the Alpha Centauri star system. 

*Japan satellite crash and burn 

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency – JAXA -- has lost a scientific satellite when its launch vehicle crashed and burned during accent. Mission managers say all communications were lost after the first stage completed its 31-second engine burn. 

*Getting started in backyard astronomy 

A look at entry level astronomy telescopes with Jonathan Nally from Australian Sky and Telescope Magazine. 

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