16 Nov 2017, 16:00 UTC This artist’s impression shows a cutaway view of the parts of the Universe that SDSS-V will study. SDSS-V will study millions of stars to create a map of the entire Milky Way. Farther out, the survey will get the most detailed view yet of the largest nearby galaxies like Andromeda in the Northern Hemisphere and the Large Magellanic Cloud in the Southern hemisphere. Even farther out, the survey will measure quasars, bright points of light powered by matter falling into giant black holes. Image Credit: Artist’s Conception of SDSS-V: Image by Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science/SDSS The next generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V), directed by Juna Kollmeier of the Carnegie Institution for Science, will move forward with mapping the entire sky following a $16 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The grant will kickstart a groundbreaking all-sky spectroscopic survey for a next wave of discovery, anticipated to start in 2020. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has been one of the most-successful and influential surveys in the history of astronomy, creating the most-detailed three-dimensional maps of the universe ever made, with deep multi-color images of one third of the sky, and spectra for more than three ... Next Previous
15 Nov 2017, 11:00 UTC This artist’s impression shows the temperate planet Ross 128 b, with its red dwarf parent star in the background. This planet, which lies only 11 light-years from Earth, was found by a team using ESO’s unique planet-hunting HARPS instrument. The new world is now the second-closest temperate planet to be detected after Proxima b. It is also the closest planet to be discovered orbiting an inactive red dwarf star, which may increase the likelihood that this planet could potentially sustain life. Ross 128 b will be a prime target for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope, which will be able to search for biomarkers in the planet's atmosphere. Next Previous
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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 17 Nov 2017, 13:44 UTC This new picture of the week, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the dwarf galaxy NGC 4625, located about 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs). The image, acquired with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), reveals the single major spiral arm of the galaxy, which gives it an asymmetric appearance. But why is there only one such spiral arm, when spiral galaxies normally have at least two?
NCCR PlanetS 17 Nov 2017, 07:28 UTC A temperate Earth-sized planet has been discovered only 11 light-years from the Solar System by a team including member of PlanetS using ESO’s unique planet-hunting HARPS instrument. The new world has the designation Ross 128 b and is now the second-closest temperate planet to be detected after Proxima b. It is also the closest planet to be discovered orbiting an inactive red dwarf star, which may increase the likelihood that this planet could potentially sustain life. Ross 128 b will be a prime target for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope, which will be able to search for biomarkers in the planet’s atmosphere. A team working with ESO’s High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) at the La Silla Observatory in Chile has found that the red dwarf star Ross 128 is orbited by a low-mass exoplanet every 9.9 days. This Earth-sized world is expected to be temperate, with a surface temperature that may also be close to that of the Earth. Ross 128 is the “quietest” nearby star to host such a temperate exoplanet. This artist’s impression shows the temperate planet Ross 128 b, with its red dwarf parent star in the background. This planet, which lies only 11 light-years from ...
NASA Breaking News 16 Nov 2017, 21:05 UTC NASA has selected a science instrument for an upcoming Japan-led sample return mission to the moons of Mars planned for launch in 2024. The instrument, a sophisticated neutron and gamma-ray spectrograph, will help scientists resolve one of the most enduring mysteries of the Red Planet -- when and how the small moons formed.
ESA Top News 16 Nov 2017, 10:00 UTC On 14 November 2017 at about 16:45 GMT a football-sized meteoroid entered Earth’s atmosphere about 50 km northeast of Darmstadt, Germany. It created a bright fireball in the sky, which was seen by thousands of people in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg, and was reported widely by media.
ESA Top News 16 Nov 2017, 10:00 UTC These striking features on Mars were caused by the planet’s crust stretching apart in response to ancient volcanic activity. The fractures in the Sirenum Fossae region in the southern hemisphere were imaged by ESA’s Mars Express in March. They extend for thousands of kilometres in length, far beyond the boundaries of this image.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 15 Nov 2017, 20:31 UTC As a young scientist, Tony del Genio of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City met Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto. "I thought, 'Wow, this is a one-time opportunity,'" del Genio said. "I'll never meet anyone else who found a planet." That prediction was spectacularly wrong. In 1992, two scientists discovered the first planet around another star, or exoplanet, and since then more people have found planets than throughout all of Earth's preceding history. As of this month, scientists have confirmed more than 3,500 exoplanets in more than 2,700 star systems. Del Genio has met many of these new planet finders. Del Genio is now co-lead of a NASA interdisciplinary initiative to search for life on other worlds. This new position as the lead of this project may seem odd to those who know him professionally. Why? He has dedicated decades to studying Earth, not searching for life elsewhere. We know of only one living planet: our own. But we know it very well. As we move to the next stage in the search for alien life, the effort will require the expertise of planetary scientists, heliophysicists and astrophysicists. However, the knowledge and tools NASA has ...
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Scientific American 17 Nov 2017, 18:30 UTC Nearly two months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the people who operate one of the world’s pre-eminent radio telescopes—at the Arecibo Observatory, on the northwestern part of the island—are still without reliable water, electricity and phone service at their homes. But their jobs seem to be safe.
astrobites 17 Nov 2017, 16:55 UTC Today’s paper takes another look at a binary system, HD 49798, which has been puzzling scientists for some time. HD 49798 is an X-ray binary, a type of binary in which matter is transferred onto a central, compact star (a white dwarf, neutron star or black hole) from a donor star. The authors suggest that many of the unusual attributes of the system could be explained if one of the stars is a young, half-formed white dwarf which is still in the process of contracting.
Air & Space Magazine 17 Nov 2017, 13:30 UTC What were the critical steps toward the first appearance of life on Earth? In a new paper published in Nature Chemistry, Clémentine Gibard and her co-authors from the Scripps Research Institute may have identified one of the most important ones: phosphorylation, or the addition of phosphate to another organic molecule. Read more at http://www.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/phosporus-you-cant-have-life-without-it-least-earth-180967243/#jZCXkZoEM9fOkq7M.99
ESO Blog 17 Nov 2017, 11:00 UTC Exoplanets are one of the hottest topics in astronomy, and the stuff they’re made of is especially fascinating. Not so long ago, astronomers thought that exoplanets were created from the same interstellar materials as their parent stars, so they must have similar compositions. But in many recently-discovered systems, planets have wildly different compositions to their host stars, turning theories of planet formation on their head. One such planet, named K2-106b, is more than twice as dense as Earth and even denser than lead! Puzzlingly, the parent star of this heavy metal planet has a much lower metallicity than the planet itself. We asked Eike Guenther, the astronomer who led the research on this intriguing system, to fill us in on the details.
NPR 17 Nov 2017, 09:51 UTC A two-story tall, digital camera is taking shape in California. It will ultimately go on a telescope in Chile where it will survey the sky, looking for things that appear suddenly or change over time.(Image credit: Joe McNally/Getty Images)