Universe Today 25 Nov 2020, 15:49 UTC The surface of the Sun is a turbulent dance of gravity, plasma, and magnetic fields. Much like the weather on Earth, its behavior can seem unpredictable, but there are patterns to be found when you look closely.
EarthSky Blog 25 Nov 2020, 13:09 UTC Gale Crater on Mars used to contain a lake, or series of lakes, a few billion years ago. Streams once emptied into that lake. Now, new evidence from the Curiosity rover suggests that giant floods also once washed through this region. Computer-generated image via Flickr user Kevin Gill. See more of Kevin’s computer graphics depicting Martian lakes and rivers.NASA’s Curiosity rover has been exploring Gale Crater on Mars since 2012. In that time, it’s confirmed that a lake – or series of lakes, and flowing streams – existed there a few billion years ago. It’s more evidence that Mars was once a wetter and much more habitable environment than it is today. On November 18, 2020, scientists announced a new study based on an analysis of Curiosity’s data that has yielded another glimpse into Gale Crater’s past: megafloods. They are giant floods, likely caused by a meteorite impact, that washed through the crater with incredible power, leaving behind ripples that can still be seen today.The researchers – at Cornell University, Jackson State University, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the University of Hawaii – published the new peer-reviewed findings in Scientific Reports on November 5, 2020.EarthSky lunar calendars are back in ...
Air & Space Magazine 24 Nov 2020, 16:00 UTC I've written here before about a proposed mission I helped develop a decade ago that would have explored the hydrocarbon seas of Saturn’s moon Titan. The Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) proposal took four years to prepare, and even though the mission ultimately wasn’t selected by NASA, I’m so proud of that work and that team. It’s not uncommon for dozens of people to put in many years of work before a space mission is green-lit, let alone built and launched.
EarthSky Blog 23 Nov 2020, 17:14 UTC Mars has some of the largest volcanoes in the solar system, but they’ve apparently been inactive for millions of years. No plumes of ash or flowing streams of lava are seen on Mars today. But just how long ago were the last great martian eruptions? That has been a matter of some debate among planetary geologists, and now scientists at the University of Arizona (UA) have announced new evidence for recent – geologically speaking – explosive volcanism in the Elysium Planitia region of Mars. According to the new findings, eruptions there may have occurred as recently as 53 thousand years ago, which is a blink of an eye relative to Mars’ total age of about 4.6 billion years (same as Earth’s). According to these scientists, this finding could mean Mars is still volcanically active even today, at least underground.
SciTech Daily 23 Nov 2020, 06:04 UTC In a surprising discovery, astronomers using two Maunakea Observatories – W. M. Keck Observatory and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) – have found a globular star cluster in the Andromeda Galaxy that contains a record-breaking low amount of metals. The stars in the cluster, called RBC EXT8, have on average 800 times less iron than our Sun and are three times more iron-poor than the previous globular cluster record-holder. RBC EXT8 is also extremely deficient in magnesium.
New Scientist 23 Nov 2020, 00:01 UTC Goodnight, moon. Earlier this year, astronomers found a minimoon orbiting Earth. It has now drifted away, but we should soon be able to detect more of these miniature companions. When astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona spotted a dim object called 2020 CD3 hurtling across the sky in February, they couldn’t be sure if it was a minimoon or an artificial object like a rocket booster. Over the following few months, Grigori Fedorets at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK and his colleagues used a series of telescopes around the world to take more measurements of the object and figure out what it was.
Universe Today 20 Nov 2020, 14:43 UTC If you asked someone who was reasonably scientifically literate how Earth got its water, they’d likely tell you it came from asteroids—or maybe comets and planetesimals, too—that crashed into our planet in its early days. There’s detail, nuance, and uncertainty around that idea, but it’s widely believed to be the most likely reason that Earth has so much water.
io9 Space 20 Nov 2020, 12:00 UTC Yesterday brought the tragic news that the famous 1,000-foot radio dish at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will have to be demolished after the failure of two support cables. It’s the end of an era, but a good excuse to revisit some of the most important scientific contributions made possible by the famous facility.
Bad Astronomy 19 Nov 2020, 16:30 UTC The venerable Arecibo radio telescope, a mammoth 305-meter dish nestled in the forested hills of Puerto Rico, is to be decommissioned after a pair of cables that support a huge platform above the dish broke.