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16 Oct 2019, 17:00 UTC ** Synopsis: For the first time, astronomers using ALMA have witnessed 3D motions of gas in a planet-forming disk. At three locations in the disk around a young star called HD 163296, gas is flowing like a waterfall into gaps that are most likely caused by planets in formation. These gas flows have long been predicted and would directly influence the chemical composition of planet atmospheres. This research is published in the latest issue of the journal Nature. **The birthplaces of planets are disks made out of gas and dust. Astronomers study these so-called protoplanetary disksProtoplanetary DiskThe swirling disk of dust and gas that collapsed from a much larger cloud of material that will eventually evolve into a fully fledged planetary system. Features in the disk may already herald the presence of young planets. to understand the processes of planet formation. Beautiful images of disks made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)Funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and its international partners (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ), ALMA is among the most complex and powerful astronomical observatories on Earth or in space. The telescope is an array of 66 high-precision dish antennas in northern Chile. See more here show ... Next Previous
15 Oct 2019, 17:00 UTC At the center of a galaxy called NGC 1068, a supermassive black hole hides within a thick doughnut-shaped cloud of dust and gas. When astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)Funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and its international partners (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ), ALMA is among the most complex and powerful astronomical observatories on Earth or in space. The telescope is an array of 66 high-precision dish antennas in northern Chile. See more here to study this cloud in more detail, they made an unexpected discovery that could explain why supermassive black holes grew so rapidly in the early Universe. “Thanks to the spectacular resolution of ALMA, we measured the movement of gas in the inner orbits around the black hole,” explains Violette Impellizzeri of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), working at ALMA in Chile and lead author on a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal. “Surprisingly, we found two disks of gas rotating in opposite directions.”Supermassive black holes already existed when the Universe was young – just a billion years after the Big Bang. But how these extreme objects, whose masses are up to billions of times the mass of the Sun, had time ... Next Previous
ESA Space Science 21 Nov 2019, 10:00 UTC This image from ESA’s Mars Express shows a region of Mars named Deuteronilus Mensae. This oblique perspective view was generated using a digital terrain model and Mars Express data gathered on 25 February 2018 during orbit 17913. The ground resolution is approximately 13 m/pixel and the images are centred at about 25.5°E/44°N. This image was created using data from the nadir and colour channels of the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). The nadir channel is aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, as if looking straight down at the surface.
Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe 21 Nov 2019, 02:33 UTC After a decade-long search, an international team of researchers including the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) have for the first time detected a gamma-ray burst in very-high-energy gamma light. This discovery was made in July 2018 by the H.E.S.S. collaboration using the huge 28-m telescope of the H.E.S.S. array in Namibia. Surprisingly, this Gamma-ray burst, an extremely energetic flash following a cosmological cataclysm, was found to emit very-high-energy gamma-rays long after the initial explosion.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 20 Nov 2019, 18:00 UTC A pair of distant explosions discovered by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory have produced the highest-energy light yet seen from these events, called gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). The record-setting detections, made by two different ground-based observatories, provide new insights into the mechanisms driving gamma-ray bursts.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 18 Nov 2019, 18:00 UTC LISA Pathfinder, a mission led by ESA (the European Space Agency) that included NASA contributions, successfully demonstrated technologies needed to build a future space-based gravitational wave observatory, a tool for detecting ripples in space-time produced by, among other things, merging black holes. A team of NASA scientists leveraged LISA Pathfinder's record-setting sensitivity for a different purpose much closer to home — mapping microscopic dust shed by comets and asteroids.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 18 Nov 2019, 17:11 UTC The first map showing the global geology of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, has been completed and fully reveals a dynamic world of dunes, lakes, plains, craters and other terrains.
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Forbes articles by Brian Koberlein 21 Nov 2019, 11:28 UTC Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) are incredibly bright flashes of gamma-ray light. Within only a few seconds they can release more energy than the Sun will emit in its lifetime. About 30% of them are short bursts, lasting less than two seconds. The other 70% are long bursts and can last up to a couple of hours. The tremendous power and short duration of GRBs make them difficult to study, but recent observations[^1] have helped us understand how they occur.
Nanowerk Space Exploration News 21 Nov 2019, 10:10 UTC Researchers from Tohoku University, Hokkaido University, JAMSTEC, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center investigated meteorites and found ribose and other sugars. These sugars possessed distinct carbon-isotope compositions, differing from terrestrial biological sugars, indicating their extraterrestrial origin.
Universe Today 20 Nov 2019, 18:33 UTC NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover is heading to Mars soon to look for fossils. The ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars rover is heading to Mars in the same time-frame to carry out its own investigations into Martian habitability. To meet their mission objectives, the scientists working the missions will need to look at a lot of rocks and uncover and understand the clues those rocks hold.
Bad Astronomy 20 Nov 2019, 14:00 UTC A new paper just published by scientists from various NASA and the National Nuclear Security Administration labs looks at the best way to prevent an impact from an asteroid headed toward Earth. Their conclusion: Above a certain size, roughly 300 meters across or so, the best thing to do is nuke it. Seriously! But not for the reason you think.
Scientific American 20 Nov 2019, 11:45 UTC Fluctuating levels of the atmospheric gas, a potential tracer of alien life, have left researchers mystified
Universe Today 20 Nov 2019, 10:05 UTC NASA has been rather up-front about its desire to send astronauts back to the Moon and on to Mars in the coming years. They are joined by multiple space agencies (such as the ESA, Roscosmos, the CNSA and the IRSO) who also wish to conduct their first crewed missions beyond Earth. However, what is often overlooked is the role teleoperated missions will play in the near-future – where humans and robots explore hand-in-hand.