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. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

The closest black hole: 1,000 light years away?

The uncertainty of science: Astronomers now think they have detected evidence of a stellar-mass black hole only a thousand light years away and orbiting a star system that is visible to the naked eye.

Thomas Rivinius, an astronomer with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), and his colleagues studied the unusual star system HR 6819 in this way using a 2.2-meter telescope in Chile, operated by ESO and the Max Planck Society. They thought it was a binary system, but there was an extra wobble in the periodic light shifts of one of the stars that indicated something else was asserting its presence. It turned out to be a triple system, with one star in a fast 40-day orbit with an unseen companion and another star on a more distant, slow-moving trajectory, they write today in Astronomy & Astrophysics. The invisible companion’s mass was large enough—four times the mass of the Sun—that, if it was a star, “we would have seen it,” Rivinius says.

Though there are a lot of uncertainties, this discovery is reasonable, and expected. In the coming years astronomers will surely find more such stellar-mass black holes, with some even closer to Earth.

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One comment

  • Max

    Immediately I begin thinking of the possibilities. That future star systems like this might be similar to the fictional firefly solar system with five stars, several brown dwarfs, and over 70 planets.
    https://i.stack.imgur.com/qV57C.jpg

    With the exception in this case of the suns orbiting a black hole which makes it even more interesting.

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