Great scientific discoveries often raise more questions than they answer. Just days after the announcement that gravitational waves from two merging black holes have been detected, astrophysicists are already pondering what this means for our understanding of stars. New studies are already being released and we can expect a flood of creative ideas in the near future.
The recent detection of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) came from two black holes, each about 30 times the mass of our sun, merging into one. Gravitational waves span a wide range of frequencies that require different technologies to detect. A new study from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) has shown that low-frequency gravitational waves could soon be detectable by existing radio telescopes.
This year is shaping up to be another exciting one for space after a bonanza of discoveries and celestial events in 2015. One of my hoped-for highlights of 2016, NASA’s Insight mission, has unfortunately been scrubbed due to a serious leak in last stage testing. But here are three of my particular favourite space missions to watch out for as well as some key night sky events to try and experience throughout 2016.