This January, the American Astronomical Society held its big annual meeting completely online. The Covid-19 pandemic ruled out the society’s planned gathering in Scottsdale, AZ but the AAS pivoted by opening-up digital access to thousands of astronomers across the United States and around the world. More than 3,000 registrants were listed in the online portal, thus demonstrating that the vital communication of astronomical research, education, and public outreach could carry on in this alternative format.
If the Big Bang theory is correct, how fast is the universe expanding? Astronomers are facing a troubling disconnect between different methods used to measure the expansion rate, known as the Hubble constant. The two methods are giving similar but slightly different rates. Either one method is providing inaccurate results, or there is some kind of unknown physics operating in the universe.
Perhaps because of their tremendous popularity, Hollywood’s sci-fi films have exerted a powerful influence on our psyches – piquing our curiosity and igniting our imagination regarding life beyond Earth.
This year, our eyes were once again redirected to our own Solar System for a just a few fleeting
minutes -- from the myriad wonders of our “seeable” Universe to a small space probe called New
Horizons that at 7:49 AM (EST) on July 14 th 2015 passed within 7,750 miles of little Pluto at a
record-breaking speed of 30,800 miles per hour (49,600 kilometers per hour).