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10 Jun 2020, 19:41 UTC A new set of precision distance measurements made with an international collection of radio telescopes have greatly increased the likelihood that theorists need to revise the “standard model” that describes the fundamental nature of the Universe.The new distance measurements allowed astronomers to refine their calculation of the Hubble Constant, the expansion rate of the Universe, a value important for testing the theoretical model describing the composition and evolution of the Universe. The problem is that the new measurements exacerbate a discrepancy between previously measured values of the Hubble Constant and the value predicted by the model when applied to measurements of the cosmic microwave background made by the Planck satellite.“We find that galaxies are nearer than predicted by the standard model of cosmology, corroborating a problem identified in other types of distance measurements. There has been debate over whether this problem lies in the model itself or in the measurements used to test it. Our work uses a distance measurement technique completely independent of all others, and we reinforce the disparity between measured and predicted values. It is likely that the basic cosmological model involved in the predictions is the problem,” said James Braatz, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory ... Next Previous
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20 May 2020, 12:00 UTC Observations made with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) have revealed the telltale signs of a star system being born. Around the young star AB Aurigae lies a dense disc of dust and gas in which astronomers have spotted a prominent spiral structure with a ‘twist’ that marks the site where a planet may be forming. Next Previous
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 30 Jun 2020, 15:00 UTC Measurements from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) have enabled astronomers to greatly improve their understanding of the bizarre environment of KELT-9 b, one of the hottest planets known.
Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy 29 Jun 2020, 15:55 UTC Betelgeuse, the bright star in the constellation of Orion, has been fascinating astronomers in the recent months because of its unusually strong decline in brightness. Scientists have been discussing a number of scenarios trying to explain its behaviour. Now a team led by Thavisha Dharmawardena of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have shown that most likely unusually large star spots on the surface of Betelgeuse have caused the dimming. Their results rule out the previous conjecture that it was dust, recently ejected by Betelgeuse, which obscured the star. The results are published today in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 26 Jun 2020, 12:13 UTC The galaxy known as NGC 5907 stretches wide across this image. Appearing as an elongated line of stars and dark dust, the galaxy is categorized as a spiral galaxy just like our own Milky Way. In this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, we don’t see the beautiful spiral arms because we are viewing it edge-on, like looking at the rim of a plate. It is for this reason that NGC 5907 is also known as the Knife Edge galaxy.
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First Exposed Planetary Core Discovered – An Extremely Unusual Planet in the So-Called “Neptune Desert”2 Jul 2020, 08:38 UTC The newly discovered Neptune-sized exoplanet TOI 849 b orbits its star in just 18 hours and offers a unique opportunity to peer inside a planet to investigate how planets form. Was it like Jupiter before its atmosphere was stripped or did it fail to form one in the first place?
Universe Today 1 Jul 2020, 04:08 UTC When NASA’s new Perseverance Martian rover launches in a little over a month it will have a small robotic stow-away on board. Ingenuity is a small helicopter, with a fuselage about the size of a softball and two extending rotors that measure about 4 feet across. It was attached to the bottom of the rover’s chassis in April, and NASA recently released details about it’s technically challenging release process.
Lights in the Dark 30 Jun 2020, 19:11 UTC The Sun is awesome. I mean, never mind that it contains 99% of all the mass in the Solar System, that it supplies our planet with the energy needed to sustain life, that its constantly-blowing solar wind helps keep some of those nasty cosmic particles out of the planetary neighborhood, and that it makes a bright sunshiny day on Earth possible (but remember to wear sunscreen!) In addition to all that, it’s also just really, really cool. In the hot sense, of course. But even on the Sun a little rain must fall…just not like it does here.
Centauri Dreams 30 Jun 2020, 16:17 UTC Red dwarf stars have fascinated me for decades, ever since I learned that a potentially habitable planet around one might well be tidally locked. Trying to imagine a living world with a sun that didn’t move in the sky was the kind of exercise that I love about science fiction, where playing with ideas always includes a vivid visual element. What kind of landscapes would a place like this offer to the view? What kind of weather would tidal lock conjure? Stephen Baxter’s novel Proxima (Ace, 2014) is a wonderful exercise in such world-building.
Bad Astronomy 30 Jun 2020, 13:00 UTC We know that a monster asteroid impact killed off the (non-avian) dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period. Sixty-six million years ago, a 10-kilometer wide space rock slammed into the Earth just off the coast of modern-day Yucatan, blasting a crater 150 kilometers wide and setting off a chain of catastrophic climate events that wiped out 75% of all species on the planet.