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Centauri Dreams
Imagining and Planning Interstellar Exploration

Centauri Dreams
  • Ceres: Axial Tilt and Surface Ice
    Earth?s axial tilt (its obliquity) is 23.5 degrees, a significant fact for those of us who enjoy seasonal change. The ?tilt? is the angle between our planet?s rotational axis and its orbital axis. If we look at Earth?s obliquity over time, we find a 41,000 year cycle that oscillates between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees. Here […]

  • Rosetta: Chronicling Cometary Change
    Learning about the changes that occur on a cometary surface over time was a primary goal of the European Space Agency?s Rosetta mission, which orbited comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko between August 2014 and September 2016. This was a period when the comet was swinging through the inner Solar System as it closed to perihelion. Now we have […]

  • Runaway Stars in Orion
    Unexpected things can happen when you?re looking for exoplanets. Ask Kevin Luhman (Penn State), whose search for free-floating planets in the Orion Nebula is now telling us something interesting about star formation in general. In a small region dominated by young stars called the Kleinmann-Low Nebula, some 1300 light years from Earth near the center […]

  • Star in Tight Orbit around Black Hole
    Beyond their obvious value in advancing our knowledge, astronomical discoveries can be thought of as exercises for the imagination, making us think about what we would see if we were actually near the phenomenon being observed. The view from a planet deep in a globular cluster can only be spectacular, and has been the subject […]

  • Giant Planet Clues to a Debris Disk Anomaly
    A massive young planet on the borderline between gas giant and brown dwarf is telling us a bit more about planet formation in general, and circumstellar disk dynamics in particular. Known as HD 106906b, the world is 11 times the mass of Jupiter and no more than 13 million years old. Its position 650 AU […]


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