Universe Today 27 Jan 2021, 16:03 UTC In 1995, NASA’s Galileo mission dropped a probe into the atmosphere of Jupiter and found it to be far drier than expected. In 2020, NASA’s follow-up mission Juno explained the mystery: it involves mushballs.
Illuminated Universe 27 Jan 2021, 11:00 UTC Exploring how galaxies change with time requires the study of how visible light and non-visible radiation are interconnected. With the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) we can map, often in light the human eye can detect, the regions in the disk of a spiral galaxy where young stars reside and simultaneously, massive stars die. Yet invisible to our eyes, and traced by radio telescopes such as the Very Large Array (VLA), are vast halos of radiation that are intimately related to these so-called star-forming regions. The radio data inform us that the halo “light” is generated by negatively charged particles, called electrons, that are in motion at almost the speed of light. Indeed the data show that some of this motion is caused by the electrons slithering in a spiral trajectory around magnetic field lines. Some of these lines extend vertically away from the disk of a galaxy for several thousand light-years. But where do the electrons in the radio halo come from? We know that vast quantities of electrons are produced in explosive stellar deaths, called supernovae, in the disk of galaxies. In order to test the hypothesis that these electrons are dragged and pushed out of a galaxy’s disk ...
Universe Today 26 Jan 2021, 19:36 UTC Budget constraints are a major consideration for every space program throughout the world. Lately, NASA has taken a particularly bold approach, by not only innovating through novel ideas that could do great science, but innovating with the way they fund those missions. A good example of this innovation is the Astrophysics Pioneers program, which is a NASA fund program targeted at early- to mid-career researchers. The interesting thing about the program is that the overall budget for each project is capped at $20 million. Now, the program has selected its first four projects to move ahead to its second stage.
NASA: Universe News 26 Jan 2021, 15:48 UTC On May 10, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will say farewell to asteroid Bennu and begin its journey back to Earth. During its Oct. 20, 2020, sample collection event, the spacecraft collected a substantial amount of material from Bennu’s surface, likely exceeding the mission’s requirement of 2 ounces (60 grams). The spacecraft is scheduled to deliver the sample to Earth on Sep. 24, 2023.
Universe Today 26 Jan 2021, 09:32 UTC Planetary nebulae are the most beautiful objects in the night sky. Their gossamer shells of gas are otherworldly and evocative. They captivate the eye, and viewers need no scientific knowledge to get drawn in. How are they created, and why do they look so beautiful?
Universe Today 25 Jan 2021, 16:56 UTC The TRAPPIST-1 system has long be studied by exoplanet hunters due to its unique quantity of planets that happen to also be Earth sized. In a recent paper, a team of scientists led by Erik Agol at the University of Washington, dove into more detail on the density of the seven known planets in the system, and, surprisingly, found that they were all very similar.
Universe Today 25 Jan 2021, 00:32 UTC Fifty years ago, English mathematical physicist and Nobel-prize winner Roger Penrose proposed that energy could be extracted from the space around a rotating black hole. Known as the ergosphere, this region lies just outside an event horizon, the boundary within which nothing can escape a black hole’s gravitational pull (even light). It is also here where infalling matter is accelerated to incredible speeds and emits all kinds of energy.
Starts With a Bang! 22 Jan 2021, 15:02 UTC We have two ways of measuring the expansion rate. Here’s the harder one.