NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 21 Sep 2020, 15:00 UTC In an interplanetary faux pas, it appears some pieces of asteroid Vesta ended up on asteroid Bennu, according to observations from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The new result sheds light on the intricate orbital dance of asteroids and on the violent origin of Bennu, which is a “rubble pile” asteroid that coalesced from the fragments of a massive collision.
MIT 21 Sep 2020, 04:00 UTC In a delightful alignment of astronomy and mathematics, scientists at MIT and elsewhere have discovered a “pi Earth” — an Earth-sized planet that zips around its star every 3.14 days, in an orbit reminiscent of the universal mathematics constant.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 18 Sep 2020, 12:24 UTC The twisting patterns created by the multiple spiral arms of NGC 2835 create the illusion of an eye. This is a fitting description, as this magnificent galaxy resides near the head of the southern constellation of Hydra, the water snake. This stunning barred spiral galaxy, with a width of just over half that of the Milky Way, is brilliantly featured in this image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Although it cannot be seen in this image, a supermassive black hole with a mass millions of times that of our Sun is known to nestle in the very center of NGC 2835.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) 17 Sep 2020, 22:22 UTC Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) have made the first direct geometric measurement of the distance to a magnetar within our Milky Way Galaxy — a measurement that could help determine if magnetars are the sources of the long-mysterious Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs).Magnetars are a variety of neutron stars — the superdense remains of massive stars that exploded as supernovae — with extremely strong magnetic fields. A typical magnetar magnetic field is a trillion times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field, making magnetars the most magnetic objects in the Universe. They can emit strong bursts of X-rays and gamma rays, and recently have become a leading candidate for the sources of FRBs.A magnetar called XTE J1810-197, discovered in 2003, was the first of only six such objects found to emit radio pulses. It did so from 2003 to 2008, then ceased for a decade. In December of 2018, it resumed emitting bright radio pulses.A team of astronomers used the VLBA to regularly observe XTE J1810-197 from January to November of 2019, then again during March and April of 2020. By viewing the magnetar from opposite sides of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, they were ...
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 17 Sep 2020, 18:10 UTC Following extensive observations of stellar winds around cool evolved stars scientists have figured out how planetary nebulae get their mesmerizing shapes. The findings, published in Science, contradict common consensus, and show that not only are stellar winds aspherical, but they also share similarities with planetary nebulae.
Hubble Space Telescope News 17 Sep 2020, 17:00 UTC
ESA Top News 17 Sep 2020, 06:35 UTC This prototype 2.6-m diameter metal-mesh antenna reflector represents a big step forward for the European space sector: versions can be manufactured to reproduce any surface pattern that antenna designers wish, something that was previously possible only with traditional solid antennas.
Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation 16 Sep 2020, 13:09 UTC The most massive gravitational-wave source yet has been detected – a binary black hole merger, which produced a blast equal to the energy of eight Suns, sending shockwaves through the universe. Gravitational waves are produced when an extreme cosmic event occurs somewhere in the universe and, like dropping a rock in a pond, these events ripple across the cosmos, bending and stretching the fabric of space-time itself.