A novel telescope proposed by UNC astronomer Nick Law will take images of the whole sky every two minutes to look for exoplanets transiting in front of their host stars and other transient events. The project has been featured in MIT Technology Review and is in line to receive funding from the National Science Foundation.
Astronomers have discovered what is quite possibly the coldest, faintest white dwarf star ever observed. Its carbon has cooled to a point that it has crystallized, creating what is essentially a “diamond” in space that is roughly the size of earth. UNC-CH graduate student Bart Dunlap contributed to the research that led to this finding.
Observations at many sites in South America have made the surprise discovery that the remote asteroid Chariklo is surrounded by two dense and narrow rings. This is the smallest object by far found to have rings and only the fifth body in the Solar System — after the much larger planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — to have this feature. The new results are published online in the journal Nature on 26 March 2014.