Astronomy & Space News

  • Cassini watches mysterious feature evolve in hydrocarbon sea on Saturn's moon Titan
    29 September 2014, 6:32 pm
    NASA's Cassini spacecraft is monitoring the evolution of a mysterious feature in a large hydrocarbon sea on Saturn's moon Titan. The feature covers an area of about 100 square miles (260 square kilometers) in Ligeia Mare, one of the largest seas on Titan. It has now been observed twice by Cassini's radar experiment, but its appearance changed between the two apparitions.
  • Simulations reveal an unusual death for ancient stars
    29 September 2014, 3:05 pm
    Certain primordial stars -- between 55,000 and 56,000 times the mass of our sun, or solar masses -- may have died unusually. In death, these objects -- among the universe's first generation of stars -- would have exploded as supernovae and burned completely, leaving no remnant black hole behind.
  • New molecule found in space connotes life origins
    27 September 2014, 3:36 am
    Hunting from a distance of 27,000 light years, astronomers have discovered an unusual carbon-based molecule contained within a giant gas cloud in interstellar space. The discovery suggests that the complex molecules needed for life may have their origins in interstellar space.
  • 'Milky Way explorer' tours the solar system
    26 September 2014, 9:04 pm
    Imagine seeing the Sun, planets, and a myriad other objects in our Solar System as you have never seen them before -- in invisible radio light! The National Radio Astronomy Observatory released a new Solar System installment of its Milky Way Explorer.
  • Turning the Moon into a cosmic ray detector
    26 September 2014, 2:58 pm
    Scientists are to turn the Moon into a giant particle detector to help understand the origin of Ultra-High-Energy (UHE) cosmic rays -- the most energetic particles in the Universe. The origin of UHE cosmic rays is one of the great mysteries in astrophysics. Nobody knows where these extremely rare cosmic rays come from or how they get their enormous energies. Physicists detect them on Earth at a rate of less than one particle per square kilometer per century.
  • Earth's water is older than the sun: Likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space
    25 September 2014, 8:12 pm
    Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth's water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere. New work found that much of our solar system's water likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space.
  • A galaxy of deception: Hubble snaps what looks like a young galaxy in the local Universe
    25 September 2014, 4:21 pm
    Astronomers usually have to peer very far into the distance to see back in time, and view the Universe as it was when it was young. This new image of galaxy DDO 68, otherwise known as UGC 5340, was thought to offer an exception. This ragged collection of stars and gas clouds looks at first glance like a recently-formed galaxy in our own cosmic neighborhood. But, is it really as young as it looks?
  • Most metal-poor star hints at universe's first supernovae
    24 September 2014, 7:50 pm
    In a new study, researchers point out that the elemental abundance of the most iron-poor star can be explained by elements ejected from supernova explosions of the universe's first stars. This reveals that massive stars, which are several tens of times more immense than the Sun, were present among the first stars.
  • Clear skies on exo-Neptune: Smallest exoplanet ever found to have water vapor
    24 September 2014, 7:50 pm
    Astronomers have discovered clear skies and steamy water vapor on a planet outside our Solar System. The planet, known as HAT-P-11b, is about the size of Neptune, making it the smallest exoplanet ever on which water vapor has been detected.
  • India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft successfully inserted into orbit around Red Planet
    24 September 2014, 4:25 pm
    India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft successfully entered into an orbit around the planet Mars this morning (Sept. 24, 2014) by firing its 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) along with eight smaller liquid engines. In the coming weeks, the spacecraft will be thoroughly tested in Mars orbit and the systematic observation of the planet using the spacecraft's five scientific instruments is expected to begin.

 

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Copyright © 2014 Alfonso Fernandez-Barandiaran