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
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 21 Sep 2017, 14:06 UTC Cambridge, MA - When fast radio bursts, or FRBs, were first detected in 2001, astronomers had never seen anything like them before. Since then, astronomers have found a couple of dozen FRBs, but they still don’t know what causes these rapid and powerful bursts of radio emission.
Europlanet Research Infrastructure 21 Sep 2017, 10:00 UTC European Planetary Science Congress 2017 Press Notice Thursday, 21st September Solar eruption ‘photobombed’ Mars encounter with Comet Siding Spring When Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) passed just 140,000 kilometres from Mars on 19th October 2014, depositing a large amount of debris in the martian atmosphere, space agencies coordinated multiple spacecraft to witness the largest meteor shower in recorded history. It was a rare opportunity, as this kind of planetary event occurs only once every 100,000 years. However, scientists analysing the data have found that a very powerful Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) launched by the Sun also arrived at Mars 44 hours before the comet, creating significant disturbances in the martian upper atmosphere and complicating analysis of the data. Results describing the combined effects of the comet and the CME throughout the martian atmosphere are being presented in a special session at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2017 in Riga on Thursday, 21st September. Dr Beatriz Sanchez-Cano, of the University of Leicester and co-organiser of the session, explains: “Comet Siding Spring flew very close to Mars, at one third of the Earth-Moon distance. This is one of the most exciting planetary events that we’ll see in our lifetime. Mars was ...
SETI Institute 20 Sep 2017, 21:25 UTC Presented by the SETI Institute and SRI, the next SETI Talks will feature SETI Institute scientist Matt Tiscareno. Matt has been working on Cassini since 2004, studying Saturn’s rings using images from the main camera. In the past few years, Matt took a leading role in planning Cassini’s close-up images of Saturn’s rings during the Ring Grazing Orbits and the Grand Finale.
HubbleSite NewsCenter -- Latest News Releases 20 Sep 2017, 17:00 UTC An Asteroid That Split in Two 5,000 Years Ago Is Spouting a Comet Tail Astronomers categorize the minor bodies in the solar system according to their location and physical composition. Comets are a loose collection of ice and dust that fall in toward the Sun from beyond the orbits of the major planets, and grow long tails of dust and gas along the way. Asteroids are rocky or metallic and are relegated to a zone between Mars and Jupiter. But nature isn't that tidy. The Hubble Space Telescope photographed a pair of asteroids orbiting each other that have a tail of dust, which is definitely a comet-like feature. The odd object, called 2006 VW139/288P, is the first known binary asteroid that is also classified as a main-belt comet. Roughly 5,000 years ago, 2006 VW139/288P probably broke into two pieces due to a fast rotation.
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.
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Sky and Telescope 21 Sep 2017, 18:05 UTC Particles traveling at fair fractions of the speed of light hit Earth all the time. These ridiculously energetic entities, called cosmic rays, are protons and larger atomic nuclei from space. Their energies range from about a billion to beyond 10 million trillion electron volts (109 to 1020 eV), or up to 10 million times higher than the energy at which the Large Hadron Collider smashes protons together. (Incidentally, this is why we know the LHC won’t create dangerous microscopic black holes.) Astronomers think the lower-energy cosmic rays (which are far more common) come from within the Milky Way, particularly from star-forming regions and supernova remnants. The more energetic ones — we’re talking 1,000 trillion eV — are thought to come from outside the galaxy.
Scientific American 21 Sep 2017, 17:00 UTC The encounter will give the spacecraft a boost on its deep-space trip to fetch samples from the asteroid Bennu
Centauri Dreams 21 Sep 2017, 15:11 UTC If New Horizons can make its flyby of Kuiper Belt Object MU69 at a scant 3500 kilometers, our imagery and other data should be much enhanced over the alternative 10,000 kilometer distance, one being kept in reserve in case pre-encounter observations indicate a substantial debris field or other problems close to the object. But both trajectories, according to principal investigator Alan Stern, have been moved closer following a ten-week study period, and both are closer than the 12,500 kilometers the spacecraft maintained in its flyby of Pluto.
NPR 21 Sep 2017, 13:51 UTC A project called the Event Horizon Telescope is analyzing data taken earlier this year using interferometry — and we may be remarkably close to "seeing" a black hole, says astrophysicist Adam Frank.(Image credit: J.A. Biretta, Hubble Heritage Team/NASA)
SPACE.com 21 Sep 2017, 12:11 UTC NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is zooming through the outer solar system with its eyes open once again. New Horizons woke from a five-month hibernation period — its first stretch of rest since before its epic Pluto flyby in July 2015 — last week, right on schedule, mission team members said.
SPACE.com 21 Sep 2017, 12:00 UTC Not one but two gigantic black holes lurk at the heart of the distant spiral galaxy NGC 7674, a new study suggests. These two supermassive black holes are separated by less than 1 light-year and together harbor about 40 million times the mass of the sun, researchers said.