Astronomy - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

1)   Which astronaut(s) broke the American record for the longest duration spaceflight?

a. Scott Kelly
b. Sunita WIlliams
c. Mikhail Komienko
d. Both a and c
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and c

Astronauts Scott Kelly, Mikhail Komienko break American record for longest space flight. Both traveled 144 million miles through space and circled the world 5,440 times. They experienced 10,880 orbital sunrises and sunsets during the longest single spaceflight by an American. The next longest spaceflight is 125 days less. But when it comes to longest space flight, a Russian doctor holds the record with 438 days.

2)   What is galactoseismology?

a. Method to detect dark matter
b. Method to assess dark matter
c. Method to detect dwarf galaxies dominated by dark matter
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Method to detect dwarf galaxies dominated by dark matter

A global team of scientists led by Indian- American Sukanya Chakrabarti devised s new method called galactoseismology for detecting dwarf galaxies dominated by dark matter. Method also explains ripples on the external disk of the galaxy. Chakrabarti, an assistant professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, NY has presented her findings whereby the discovered method employs the use of the waves in the galactic disk to map inner structures and mass of galaxies. This is similar to seismologists who use seismic waves to gather details about the inner part of the earth. Method will be used for hunting mysterious space phenomenon. Team uses the spectroscopic observations for calculation of the speed of three Cepheid variables in the Norma constellation. Cepheid variables are stars used as yardstick for calculating the galaxies’ distances. Study tracks Cepheid variables travelling at the speed of 450,000 MPH.

3)   A massive, galaxy cluster 1000 times more massive than the Milky Way galaxy has been discovered by astronomers 10 billion light years away.  What is the name of the cluster?

a. IDCS 1426
b. IDCS 1436
c. IDCS 1416
d. IDCS 1406
Answer  Explanation 


This massive, churning galaxy cluster 1000 times more massive than the Milky Way galaxy has been discovered by astronomers some 10 billion light years away. This cluster is unique is formed when the Universe was 3.8 billion years old. Scientists have found that super giant structures could form much later after billions of years of clumping matter. MIT, University of Missouri, University of Florida have found the cluster using NASA’s 3 great observatories- Hubble Space Telescope, Keck Observatory and Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Cluster called IDCS 1426 is the most massive cluster of galaxies yet discovered during the first 4 billion years following the Big Bang. IDCS 1426 appears to be undergoing a considerable amount of upheaval. Researchers observed a bright knot of X-rays off center in the cluster, indicating the core of the cluster might have shifted some 100 thousand years ago from its centre. Core may have been dislodged from a massive collision with another galaxy cluster causing the gas within the cluster around, much like a wine in a glass that has been immediately moved. Galaxy clusters are conglomerates of 100s to 1000s of galaxies bound together by gravity. They are the most massive structures within the universe. Some like the Virgo cluster nearly are bright and easy to spot in the sky.

4)   What are globular star clusters?

a. Clusters holding million stars in the ball
b. Clusters holding planets and stars in a ball
c. Both a and b
d. Neither a nor b
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

A globular cluster holding million stars in a ball about 100 light years ago could be the place to look for intelligent life identified in the galaxy. Milky Way galaxy hosts about 150 globular clusters, most of them orbiting in the galactic outskirts. They formed about 10 billion years ago on average, researchers said. Some scientists have argued that this makes globular cluster stars less likely to host planets. In fact, only one planet has been found in a globular cluster to date. Interstellar communication becomes easy for stars within the cluster called global customer opportunity.