The advantage of space telescopes like the aging Hubble are their ability to image distant astronomical objects without the fuzziness that Earth’s atmosphere produces. Of course, the big disadvantage is the hideous price-tag of getting the thing to orbit, keeping it there … and keeping it working. Astronomers from the UK’s Cambridge University have developed a neat hack that sidesteps the problem; so-called ‘lucky imaging’ works by comparing thousands of images from two or more ground-based telescopes and using the results to filter out the noise, producing results that rival the Hubble at its best – at a hundredth of a percent of the cost. [Image by Argenberg]
Transient Lunar Phenomena (aka TLP) are bursts of light on the lunar surface whose origins have been a mystery for nearly four centuries since their discovery. But now an astronomer reckons he has the answer – these optical flashes could be the result of gas eruptions on the Moon. [SlashDot]
This story is everywhere today, but my preferred source for the real unsensationalised science behind astronomy headlines is Centauri Dreams, which explains that, while there is indeed water in the atmosphere of exoplanet HD 189733b, it’s almost certainly not in the liquid form that we are used to finding it in. The good news is that it suggests water-abundant star systems are not a rarity – so maybe one day we’ll find a planet more like our own.