NASA Mars woes could delay other planetary missions
Nature 531, 7594 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nature.2016.19549
Author: Devin Powell
Plan to postpone launch of InSight probe will cost agency an extra US$150 million.
On the hunt for a mystery planet
Nature 531, 7594 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/531290a
Author: Alexandra Witze
Scientists are searching for an unseen world at the fringes of the solar system.
Astronomy: Milky Way's bulging waistline
Nature 531, 7594 (2016). doi:10.1038/531279d
The mass of stars in the Milky Way's central bulge (pictured) is about 20 billion times the mass of the Sun — a much higher estimate than in most previous studies.The central bulge protrudes from the Galaxy's main disk like the yolk
To learn more about galaxy clusters, including how they grow via collisions, astronomers have used some of the world's most powerful telescopes, looking at different types of light. They have focused long observations with these telescopes on a half-dozen galaxy clusters. The name for the galaxy cluster project is the "Frontier Fields." Two of these Frontier Fields galaxy clusters, MACS J0416.1-2403 (abbreviated MACS J0416) in the right panel and MACS J0717.5+3745 (MACS J0717 for short) in the left panel, are featured here in a pair of multiwavelength images.
A repeating fast radio burst
Nature 531, 7593 (2016). doi:10.1038/nature17168
Authors: L. G. Spitler, P. Scholz, J. W. T. Hessels, S. Bogdanov, A. Brazier, F. Camilo, S. Chatterjee, J. M. Cordes, F. Crawford, J. Deneva, R. D. Ferdman, P. C. C. Freire, V. M. Kaspi, P. Lazarus, R. Lynch, E. C. Madsen, M. A. McLaughlin, C. Patel, S. M. Ransom, A. Seymour, I. H. Stairs, B. W. Stappers, J. van Leeuwen & W. W. Zhu
Fast radio bursts are millisecond-duration astronomical radio pulses of unknown physical origin that appear to come from extragalactic distances. Previous follow-up observations have failed to find additional bursts at the same dispersion measure (that is, the integrated column density of free electrons between source and telescope) and sky position as the original detections. The apparent non-repeating nature of these bursts has led to the suggestion that they originate in cataclysmic events. Here we report observations of ten additional bursts from the direction of the fast radio burst FRB 121102. These bursts have dispersion measures and sky positions consistent with the original burst. This unambiguously identifies FRB 121102 as repeating and demonstrates that its source survives the energetic events that cause the bursts. Additionally, the bursts from FRB 121102 show a wide range of spectral shapes that appear to be predominantly intrinsic to the source and which vary on timescales of minutes or less. Although there may be multiple physical origins for the population of fast radio bursts, these repeat bursts with high dispersion measure and variable spectra specifically seen from the direction of FRB 121102 support an origin in a young, highly magnetized, extragalactic neutron star.
Chinese gravitational-wave hunt hits crunch time
Nature 531, 7593 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/531150a
Author: David Cyranoski
The pressure is on to choose between several proposals for space-based detectors.