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A strange glittering is spotted around the supermassive black hole in M 87 — We talk to Dr. Maciek Weilgus of Harvard University who made the discovery.

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Maciek Wielgus of Harvard University vistis The Cosmic Companion to talk about his work finding an unexpected glittering around the supermassive black hole in the M 87 galaxy. Video credit: The Cosmic Companion

This week, we are joined by Dr. Maciek Wielgus, astronomer at Harvard University, speaking to us from Gdansk, Poland. We will discuss his work revealing glittering around the supermassive black hole at the center of the M 87 galaxy.

But first, we look at a new study identifying 24 exoplanets that appear to be even friendlier to life than Earth. We also see how superflares — powerful eruptions from stars — behave, and learn how they might affect life on other worlds. …


Are female astronauts better suited to space travel, and should we consider all-female crews as we colonize the Solar System?

By Dr. Ana Luiza Dias and James Maynard

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Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in June 1983. Image credit: NASA

Are women better astronauts than men? This question will become central to the selection of crews to the Moon, Mars, and beyond as we undertake the colonization of space.

In the struggle for gender equality, women have already proven they are capable of doing anything — including conquering space, showing that not even the sky is the limit for their success.

“The first all-female spacewalk at the International Space Station was carried out in October of 2019 and many other milestones have already been accomplished by female astronauts. But there has yet to be a first woman on the moon (or on Mars),” Katharina Buchholz writes for Statista. …


The red giant star Betelgeuse is smaller and closer than astronomers believed — how close is it to exploding?

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Betelgeuse is acting strangely, but is not likely to explode soon, a new study reveals. Image credit: ALMA / ESO / NAOJ / NRAO / E. O’Gorman / P. Kervella

Betelgeuse is one of the best-known stars in the night sky, as well as the easiest to find. New examinations of this behemoth star suggest it is both smaller — and closer — than astronomers believed.

This red giant star will, one day, explode as a supernova. …

About

James Maynard

Writing about space since I was 10, still not Carl Sagan. Weekly video show, podcast, comics, more: www.thecosmiccompanion.net

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