ESO Top News 5 Mar 2018, 14:00 UTC The new MATISSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has now successfully made its first observations at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. MATISSE is the most powerful interferometric instrument in the world at mid-infrared wavelengths.
ESA Top News 5 Mar 2018, 09:00 UTC ESA’s Integral space observatory has witnessed a rare event: the moment that winds emitted by a swollen red giant star revived its slow-spinning companion, the core of a dead star, bringing it back to life in a flash of X-rays.
ESA Top News 5 Mar 2018, 08:05 UTC Saturn’s storm are sights to behold. Unlike other planets in the Solar System, the ringed planet seems to store up huge amounts of energy over multiple Earth decades and then release it all at once in the form of a swirling and chaotic lightning storm. Scientists are unsure why and how the planet behaves this way, but these massive storms occur roughly once every Saturnian year – or once every 30 Earth years – and are known as Great White Spots. The Great White Spot pictured here, also named the Great Northern Storm, was the largest and most intense storm that the international Cassini mission ever observed on Saturn. It began in late 2010 and lasted for months, but affected the clouds, temperatures and composition of the atmosphere for more than three years.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 3 Mar 2018, 00:38 UTC In 1929 Edwin Hubble surprised many people – including Albert Einstein – when he showed that the universe is expanding. Another bombshell came in 1998 when two teams of astronomers proved that cosmic expansion is actually speeding up due to a mysterious property of space called dark energy. This discovery provided the first evidence of what is now the reigning model of the universe: “Lambda-CDM,” which says that the cosmos is approximately 70 percent dark energy, 25 percent dark matter and 5 percent “normal” matter (everything we’ve ever observed). Until 2016, Lambda-CDM agreed beautifully with decades of cosmological data. Then a research team used the Hubble Space Telescope to make an extremely precise measurement of the local cosmic expansion rate. The result was another surprise: the researchers found that the universe was expanding a little faster than Lambda-CDM and the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), relic radiation from the Big Bang, predicted. So it seems something’s amiss – could this discrepancy be a systematic error, or possibly new physics? Astrophysicists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. believe that strongly lensed Type Ia supernovae are the ...
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 2 Mar 2018, 15:47 UTC Discovered in 1900 by astronomer DeLisle Stewart and here imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, IC 4710 is an undeniably spectacular sight. The galaxy is a busy cloud of bright stars, with bright pockets - marking bursts of new star formation - scattered around its edges. IC 4710 is a dwarf irregular galaxy. As the name suggests, such galaxies are irregular and chaotic in appearance, lacking central bulges and spiral arms - they are distinctly different from spirals or ellipticals. It is thought that irregular galaxies may once have been spirals or ellipticals, but became distorted over time through external gravitational forces during interactions or mergers with other galaxies. Dwarf irregulars in particular are important to our overall understanding of galactic evolution, as they are thought to be similar to the first galaxies that formed in the universe.
California Institute of Technology 1 Mar 2018, 22:32 UTC Caltech scientists create new computer code for calculating neutron stars' "equation of state". Neutron stars consist of the densest form of matter known: a neutron star the size of Los Angeles can weigh twice as much as our sun. Astrophysicists don't fully understand how matter behaves under these crushing densities, let alone what happens when two neutron stars smash into each other or when a massive star explodes, creating a neutron star.
Hubble Space Telescope News 1 Mar 2018, 18:00 UTC
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory 1 Mar 2018, 16:13 UTC Researchers have found a star that shines more than a million times as bright as the sun.