1 Oct 2020, 14:45 UTC With the help of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have found six galaxies lying around a supermassive black hole when the Universe was less than a billion years old. This is the first time such a close grouping has been seen so soon after the Big Bang and the finding helps us better understand how supermassive black holes, one of which exists at the centre of our Milky Way, formed and grew to their enormous sizes so quickly. It supports the theory that black holes can grow rapidly within large, web-like structures which contain plenty of gas to fuel them. Next Previous
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17 Sep 2020, 22:22 UTC Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) have made the first direct geometric measurement of the distance to a magnetar within our Milky Way Galaxy — a measurement that could help determine if magnetars are the sources of the long-mysterious Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs).Magnetars are a variety of neutron stars — the superdense remains of massive stars that exploded as supernovae — with extremely strong magnetic fields. A typical magnetar magnetic field is a trillion times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field, making magnetars the most magnetic objects in the Universe. They can emit strong bursts of X-rays and gamma rays, and recently have become a leading candidate for the sources of FRBs.A magnetar called XTE J1810-197, discovered in 2003, was the first of only six such objects found to emit radio pulses. It did so from 2003 to 2008, then ceased for a decade. In December of 2018, it resumed emitting bright radio pulses.A team of astronomers used the VLBA to regularly observe XTE J1810-197 from January to November of 2019, then again during March and April of 2020. By viewing the magnetar from opposite sides of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, they were ... Next Previous
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10 Sep 2020, 18:00 UTC
Science Release: New Hubble Data Suggests There is an Ingredient Missing from Current Dark Matter TheoriesNext Previous
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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 16 Oct 2020, 14:00 UTC NASA’s first mission to return a sample from an ancient asteroid arrived at its target, the asteroid Bennu, on Dec. 3, 2018. This mission, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, is a seven-year long voyage set to conclude upon the delivery to Earth of at least 2.1 ounces (60 grams) and possibly up to almost four and a half pounds (two kilograms) of sample. It promises to be the largest amount of extraterrestrial material brought back from space since the Apollo era. The 20-year anniversary of the asteroid’s discovery was in September 2019 — and scientists have been collecting data ever since. Here’s what we already know (and some of what we hope to find out) about this pristine remnant from the early days of our solar system.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 16 Oct 2020, 12:00 UTC This image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, depicts a special class of star-forming nursery known as Free-floating Evaporating Gaseous Globules, or frEGGs for short. This object is formally known as J025157.5+600606.
ESA Top News 15 Oct 2020, 05:15 UTC The closest approach of the flyby took place at 03:58 GMT (05:58 CEST) this morning at a distance of about 10 720 km from the planet’s surface. Launched 20 October 2018, the spacecraft needs nine gravity assist flybys – one at Earth, two at Venus and six at Mercury before entering orbit around the planet in 2025. Flybys ultilise the gravitational pull of the planets to help alter the speed and direction of the spacecraft, and together with the spacecraft’s solar electric propulsion system, help BepiColombo steer into Mercury orbit against the strong gravitational pull of the Sun.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 14 Oct 2020, 13:36 UTC Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe and among the most energetic. They outshine entire galaxies of billions of stars. A supermassive black hole lies at the heart of every quasar, but not every black hole is a quasar. Only the black holes that are feeding most voraciously can power a quasar. Material falling into the supermassive black hole heats up and causes a quasar to shine across the universe like a lighthouse beacon.
NASA's Ames Research Center News and Features 13 Oct 2020, 15:00 UTC The mountains discovered on Pluto during the New Horizons spacecraft's flyby of the dwarf planet in 2015 are covered by a blanket of methane ice, creating bright deposits strikingly like the snow-capped mountain chains found on Earth.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 9 Oct 2020, 13:13 UTC At around 60 million light-years from Earth, the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy, NGC 1365, is captured beautifully in this image by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Located in the constellation of Fornax (the Furnace), the blue and fiery orange swirls show us where stars have just formed and the dusty sites of future stellar nurseries.
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Scientific American 19 Oct 2020, 10:45 UTC The diminutive world and others like it could help astronomers probe the mysteries of planet formation
Universe Today 16 Oct 2020, 19:44 UTC There are instances other than pandemics when it is necessary to work remotely. Spacecraft operators are forced to do most of their work remotely while their charges travel throughout the solar system. Sometimes those travels take place a little closer to home. Engineers at DLR, Germany’s space agency, recently got to take the concept of remote working to a whole new level when they operated a rover in a whole different country almost 700 kilometers away while working remotely from their primary office.
EarthSky Blog 16 Oct 2020, 12:00 UTC Comparison of snowcapped mountains in Cthulhu Macula on Pluto (left) with the Alps on Earth (right). Image via NASA/ Johns Hopkins APL/ SWRI/ Thomas Pesquet/ ESA/ EurekAlert!.With their tall peaks reaching into the sky and and their snow glistening in the sun, snowcapped mountains on Earth are beautiful. Other planets, like Mars and Venus and even some moons, also have mountains, but they lack the scenic snow cover of earthly mountains. One notable exception, though, was discovered in 2015 by the New Horizons spacecraft, when it made its sweep through the outer reaches of our solar system. I’m talking about the snowcapped mountains of Pluto!Not only does Pluto have mountains, which was a bit surprising given its small size, but Pluto’s mountains also have snow on their peaks. There is one significant difference, though, between the mountains of Earth and Pluto. The “snow” or frost on Pluto consists of frozen methane (CH4) instead of water ice crystals. Meanwhile, Pluto’s mountains themselves are composed of rock-hard water ice.The new research, by an international team of scientists led by researchers from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France, was announced on October 13, 2020.The associated peer-reviewed paper was published in ...
NASA: Space Shuttle and International Space Station News 15 Oct 2020, 15:41 UTC NASA will provide live coverage of the return to Earth for agency astronaut Chris Cassidy and two Russian cosmonauts Wednesday, Oct. 21, after six months aboard the International Space Station. Complete coverage of the return will be available on NASA TV and the agency’s website.