NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 5 Nov 2020, 15:00 UTC The universe would be a pretty boring place without stars. Without them, the universe would remain a diffuse plasma of mostly hydrogen and helium from the big bang.
MIT 4 Nov 2020, 16:00 UTC Fast radio bursts are extremely bright flashes of energy that last for a fraction of a second, during which they can blast out more than 100 million times more power than the sun. Since they were first detected in 2007, astronomers have observed traces of fast radio bursts, or FRBs, scattered across the universe, but their sources have been too far away to clearly make out. It has been a mystery, then, as to what astrophysical objects could possibly produce such brief though brilliant radio flares. Now astronomers at MIT, McGill University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and elsewhere report that they have observed fast radio bursts in our own galaxy, for the first time. The radio pulses are the closest FRBs detected to date, and their proximity has allowed the team to pinpoint their source. It appears that the observed radio pulses were produced by a magnetar — a type of neutron star with a hugely powerful magnetic field. Physicists have hypothesized that magnetars might produce FRBs. This is the first time scientists have direct observational proof that magnetars are indeed sources of fast radio bursts. “There’s this great ...
ESA Top News 2 Nov 2020, 12:02 UTC As the world celebrates two decades of humans in orbit around Earth on the International Space Station, this month’s science summary will look back not at four weeks of European research in space, but 20 years – with a focus on human research, naturally.
ESO Top News 30 Oct 2020, 13:05 UTC This ethereal remnant of a long dead star, nestled in the belly of The Whale, bears an uneasy resemblance to a skull floating through space. Captured in astounding detail by ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the eerie Skull Nebula is showcased in this new image in beautiful bloodshot colours. This planetary nebula is the first known to be associated with a pair of closely bound stars orbited by a third outer star.
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory 30 Oct 2020, 13:01 UTC A new study using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope gives new insight into an important question: how habitable are planets that orbit the most common type of stars in the Galaxy? The target of the new study, as reported in our press release, is Barnard's Star, which is one of the closest stars to Earth at a distance of just 6 light years. Barnard's Star is a red dwarf, a small star that slowly burns through its fuel supply and can last much longer than medium-sized stars like our Sun. It is about 10 billion years old, making it twice the age of the Sun.
NASA Breaking News 29 Oct 2020, 19:48 UTC NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has successfully stowed the spacecraft’s Sample Return Capsule (SRC) and its abundant sample of asteroid Bennu. On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the mission team sent commands to the spacecraft, instructing it to close the capsule – marking the end of one of the most challenging phases of the mission.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 29 Oct 2020, 14:00 UTC Sorry Charlie Brown, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is taking a peek at what might best be described as the "Greater Pumpkin," that looks like a Halloween decoration tucked away in a patch of sky cluttered with stars. What looks like two glowing eyes and a crooked carved smile is a snapshot of the early stages of a collision between two galaxies. The entire view is nearly 109,000 light-years across, approximately the diameter of our Milky Way.
NASA: Kepler News and Features 29 Oct 2020, 11:00 UTC Since astronomers confirmed the presence of planets beyond our solar system, called exoplanets, humanity has wondered how many could harbor life. Now, we’re one step closer to finding an answer. According to new research using data from NASA’s retired planet-hunting mission, the Kepler space telescope, about half the stars similar in temperature to our Sun could have a rocky planet capable of supporting liquid water on its surface.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 28 Oct 2020, 13:00 UTC Beyond the orbit of Neptune, a diverse collection of thousands of dwarf planets and other relatively small objects dwells in a region called the Kuiper Belt. These often-pristine leftovers from our solar system's days of planet formation are called Kuiper Belt Objects, or Trans-Neptunian Objects. NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will examine an assortment of these icy bodies in a series of programs called Guaranteed Time Observations shortly after its launch in 2021. The goal is to learn more about how our solar system formed.