NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 27 Jul 2017, 17:53 UTC Steps forward in the search for life beyond Earth can be as simple as sending a balloon into the sky. In one of the most unique and extensive eclipse observation campaigns ever attempted, NASA is collaborating with student teams across the U.S. to do just that.
ESO Top News 27 Jul 2017, 10:00 UTC Using new observations from ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope, astronomers have discovered three different populations of young stars within the Orion Nebula Cluster. This unexpected discovery adds very valuable new insights for the understanding of how such clusters form. It suggests that star formation might proceed in bursts, where each burst occurs on a much faster time-scale than previously thought.
Keck Observatory 26 Jul 2017, 20:54 UTC
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 26 Jul 2017, 18:02 UTC
NASA's Ames Research Center News and Features 26 Jul 2017, 14:00 UTC Things look different on the Moon. Literally. Because the Moon isn't big enough to hold a significant atmosphere, there is no air and there are no particles in the air to reflect and scatter sunlight. On Earth, shadows in otherwise bright environments are dimly lit with indirect light from these tiny reflections. That lighting provides enough detail that we get an idea of shapes, holes and other features that could be obstacles to someone – or some robot – trying to maneuver in shadow.
ESA Space Science 26 Jul 2017, 13:00 UTC The international Cassini-Huygens mission has made a surprising detection of a molecule that is instrumental in the production of complex organics within the hazy atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan.
MIT 26 Jul 2017, 03:59 UTC Lindy Elkins-Tanton ’87, SM ’87, PhD ’02 is reaching for the stars — literally. She is the principal investigator for Psyche, a NASA mission that will explore an unusual metal asteroid known as 16 Psyche. The mission does not launch until 2023, but preparations have begun in collaboration with faculty in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). Professors Benjamin Weiss and Maria Zuber, who also serves as MIT's vice president for research, wrote a paper about the asteroid with Elkins-Tanton that was the basis for the team’s selection for NASA’s Discovery Program. MIT Professor Richard Binzel is also a team member. At MIT, Elkins-Tanton earned BS and MS degrees in geology and geochemistry with a concentration on how planets form. Then she detoured from academia to the business world before becoming a college lecturer in mathematics in 1995. “I realized that in academia, you have this incredible privilege of always being able to ask a harder, bigger question, so you never get bored, and you have the opportunity to inspire students to do more in their lives,” says Elkins-Tanton. She returned to MIT to earn a PhD in geology and geophysics, and for the next decade after ...
MIT 25 Jul 2017, 19:35 UTC Molecular gas is the raw material which fuels star formation throughout the universe. Now, using the revolutionary Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) telescope, an international team of scientists has conducted one of the largest studies of molecular gas in distant galaxy clusters — rare conglomerations containing hundreds of galaxies, trillions of stars, and dark matter. Scientists from the Spitzer Adaptation of the Red-sequence Cluster Survey (SpARCS) collaboration observed the galaxies within these distant clusters as they were when the universe was only 4 billion years old. They found that they harbor larger molecular gas reservoirs compared to galaxies in found in more typical isolated environments with fewer galaxy neighbors, known as field galaxies. “We expected to find molecular gas deficiencies in these cluster galaxies compared to the field,” says lead author Allison Noble, a postdoc at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. “Galaxies in nearby clusters are dead, lacking star formation activity and with little to no molecular gas. In these distant clusters, we are instead detecting gas-rich galaxies, but their star formation rates are on par with field galaxies.” The results were recently published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Noble is a member of the research ...