Starts With a Bang! 8 Mar 2018, 15:01 UTC In the quest to understand our Universe, and the story of where we come from on a cosmic scale, two of the most important questions are what the Universe is made of and how the first stars formed. These are related questions, since you can only form stars if you have enough matter to gravitationally collapse, and even at that, the matter needs to be dense enough and cool enough for this process to work. The earliest stars we’ve ever detected directly come from the Hubble Space Telescope’s imaging of the ultra-distant galaxy GN-z11, whose light comes to us from when the Universe was just 400 million years old: 3% of its current age. Today, after two years of careful analysis, a study from Judd D. Bowman and collaborators was published in Nature, announcing an indirect detection of starlight from when the Universe was only 180 million years old, where the details support the existence and presence of dark matter.
SPACE.com 8 Mar 2018, 12:00 UTC Some of the most monstrous black holes in the universe are growing faster than their host galaxies, new research suggests. Supermassive black holes are believed to exist at the centers of most, if not all, large galaxies, where they feed on surrounding gas, dust and other material. Two new studies suggest that these massive black holes are much bigger than expected based on the rate at which surrounding stars are forming, the researchers said.
Universe Awareness - Updates 8 Mar 2018, 11:31 UTC Today on March 8, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, themed #PressforProgress. This year’s event means to inspire communities to think, act and be gender inclusive. Project Space Girls Space Women has launched a collection of resources to promote the view of space by international women, including interviews with role models, a touring exhibition and a multimedia app.
ESO Announcements 8 Mar 2018, 10:00 UTC The latest survey of peer-reviewed scientific papers published during 2017 has shown that ESO remains the world’s most productive ground-based observatory. Astronomers used observational data from ESO facilities to produce an all-time high of 1085 refereed papers last year. This is the first time in ESO’s history that the number of refereed articles published by the ESO users community has exceeded 1000 papers in a single year.
Space Fellowship 8 Mar 2018, 06:12 UTC Juno’s Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper data was used to construct this stunning view of cyclones at Jupiter’s North Pole. Measuring the thermal emission from Jovian cloud tops, the infrared the observations are not restricted to the hemisphere illuminated by sunlight. They reveal eight cyclonic features that surround a cyclone about 4,000 kilometers in diameter, just offset from the giant planet’s geographic North Pole.
Tom's Astronomy Blog 8 Mar 2018, 04:42 UTC Credits: NASA/ESA/G. Schneider (Univ. of Arizona)Hubble Et al. (see below): Astronomers have used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to uncover a vast, complex dust structure, about 150 billion miles across, enveloping the young star HR 4796A. A bright, narrow, inner ring of dust is already known to encircle the star and may have been +69corralled by the gravitational pull of an unseen giant planet. This newly discovered huge structure around the system may have implications for what this yet-unseen planetary system looks like around the 8-million-year-old star, which is in its formative years of planet construction.The debris field of very fine dust was likely created from collisions among developing infant planets near the star, evidenced by a bright ring of dusty debris seen 7 billion miles from the star. The pressure of starlight from the star, which is 23 times more luminous than the Sun, then expelled the dust far into space.But the dynamics don’t stop there. The puffy outer dust structure is like a donut-shaped inner tube that got hit by a truck. It is much more extended in one direction than in the other and so looks squashed on one side even after accounting for its inclined projection on ...
Spaceflight Now 7 Mar 2018, 21:55 UTC Nearly a year-and-a-half after arriving at the red planet, Europe’s ExoMars orbiter is finally approaching a planned perch around 250 miles over the rust-colored world after repeatedly dipping into the Martian atmosphere to lower its orbit. The end of a year-long “aerobraking” campaign moves the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter closer to starting regular science observations, a transition expected in April, when the mission will begin measuring how much methane is in the Martian atmosphere, an indicator of potential ongoing biological or geological activity.
The Guardian 7 Mar 2018, 20:53 UTC The Perimeter Institute public lectures are back, with this evening (7 March) Emily Levesque talking about some of the strangest stellar phenomena in the universe. "From the biggest, brightest, and most volatile stars to the explosive fireworks of core-collapse supernovae and the fascinating physics of gravitational waves, “weird” stars serve as a common thread for exploring our universe’s history, evolution, and extremes. Levesque will discuss the history of stellar astronomy, present-day observing techniques and exciting new discoveries, and explore some of the most puzzling and bizarre objects being studied by astronomers today."
Scientific American 7 Mar 2018, 19:00 UTC When Apollo astronaut Eugene Cernan stepped off the Moon in December 1972, it marked the end of US researchers’ access to the lunar surface. Since then, no US mission has touched down there to collect scientific data. That could soon change. In December, President Donald Trump ordered NASA to send astronauts back to the Moon. On 12 February, he proposed a 2019 budget that would allow the agency to begin planning a US$200-million lunar exploration programme. In the weeks since, NASA officials have started sketching out how that effort might unfold — from a series of small commercial landers, to larger NASA landers, to a multinational space station near the Moon that could serve as a base for robots and astronauts travelling to the lunar surface.