All the Biggest and Best Space Discoveries Of 2017

Posted by on December 26, 2017 in Earth & Space, Sci-Tech with 0 Comments

Credit: ESO/


From neutron stars colliding to our solar system’s first visitor, 2017 was an amazing year for space discoveries. While the year had some sad moments, like the end of the 20–year long Cassini mission, we also learnt a huge amount about this vast Universe in which we live. Here’s the best of space in 2017.

An incredible year for gravitational waves

The Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to the Ligo team that has now spotted three instances of gravitational waves coming from black holes merging. The first of these was announced in February 2016 and the second in June this year.

Then, in October, another merger was detected – but this time from two neutron stars. Not only this, but the team also found electromagnetic radiation coming from the event and gamma-ray bursts given off just seconds later.

Neutron stars are among the strangest stars in the Universe. Produced when the largest stars come of the end of their life, run out of fuel and collapse in on themselves, neutron stars are the smallest and most dense stars can get. Just one teaspoon of neutron star material is as heavy as the Great Pyramid of Giza. When two collide, a lot of crazy science goes on.

Arguably the biggest space discovery of the year, the discovery of the merger in gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation has marked the start of a ‘new era’ in astrophysics.

Read more on WIRED

A super-Earth found 40 light years away

Credit: M. Weiss/CfA

An exoplanet discovered 40 light years away caused excitement among astronomers in April, as it has the potential to give us the best opportunity ever to find alien life. The ‘super-Earth’ called LHS 1140b is around 1.4 times the size of our planet but seven times its mass. It is rocky, temperate and orbits a quiet star in our galactic neighbourhood.

“I am really, really excited about this discovery,” David Charbonneau, study author and professor of astronomy at Harvard University said at the time. “This is the one we’ve been hunting for all these years!”

Read more on WIRED


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