14 Sep 2017, 14:00 UTC Astronomers have discovered that the well-studied exoplanet WASP-12b reflects almost no light, making it appear essentially pitch black. This discovery sheds new light on the atmospheric composition of the planet and also refutes previous hypotheses about WASP-12b’s atmosphere. The results are also in stark contrast to observations of another similarly sized exoplanet. Next Previous
11 Sep 2017, 14:41 UTC The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 12:06 p.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2017. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. Next Previous
6 Sep 2017, 17:00 UTC A new study using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton suggests X-rays emitted by a planet's host star may provide critical clues to just how hospitable a star system could be. A team of researchers looked at 24 stars similar to the Sun, each at least one billion years old, and how their X-ray brightness changed over time. Next Previous
31 Aug 2017, 14:00 UTC Next Previous
30 Aug 2017, 15:00 UTC ALMA has been used to detect turbulent reservoirs of cold gas surrounding distant starburst galaxies. By detecting CH+ for the first time in the distant Universe this research opens up a new window of exploration into a critical epoch of star formation. The presence of this molecule sheds new light on how galaxies manage to extend their period of rapid star formation. The results appear in the journal Nature. Next Previous
23 Aug 2017, 10:00 UTC Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer astronomers have constructed the most detailed image ever of a star — the red supergiant star Antares. They have also made the first map of the velocities of material in the atmosphere of a star other than the Sun, revealing unexpected turbulence in Antares’s huge extended atmosphere. The results were published in the journal Nature. To the unaided eye the famous, bright star Antares shines with a strong red tint in the heart of the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion). It is a huge and comparatively cool red supergiant star in the late stages of its life, on the way to becoming a supernova . Next Previous
Planetary Science Institute 25 Sep 2017, 07:00 UTC
Europlanet Research Infrastructure 24 Sep 2017, 01:01 UTC European Planetary Science Congress 2017 Press Notice Sunday, 24th September Lava tubes: the hidden sites for future human habitats on the Moon and Mars Lava tubes, underground caves created by volcanic activity, could provide protected habitats large enough to house streets on Mars or even towns on the Moon, according to research presented at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2017 in Riga. A further study shows how the next generation of lunar orbiters will be able to use radar to locate these structures under the Moon’s surface. Lava tubes can form in two ways: ‘overcrusted’ tubes form when low-viscosity lava flows fairly close to the surface, developing a hard crust that thickens to create a roof above the moving lava stream. When the eruptions end, the conduit is drained leaving a tunnel a few metres beneath the surface. ‘Inflated’ tubes are complex and deep structures that form when lava is injected into existing fissures between layers of rock or cavities from previous flows. The lava expands and leaves a huge network of connected galleries as it forces its way to the surface. Lava tubes are found in many volcanic areas on Earth, including Lanzarote, Hawaii, Iceland, North Queensland in ...
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 22 Sep 2017, 19:09 UTC To celebrate the legacy of ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, which had significant NASA contributions, the European Space Agency (ESA) has designated this week as Herschel Week, highlighting some of the mission's accomplishments.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 22 Sep 2017, 13:41 UTC Galaxy NGC 6753, imaged here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is a whirl of color — the bursts of blue throughout the spiral arms are regions filled with young stars glowing brightly in ultraviolet light, while redder areas are filled with older stars emitting in the cooler near-infrared.
ASTRON 22 Sep 2017, 07:14 UTC The Pierre Auger Collaboration, in which ASTRON is a partner, reports observational evidence demonstrating that cosmic rays with energies a million times greater than that of the protons accelerated in the Large Hadron Collider come from much further away than from our own Galaxy. These findings are published in Science on 22 September 2017.
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Tom's Astronomy Blog 25 Sep 2017, 04:57 UTC Galaxy NGC 6753, imaged here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is a whirl of color — the bursts of blue throughout the spiral arms are regions filled with young stars glowing brightly in ultraviolet light, while redder areas are filled with older stars emitting in the cooler near-infrared. But there is more in this galaxy than meets the Hubble eye. At 150 million light-years from Earth, astronomers highlighted NGC 6753 as one of only two known spiral galaxies that were both massive enough and close enough to permit detailed observations of their coronas. Galactic coronas are huge, invisible regions of hot gas that surround a galaxy’s visible bulk, forming a spheroidal shape. Coronas are so hot that they can be detected by their X-ray emission, far beyond the optical radius of the galaxy. Because they are so wispy, these coronas are extremely difficult to detect. Galactic coronas are an example of telltale signs astronomers seek to help them determine how galaxies form. Despite the advances made in past decades, the process of galaxy formation remains an open question in astronomy. Various theories have been suggested, but since galaxies come in all shapes and sizes — including elliptical, spiral, and ...
Universe Today 22 Sep 2017, 19:06 UTC For decades, scientists have known that in near-Earth space there are thousands of comets and asteroids that periodically cross Earth’s orbit. These Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are routinely tracked by NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) to make sure that none pose a risk of collision with our planet. Various programs and missions have also been proposed to divert or destroy any asteroids that might pass too closely to Earth in the future. One such mission is the Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA), a collaborative effort between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). Recently, the ESA announced that it would be withdrawing from this mission due to budget constraints. But this past Wednesday (Sept. 20th), during the European Planetary Science Conference in Riga, a group of international scientists urged them to reconsider.
io9 Space 22 Sep 2017, 16:32 UTC Right now, NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is hurtling through the void in order to link up with an asteroid named Bennu in 2018. While the intrepid spacecraft still has a way to go until its big rendezvous, today it’ll casually fly by Earth. Unfortunately, it poses no immediate danger to our planet, but if you’ve got a good telescope with a camera, you might even be able to snap a pic!
Starts With a Bang! 22 Sep 2017, 14:01 UTC Deep inside the Sun’s interior, the fusion of lighter nuclei into heavier ones causes a tiny amount of mass to be lost, converted into energy via the famous E = mc². At temperatures of 4,000,000 K or above, all the way up to 15,000,000 K in the Sun’s very center, hydrogen and helium isotopes build their way up to more stable elements, releasing energy and providing all the power that washes over every planet in the Solar System. Yet despite these incredible energies, the protons in the Sun’s core would never be able to begin this chain reaction if the Universe were completely deterministic. It requires the wave nature of quantum mechanics to make it possible, proving that Einstein’s famous statement, that “God does not play dice with the Universe,” was false.