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Centauri Dreams
Imagining and Planning Interstellar Exploration

Centauri Dreams
  • On the Enigma of Arrival
    The death of V.S. Naipaul (1932-2018), that cross-grained and all too combative man who saw so unflinchingly into the post-colonial lands from which he drew his heritage, invariably brings to mind his strangest novel, The Enigma of Arrival (Vintage Books, 1987). Temporarily settled into a cottage in Wiltshire in rural England, the author looks back […]

  • Omega Centauri: Improbable Venue for Life?
    Although it appears in the same constellation as seen from Earth (Centaurus), Omega Centauri has nothing to do with the Alpha Centauri stars that so interest interstellar flight theorists. The brightest globular cluster visible in our skies, Omega Centauri is anything but close (16,000 light years out) and, containing several million stars, is the largest […]

  • Probing Ultrahot Jupiters
    Speaking of getting really, really close to a star, as we were yesterday in our discussion of the Parker Solar Probe, I couldn?t help but turn to new computer models of the ?ultrahot Jupiter? WASP-121b. I still find it delightful that the earliest exoplanet detections involved a category of planet that few scientists had imagined […]

  • Musings on the Parker Solar Probe
    The first thing I did when I heard about the Parker Solar Probe?s successful launch (0731 UTC Sunday) was to double-check the spacecraft?s projected velocity when it makes its closest approach to the Sun. I always think in terms of high speed when contemplating operations close to our star, the legacy of the two Helios […]

  • Detecting Life On Other Worlds
    Now that we’re getting closer to analyzing the atmospheres of terrestrial-size exoplanets, it’s worth remembering how difficult the call on the existence of life is going to be. Long-time Centauri Dreams contributor Alex Tolley takes on the issue in his essay for today, pointing out along the way just how easy it is to see […]


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