The aim of science is to describe as best as we can the natural world around us. Hypotheses are formulated, tested, and when successful turned into theories. The theories then continue to be tested and challenged. The process doesn't stop. We push them to their limits and sometimes we can go beyond them. And we might be lucky enough to see this very soon.
What is the upper limit on how large a rocky planet can be? This is a contentious area in astronomy. Generally, it’s thought that above about 1.6 times the radius of Earth, a planet will become a gas giant. Anything below this is a super-Earth, and smaller still are the terrestrial planets the size of Earth, Mars, and so on.
This false-color image, derived from observations in infrared light by the Ralph/Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) instrument, shows where the spectral features of water ice are abundant on Pluto’s surface. It is based on two LEISA scans of Pluto obtained on July 14, 2015, from a range of about 67,000 miles.
Scientists Find Most Powerful Known Supernova - Details have been released of the most powerful supernova ever recorded. Astronomers hope the study of ASASSN-15lh will advance our understanding of super-luminous supernovae (SLSNs), astonishing explosions that manage to exceed even regular supernovae in the quantity of energy released in a single enormous burst.