Astronomy / Astrophysics

Blogs about astronomy and / or astrophysics

A screenshot from the "Backyard Worlds: Planet 9" website

The new “Backyard Worlds: Planet 9” initiative by NASA and various American institutions along with the Zooniverse platform was announced to allow anyone connected to the Internet to participate in the search for the ninth planet of the solar system. You can connect to the project’s website, examine images captured by the WISE space telescope and report any moving objects.

Dan Tamayo (Photo courtesy Ken Jones)

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal Letters” describes the development and the application of machine learning algorithms to verify the stability of planetary systems. A team of researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough led by Dan Tamayo experimented this new approach to this type of astronomical research by creating a method a thousand times faster than conventional ones.

Part of the Venus Table in the Dresden Codex (Image courtesy University of California - Santa Barbara)

An article published in the journal “Journal of Astronomy in Culture” describes a research on the Venus Table contained in the Dresden Codex, one of the few Maya codices still existing today. According to Gerardo Aldana, a professor of anthropology at the University of California – Santa Barbara, it contains significant innovations in mathematics and astronomy, so much to compare its author to Copernicus.

The tablet key to undestand the ancient Babylonians' mathematical knowledge (Image courtesy Mathieu Ossendrijver / Science. All rights reserved)

An article published in the journal “Science” describes the discovery of the ancient Babylonian mathematical knowledge. Putting together the translation of various cuneiform tablets, Mathieu Ossendrijver, professor of the History of Ancient Science at Humboldt University in Berlin, concluded that the Babylonians knew the basics of calculus over 14 centuries earlier than previously thought and they used it to calculate the motion of the planet Jupiter.

The webpage of the application to identify asteroids

NASA has made available for all desktop computers an application that can help increase the number of asteroids discovered by amateur astronomers. It’s the result of NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge initiative, which included the Asteroid Data Hunter challenge. Conducted in collaboration with Planetary Resources, a company interested in asteroid mining, in 2014, it offered $55,000 in prizes for those who developed improved algorithms to identify asteroids in the images captured by telescopes.