Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

A UV aurora found on Comet 67P/C-G

Using data from Europe’s now completed Rosetta mission to Comet 67P/C-G, scientists have detected evidence that the comet’s interaction with the Sun’s solar wind creates an aurora above the comet in ultra-violet wavelengths.

The data indicate 67P/C-G’s emissions are actually auroral in nature. Electrons streaming out in the solar wind – the stream of charged particles flowing out from the Sun – interact with the gas in the comet’s coma, breaking apart water and other molecules. The resulting atoms give off a distinctive far-ultraviolet light. Invisible to the naked eye, far-ultraviolet has the shortest wavelengths of radiation in the ultraviolet spectrum.

Labeling this phenomenon as an aurora is a bit of hype, as nothing is visible. However, the discovery does tell scientists how this comet’s coma, produced when the comet heats up in its approach to the Sun, interacts with the solar wind, and this in turn can teach them more about that wind, as well as other comets.

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One comment

  • LocalFluff

    Astronomers were surprised by Chandra, the X-ray space telescope, producing a peak with no apparent explanation. Turns out that a comet passed by its field of view, but comets are frozen while x-rays come from high energy stellar events. They figured out that so do active comets in general. Heavy particles in the Solar wind do produce x-rays when they hit hydrogen in cometary comas. That was unexpected until the observation was made and the physics of it was had a looking to.

    Since then Chandra takes beautiful x-ray images of comet’s comas, like these:
    https://scx2.b-cdn.net/gfx/news/hires/2016/chandraobser.jpg

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