Welcome back to the 354th Carnival of Space! This week we’re hosting it right here at Urban Astronomer, so settle in for your round-up on what’s news in the worlds of space science and astronomy. We’re in a good mood today, since we got a step closer to achieving our long-term goal of bringing Urban Astronomer to you through alternative media channels – check out CliffCentral to see where we’ve set our sights.
But back to the Carnival. First up is Mika McKinnon with a photographic tour of the asonishing views around the European Southern Observatory in Chile, captured by a documentary team while they were recording a film on the observatory. Mika also reports on an exciting new simulation recently completed by the Albert Einstein Institute and announced by the NASA Astrophysics group, showing what happens when two neutron stars collide.
Adam Mann of Wired.com writes about the art and science of exoplanet observations. Since, a few notable exceptions aside (see below…), it is almost impossible to directly image exoplanets, NASA frequently engages space artists to paint their impressions of what some of these distant worlds look like.
Universe Today offer three submissions. In the first, Jason Major writes about a new map of Mercury produced by the MESSENGER spacecaft. Mission scientists pushed MESSENGER to the limits to achieve an impressive 5 meters per pixel resolution, making for one of the most finely detailed maps of any body in the Solar System. In the second, Elizabeth Howell reports on a possible link between the Sun’s solar wind and lightning storms on Earth. In the third, David Dickinson writes on a frankly astonishing achievement by researchers from the Université de Montréal: They have directly imaged an exoplanet some 155 light years away.
Our favourite citizen science outreach group, Cosmoquest, bring us two articles, both written by Nicole Gugliucci. The first is letting us know about a new enhancement on the Moon Mapper’s project: When you finish marking craters, you get feedback comparing your results with the running average. In the second, we learn about a STEM education projet for kids, in which astronauts are filmed reading out children’s stories while on the International Space Station.
Then comes Next Big Future’s pair of articles. In the first, Brian Wang writes about Elon Musk’s continuing battle to win US Air Force contracts for his private space company, SpaceX. He then writes about how escalating tensions over the Ukraine have led to Russia threatening to withdraw support for the ISS, forcing the project to end.
Closing off the Carnival of Space we get Paul Scott Anderson of The Meridiani Journal writing about a new technique to find exomoons, and the final curtain call comes from Gadi Eidelheit of The Venus Transit. He offers some tips and advice on how to perform basic astrophotography, using only a DSLR camera and a tripod.