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
ESA Top News 20 Sep 2017, 11:40 UTC Proba-V captures Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt plain – its 10 500 sq km make it larger than some countries.
ESA Human Spaceflight and Exploration 20 Sep 2017, 09:00 UTC ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on a planetary geology course last week with a field trip to the Italian Dolomites.
ESA Science & Technology 20 Sep 2017, 08:00 UTC Delving deep into the history of our cosmos, the Herschel Space Observatory scrutinised hundreds of thousands of star-forming galaxies, peering back in time to when the Universe was less than one billion years old. These observations probed the peak epoch of stellar production, about ten billion years ago, when galaxies were forming stars roughly ten times faster than their present counterparts.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 19 Sep 2017, 11:37 UTC
Europlanet Research Infrastructure 19 Sep 2017, 05:00 UTC European Planetary Science Congress 2017 Press Notice Tuesday, 19th September What do we need to know to mine an asteroid? The mining of resources contained in asteroids, for use as propellant, building materials or in life-support systems, has the potential to revolutionise exploration of our Solar System. To make this concept a reality, we need to increase our knowledge of the very diverse population of accessible Near Earth Asteroids (NEA). Last year, dozens of the world’s leading asteroid scientists and asteroid mining entrepreneurs came together in Luxembourg to discuss key questions and identify scientific knowledge gaps. A White Paper outlining the results of that discussion, “Answers to Questions from the Asteroid Miners” will be presented at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2017 in Riga on Tuesday 19th September by Dr JL Galache and Dr Amara Graps. “Asteroid mining is this incredible intersection of science, engineering, entrepreneurship and imagination,” says Galache of Aten Engineering. “The problem is, it’s also a classic example of a relatively young scientific field in that the more we find out about asteroids through missions like Hayabusa and Rosetta, the more we realise that we don’t know.” The aim of the Asteroid Science Intersections with In-Space ...
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Universe Today 20 Sep 2017, 17:47 UTC In 2011, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft established orbit around the large asteroid (aka. planetoid) known as Vesta. Over the course of the next 14 months, the probe conducted detailed studies of Vesta’s surface with its suite of scientific instruments. These findings revealed much about the planetoid’s history, its surface features, and its structure – which is believed to be differentiated, like the rocky planets.
Starts With a Bang! 20 Sep 2017, 14:01 UTC This artist’s rendering shows a night view of the Extremely Large Telescope in operation on Cerro Armazones in northern Chile. The telescope is shown using lasers to create artificial stars high in the atmosphere. Image credit: ESO/L. Calçada.The ELT, at 39 meters in diameter, will dwarf everything that’s ever come before.“There are so many people who are arguing or fighting over issues which don’t have much relevance. We must all realise it is not worth it. It’s like being in the whirlpools which are always present behind a little rock near a river. We seem to be living in these little whirlpools and forget that there is a whole river. The picture is much bigger.” -Kalpana ChawlaIf you want to learn more about the Universe than you ever have before, there’s only so much you can do. You can improve your optics and your seeing, making your mirrors smoother and defect-free than ever before. You can improve your conditions, through adaptive optics or optimizing your observatory’s location. You can work on your camera/CCD/grism technology, to make the most of every single photon your telescope is capable of collecting. But even if you do all that, there’s one improvement that will ...
SPACE.com 20 Sep 2017, 11:50 UTC The double-star system V745 Sco is about 25,000 light-years from Earth, and consists of a big, aging red giant star and a small stellar core called a white dwarf. As they orbit each other, material from the red giant is pulled toward the white dwarf and falls onto its surface, eventually igniting bright nova explosions. In 2014, researchers spotted the system fading to 1/1000th of its brightness in optical light as an explosion died down.
EarthSky Blog 20 Sep 2017, 10:00 UTC In the faint southern constellation of Antlia (The Air Pump) the careful observer with binoculars will spot a very red star, which varies slightly in brightness from week to week. This very unusual star is called U Antliae and new observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) are revealing a remarkably thin spherical shell around it. U Antliae is a carbon star, an evolved, cool and luminous star of the asymptotic giant branch type. Around 2700 years ago, U Antliae went through a short period of rapid mass loss. During this period of only a few hundred years, the material making up the shell seen in the new ALMA data was ejected at high speed. Examination of this shell in further detail also shows some evidence of thin, wispy gas clouds known as filamentary substructures. This spectacular view was only made possible by the unique ability to create sharp images at multiple wavelengths that is provided by the ALMA radio telescope, located on the Chajnantor Plateau in Chile’s Atacama Desert. ALMA can see much finer structure in the U Antliae shell than has previously been possible. The new ALMA data are not just a single image; ALMA produces a ...
Space Fellowship 20 Sep 2017, 09:56 UTC Most photographs don’t adequately portray the magnificence of the Sun’s corona. Seeing the corona first-hand during a total solar eclipse is unparalleled. The human eye can adapt to see coronal features and extent that average cameras usually cannot. Welcome, however, to the digital age. The featured picture is a combination of forty exposures from one thousandth of a second to two seconds that, together, were digitally combined and processed to highlight faint features of the total solar eclipse that occurred in August of 2017. Clearly visible are intricate layers and glowing caustics of an ever changing mixture of hot gas and magnetic fields in the Sun’s corona. Looping prominences appear bright pink just past the Sun’s limb. Faint details on the night side of the New Moon can even be made out, illuminated by sunlight reflected from the dayside of the Full Earth.