Bi-Weekly Roundup: April 21, 2017

This is our weekly roundup for April 21, 2017. Over the past two weeks, there were many stories published in national new sites about astronomy-related events. In case you missed them, here are some of our highlights:

Spiral galaxies taken by Hubble Space Telescope (NASA/ESA)

Featured Story: Hubble Space Telescope’s Birthday!

“Hubble’s Celebrates 27th Anniversary with Image of Spiral Galaxies NGC 4302 and NGC 4298” by SciTechDaily.com

Published on 4/20/17

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, so it will celebrate 27 years in space this year. In celebration of its birthday, astronomers have taken pictures of the galaxies NGC 4302 and NGC 4298. The galaxies are located approximately 55 million light-years away from Earth and “reside in the constellation Coma Berenices in the Virgo Cluster of nearly 2,000 galaxies.” The spiral galaxies were discovered by the astronomer William Hershel in 1784, who first thought of the galaxies as “spiral nebulas.”

Life on Enceladus

“Plumes From Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Hint That It Could Support Life” by Kenneth Chang with NY Times

Published on 4/13/17

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft recently passed by Saturn’s moon “Enceladus” and took observations of the moon’s atmosphere. After months of analyzing data, the scientific journal Science published an article stating that there is a possibility for microbial life on Enceladus. Plumes of gas erupting from Enceladus’s atmosphere contain hydrogen: a building block for life. Cassini has been exploring Saturn and its moons for over 15 months and will soon decommission itself by dive-bombing into Saturn’s atmosphere.

Life on LHS 1140b

“Newly discovered exoplanet may be best candidate in search for signs of life” by Phys.org

Published on 4/19/17

A new super-Earth has been discovered orbiting around a faint red dwarf star, LHS 1140. The planet, named LHS 1140b, orbits in the habitable zone of the dwarf star, which is located in the constellation Cetus. Even though the dwarf star emits less light than Earth’s Sun, the planet is located much closer to its star than Earth is to its Sun and is predicted to receive as much sunlight as Earth does. With optimal sunlight and a rocky terrain, LHS 1140b could hold the key to life outside of our solar system.

Landing on Mars

 “Researchers produce detailed map of potential Mars rover landing site” by Brown University on Eurkalert.org

Published on 4/20/17

In 2020, NASA will be launching a new rover to Mars and the Northeast Syrtis Major landmark is a potential landing site. The region has been geographically mapped by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and geomorphic patterns and minerals that have been identified as unusual to Mars make the area a high-priority location for a new rover. The Northeast Syrtis Major is one of the final three locations under consideration as a potential landing site.

New Astronauts at the ISS

“Soyuz space capsule carrying American, Russian blasts off” by Phys.org

Published on 4/20/17

NASA astronaut Jack Fisher and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin launched from a Russia-leased facility in Kazakhstan. It is Fisher’s first flight in space, but cosmonaut Yurchikhin is a veteran of space travel. The astronauts will be travelling for six hours before they dock at the International Space Station.