ESA Science & Technology 16 Jan 2018, 18:24 UTC ESA's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer – JUICE – passed an important milestone, the ground segment requirements review, with flying colours, demonstrating that the teams are on track in the preparation of the spacecraft operations needed to achieve the mission's ambitious science goals.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 16 Jan 2018, 15:00 UTC In 2014, astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope found that this enormous galaxy cluster contains the mass of a staggering three million billion suns — so it’s little wonder that it has earned the nickname of “El Gordo” (“the Fat One” in Spanish)! Known officially as ACT-CLJ0102-4915, it is the largest, hottest, and brightest X-ray galaxy cluster ever discovered in the distant Universe.
When Is The Next Eclipse? 15 Jan 2018, 18:45 UTC A Blue Supermoon Lunar Eclipse is coming. It’s a dream scenario for sensationalist websites, who are increasingly one-upping each other on how absolutely amazing they can frame an upcoming night sky event. So a Blue Supermoon Lunar Eclipse is a bit of a dream come true for the internet.
ESA Space Science 15 Jan 2018, 08:09 UTC Maybe you’re reading this caption while drinking a coffee. As you stir your drink with a spoon, vortices are produced in the liquid that decay into smaller eddies until they disappear entirely. This can be described as a cascade of vortices from large to small scales. Furthermore, the motion of the spoon brings the hot liquid into contact with the cooler air and so the heat from the coffee can escape more efficiently into the atmosphere, cooling it down. A similar effect occurs in space, in the electrically charged atomic particles – solar wind plasma – blown out by our Sun, but with one key difference: in space there is no air. Although the energy injected into the solar wind by the Sun is transferred to smaller scales in turbulent cascades, just like in your coffee, the temperature in the plasma is seen to increase because there is no cool air to stop it. How exactly the solar wind plasma is heated is a hot topic in space physics, because it is hotter than expected for an expanding gas and almost no collisions are present. Scientists have suggested that the cause of this heating may be hidden in the turbulent ...
Planetary Science Institute 15 Jan 2018, 07:00 UTC Dark surface features previously considered evidence of subsurface water flow on Mars have now been interpreted as being the result of dry, granular flows, according to a Nature Geoscience paper.
Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) 14 Jan 2018, 15:00 UTC Astronomers using ACAM on the William Herschel Telescope (WHT) report in a paper published in Nature Astronomy, the spectroscopic characterisation of ‘Oumuamua, finding it to be variable with time but similar to organically rich surfaces found in the outer Solar System. This is consistent with predictions of an insulating mantle produced by long-term cosmic ray exposure. This coating could have protected an ice-rich interior from being vaporised during its recent passage close to the Sun. An internal icy composition cannot therefore be ruled out by the lack of activity, even though ‘Oumuamua passed within 0.25 AU of the Sun.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Above and Beyond: NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission Surpasses Expectations Flying to New Heights in 201712 Jan 2018, 16:38 UTC In the cold vacuum of space, four satellites travel through the darkness, cruising around Earth at speeds up to 22,300 miles per hour. These spacecraft comprise NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, called MMS for short. Looking at electric and magnetic fields, hot plasmas, and high-energy particles, they have been charting the dynamic space environment around Earth for over two years. What they’ve discovered in 2017 is changing how we understand the magnetic environment protecting our planet.
Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation 12 Jan 2018, 10:38 UTC This news item is slightly edited from a University of Portsmouth press release, and a Sloan Digital Sky Survey press release. Research led led by ICG researcher Samantha Penny has found evidence that supermassive black holes prevent stars forming in some smaller galaxies, extending out understanding of how dwarf galaxies evolve.The results, presented at the 231st meeting of the American Astronomical Society, are particularly important because dwarf galaxies (those composed of a few million to several billion stars) are the most numerous galaxies in the Universe, far outnumbering bigger like the Milky Way. The physical processes affecting these small systems gives a more typical picture of the galaxy evolution.In any galaxy stars are born when clouds of gas collapse under the force of their own gravity. But stars don’t keep being born forever- star formation in galaxies can shut off. The reason for this differs between galaxies, but sometimes, the galaxy’s own central black hole is the culprit.Supermassive black holes can regulate their host galaxy’s ability to form new stars through a heating process. The black hole drives energy through powerful winds. When this wind hits the giant molecular clouds in which stars would form, it heats the gas, preventing ...
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 11 Jan 2018, 20:01 UTC Researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have found eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath Mars' surface are exposed in faces of eroding slopes. These eight scarps, with slopes as steep as 55 degrees, reveal new information about the internal layered structure of previously detected underground ice sheets in Mars' middle latitudes.