Space


- Astronomers have developed a new way to capture all the exquisite 'layer-cake' details of a brown dwarf's cloud structure. Because brown dwarfs are similar to super-Jupiters, this innovative technique can help deepen scientists' understanding of the atmospheres of giant alien worlds that are more massive than Jupiter. Jupiter may be the bully planet of our solar system because it's the most massive planet, but it's actually a runt compared to many of the giant planets found around other stars. ... [Read More]


- For the first time ever, astronomers have directly detected light from behind a supermassive black hole . The discovery proves Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity was right — again . Using the European Space Agency 's XMM-Newton and NASA's NuSTAR space telescopes, researchers were observing the black hole as it flung X-rays out into the universe. The black hole is about 10 million times more massive than our sun, and is located in the center of a nearby spiral galaxy called I ... [Read More]

Source: cbsnews.com

- Astronomers have captured the first-ever spin measurements of planets making up the HR 8799 star system. Discovered in 2008 by the W. M. Keck Observatory and Gemini Observatory, which are both located in Hawaii, the HR 8799 star system is located 129 light-years away and has four so-called super-Jupiter planets, each more massive than Jupiter. HR 8799 is one of the first planetary systems to have its picture directly taken by a telescope. However, none of the HR 8799 planets' rotation periods, ... [Read More]

Source: phys.org

- Now might be the time to wipe the dust off that pair of binoculars and extract the family telescope from the back of the closet: Saturn is about to put on its best and brightest show, looking spiffier than at any time during the year – a performance that will be followed a few weeks later by Jupiter. The ringed planet will be at opposition on Sunday for people in North America. What exactly does that mean? Imagine Earth and Saturn are hands on a clock face, says Phil Plait , an astronomer and ... [Read More]

Source: npr.org

- Three studies published in the past month have cast doubt on the premise of subsurface lakes below the Martian south pole. Where there's water, there's life. That's the case on Earth, at least, and also why scientists remain tantalized by any evidence suggesting there's liquid water on cold, dry Mars. The Red Planet is a difficult place to look for liquid water: While water ice is plentiful, any water warm enough to be liquid on the surface would last for only a few moments before turning into ... [Read More]

Source: phys.org

- Astronomers have discovered thousands of exoplanets — planets beyond our solar system — but few have been directly imaged, because they are extremely difficult to see with existing telescopes. A University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA) graduate student has beaten the odds and discovered a directly imaged exoplanet , and it’s the closest one to Earth ever found, at a distance of only 35 light years. Using the COol Companions ON Ultrawide orbiTS (COCONUTS) survey, IfA graduate ... [Read More]


- A new study from scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) suggests that previously displaced gases can re-accrete onto galaxies, potentially slowing down the process of galaxy death caused by ram pressure stripping, and creating unique structures more resistant to its effects. "Much of the previous work on ram pressure stripped galaxies is focused on the material that gets stripped out of galaxies. In this new work we see some gas that rather than being thrown ... [Read More]

Source: phys.org

- About 66 million years ago, a gigantic object crashed into the Earth, triggering a mass extinction that took out the dinosaurs. Now, scientists from Southwest Research Institute say they’ve traced the culprit back to its point of origin, identifying it as a “dark primitive asteroid.” The end of the Cretaceous period came to a sudden end when an impactor some 10 km (6.2 miles) wide slammed into what is now the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. That would have set off a global cascade of ... [Read More]

Source: newatlas.com

- The NEID spectrometer, a new tool for the discovery of planets outside of our solar system, has now started its scientific mission at the WIYN 3.5m telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona. "We are proud that NEID is available to the worldwide astronomical community for exoplanet discovery and characterization," said Jason Wright, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State and NEID project scientist. "I can’t wait to see the results we and our colleagues around the ... [Read More]


- A newly discovered disk of cosmic dust around a faraway exoplanet could one day become something more. The cosmos has a knack for making something out of very little. It molds stars from clouds of dust and gas, planets from the residue left over from the creation of stars, and moons from the scattered fragments around newly glazed planets. The universe spins cosmic matter around, guided by the forces of gravity, shaping the celestial figures that fill the expanse. Astronomers, with the help of ... [Read More]


- When the titans of space — galaxy clusters — collide, extraordinary things can happen. A new study using ">NASA ’s Chandra X-ray Observatory examines the repercussions after two galaxy clusters clashed. Galaxy clusters are the largest structures in the Universe held together by gravity, containing hundreds or even thousands of individual galaxies immersed in giant oceans of superheated gas. In galaxy clusters, the normal matter — like the atoms that make up the stars, planets, and ... [Read More]


- The space rocks may have come from beyond Neptune, and potentially offer hints at the chaos of the early solar system. Two red things are hiding in a part of the solar system where they shouldn’t be. Scientists led by Sunao Hasegawa from JAXA, the Japanese space agency, reported in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on Monday that two objects spotted in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter appear to have originated beyond Neptune. The discoveries could one day provide direct evidence of ... [Read More]

Source: nytimes.com

- Using the SPIRou spectropolarimeter on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii, a team led by Stefan Pelletier, a PhD student at Université de Montréal's Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx), studied the atmosphere of the gas giant exoplanet Tau Boötis b, a scorching hot world that takes a mere three days to orbit its host star. Their detailed analysis, presented in a paper published today in the Astronomical Journal , shows that the atmosphere of the gaseous planet contains ... [Read More]

Source: phys.org

- The Moon, Venus, and Jupiter line up beneath the Earth in this photo taken by astronaut Scott Kelly aboard the International Space Station. The solar system whips up some wild weather. Entrées include Jupiter’s newly discovered "meteorological beast," Neptune’s recent giant storm reversal, and Titan’s methane floods. The Coriolis effect, polar jets, cyclones, and precipitation may spice up the recipe, all rely on the same basic ingredients we have here on Earth: atmosphere, heat flux, ... [Read More]


- NASA has detected water vapor for the very first time in the atmosphere of Ganymede — not only Jupiter's largest moon, but the largest moon in our entire solar system. Researchers made the discovery using both new and archival data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, which is back in action after a computer anomaly suddenly shut down the 32-year-old system for a month. They published their findings this week in the journal Nature Astronomy . According to NASA , the water vapor on Ganymede ... [Read More]

Source: cbsnews.com

- Controversial physicist Avi Loeb is on the hunt for aliens again. His new Galileo Project is setting out to look for any extraterrestrial technology, by tracking unexplained oddities in the sky, studying interstellar objects that whiz through the solar system, and even the extremely remote possibility that alien satellites might be watching us from Earth orbit. The odds are astronomical that Earth is the only planet in the universe with life on it – but so far no conclusive evidence of aliens ... [Read More]

Source: newatlas.com