News & Comment

  • News & Views |

    The Juno spacecraft has detected unprecedented numbers of ‘whistlers’ and ‘sferics’ in its orbits around Jupiter, both indications of high lightning flash rates in the atmosphere of the gas giant planet.

    • Jacob Bortnik
  • Mission Control |

    The Hayabusa2 spacecraft will soon rendezvous with asteroid Ryugu in order to study its composition using remote sensing, a lander, rovers and sample return, explains Elizabeth Tasker.

    • Elizabeth Tasker
  • Editorial |

    With moons holding subsurface oceans, the outer planets are back in focus as the most promising places to find life beyond Earth. In addition to future missions, ongoing data analysis from past missions has an important role to play.

  • Meeting Report |

    Are we alone in the Universe? Is life unique to Earth or a common phenomenon? These fundamental questions represent major puzzles of contemporary science, and were inspiration for a NASA conference on the prebiotic conditions of the early Solar System.

    • Vladimir S. Airapetian
  • News & Views |

    Supermassive binary black holes are thought to lie at the centres of merging galaxies. The blazar OJ 287 is the poster child of such systems, showing strong and periodic variability across the electromagnetic spectrum. A new study questions the physical origin of this variability.

    • Zulema Abraham
  • Meeting Report |

    With the ever-growing list of exoplanets fuelling hope for finding life beyond the Solar System, the recent Breakthrough Discuss meeting redirected attention back to our own neighbourhood.

    • John C. Forbes
  • Research Highlight |

    • Luca Maltagliati
  • Comment |

    Upcoming telescopes might be able to detect signatures of complex life on other worlds, but we need to involve physical, chemical and life scientists at the planning stage in order to interpret the findings when the time comes.

    • Dirk Schulze-Makuch
    •  & William Bains
  • Comment |

    Arguably, no mission changed X-ray astronomy in as short a time as did Hitomi. The planned X-ray Astronomy Recovery Mission, XARM, will carry its legacy forward.

    • Poshak Gandhi
  • Comment |

    Investments in national astronomical facilities and human resources through the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand have led to the rapid growth of astronomy in Thailand. Ongoing activities in key research areas, education and outreach will lead to further sustainable development.

    • Boonrucksar Soonthornthum
  • Editorial |

    In the age of huge telescopes involving many wealthy nations, we mustn’t overlook regional telescopes that help countries address their specific development needs.

  • Mission Control |

    Observational astronomy in Iran has witnessed a rise over the past two decades that has led to investment in its own astronomical identity, the Iranian National Observatory, and a flagship 3.4-m optical telescope.

    • Habib G. Khosroshahi
  • Comment |

    China has approved or planned a string of several space exploration missions to be launched over the next decade. A new generation of planetary scientists in China is playing an important role in determining the scientific goals of future missions.

    • Yong Wei
    • , Zhonghua Yao
    •  & Weixing Wan
  • Comment |

    Moroccan scientific production in astronomy and astrophysics has shown sustained growth since the late 1980s. This growth is largely due to the dynamism of an increasingly entrepreneurial community and to the creation of an astronomical observatory in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains.

    • Zouhair Benkhaldoun
  • Comment |

    The Maidanak Astronomical Observatory is involved in collaborative observing programs requiring uninterrupted monitoring of celestial objects by providing high-resolution photometric observations.

    • Shuhrat Ehgamberdiev