Astronomy & Space News

  • Second ExoMars mission moves to next launch opportunity in 2020
    3 May 2016, 12:00 pm
    The mission’s board concluded that, taking into account the delays in European and Russian industrial activities and deliveries of the scientific payload, a launch in 2020 would be the best solution.
  • Ancient Volcanos Point to Extensive Ice on Mars
    3 May 2016, 12:00 pm
    Volcanoes erupted beneath an ice sheet on Mars billions of years ago, far from any ice sheet on the Red Planet today, new evidence from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests. The research about these volcanoes helps show there was extensive ice on ancient Mars. It also adds information about an environment combining heat and moisture, which could have provided favorable conditions for microbial life. Sheridan Ackiss of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, and collaborators used the
  • Although boiling, water does shape martian terrain
    2 May 2016, 12:00 pm
    A team of scientists has now shown that even though water that emerges onto the surface of Mars immediately begins to boil, it creates an unstable turbulent flow that can eject sediment and cause dry avalanches.
  • Three potentially habitable worlds found around nearby ultracool dwarf star
    2 May 2016, 12:00 pm
    These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the solar system.
  • An asteroid got knocked into a cometary orbit long ago
    30 April 2016, 1:00 am
    From asteroid belt to Oort Cloud, C/2014 S3 may be an important relic of the early solar system.
  • Powerful winds spotted from mysterious X-ray binaries
    29 April 2016, 12:00 pm
    The XMM-Newton satellite has discovered gas streaming away at a quarter of the speed of light from bright X-ray binaries in two nearby galaxies.
  • Fermi helps link cosmic neutrino to blazar blast
    28 April 2016, 12:00 pm
    NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope helped astronomers connect a blazar's outburst to Big Bird, one of the most powerful neutrino events ever detected.
  • Astronomers Spy a Massive Supernova in a Nearby Galaxy
    27 April 2016, 11:00 pm
    A giant star that exploded 30 million years ago in a galaxy near Earth had a radius prior to going supernova that was 200 times larger than our sun, according to astrophysicists at Southern Methodist University, Dallas. The sudden blast hurled material outward from the star at a speed of 10,000 kilometers a second. That's equivalent to 36 million kilometers an hour or 22.4 million miles an hour, said SMU physicist Govinda Dhungana, lead author on the new analysis. The comprehensive analysis of t
  • Curiosity leaves rough terrain for smoother, science rich lakebed
    27 April 2016, 12:00 pm
    NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has nearly finished crossing a stretch of the most rugged and difficult-to-navigate terrain encountered during the mission's 44 months on Mars. The rover climbed onto the Naukluft Plateau of lower Mount Sharp in early March after spending several weeks investigating sand dunes. The plateau's sandstone bedrock has been carved by eons of wind erosion into ridges and knobs. The path of about a quarter mile (400 meters) westward across it is taking Curiosity toward smooth
  • SpaceX Reportedly Sets Its Sites on Mars 'As Soon as 2018'
    27 April 2016, 12:00 pm
    In a tweet, the company says it's prepared to send a Dragon to Mars within the decade.
  • Planet Nine: A world that shouldn't exist
    3 May 2016, 7:15 pm
    Earlier this year scientists presented evidence for Planet Nine, a Neptune-mass planet in an elliptical orbit 10 times farther from our Sun than Pluto. Since then theorists have puzzled over how this planet could end up in such a distant orbit. New research examines a number of scenarios and finds that most of them have low probabilities. Therefore, the presence of Planet Nine remains a bit of a mystery.
  • Three potentially habitable worlds found around nearby ultracool dwarf star
    2 May 2016, 5:14 pm
    Astronomers have discovered three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the Solar System. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a tiny and dim star.
  • Unique fragment from Earth's formation returns after billions of years in cold storage
    30 April 2016, 1:28 am
    Astronomers have found a unique object that appears to be made of inner solar system material from the time of Earth's formation, billions of years ago. Observations show that C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS) is the first object to be discovered on a long-period cometary orbit that has the characteristics of a pristine inner solar system asteroid. It may help understanding how the solar system formed.
  • Winds a quarter the speed of light spotted leaving mysterious binary systems
    28 April 2016, 4:28 pm
    Astronomers have observed two black holes in nearby galaxies devouring their companion stars at an extremely high rate, and spitting out matter at a quarter the speed of light.
  • Are we alone? Setting some limits to our planet's uniqueness
    28 April 2016, 3:53 pm
    Are humans unique and alone in the vast universe? This question -- summed up in the famous Drake equation -- has for a half-century been one of the most intractable and uncertain in science. But a new article shows that the recent discoveries of exoplanets combined with a broader approach to the question makes it possible to assign a new empirically valid probability to whether any other advanced technological civilizations have ever existed.
  • Possible extragalactic source of high-energy neutrinos
    28 April 2016, 3:49 pm
    Nearly 10 billion years ago in a galaxy known as PKS B1424-418, a dramatic explosion occurred. Light from this blast began arriving at Earth in 2012. Now, an international team of astronomers have shown that a record-breaking neutrino seen around the same time likely was born in the same event.
  • Rare transit of Mercury to take place on 9 May
    27 April 2016, 9:12 pm
    On 9 May there will be a rare transit of Mercury, when the smallest planet in our Solar System will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun. The last time this happened was in 2006, and the next two occasions will be in 2019 and 2032. During the transit, which takes place in the afternoon and early evening in the UK, Mercury will appear as a dark silhouetted disk against the bright surface of the Sun.
  • Hubble discovers moon orbiting the dwarf planet Makemake
    26 April 2016, 8:49 pm
    Peering to the outskirts of our solar system, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a small, dark moon orbiting Makemake, the second brightest icy dwarf planet -- after Pluto -- in the Kuiper Belt.
  • Nearby massive star explosion 30 million years ago equaled detonation of 100 million suns
    26 April 2016, 8:49 pm
    A giant star that exploded 30 million years ago in a galaxy near Earth had a radius prior to going supernova that was 200 times larger than our sun, say astrophysicists. The massive explosion, Supernova 2013ej, was one of the closest to Earth in recent years. Comprehensive analysis of the exploding star's light curve and color spectrum found its sudden blast hurled material outward at 10,000 kilometers a second.
  • Cassini explores a methane sea on Titan
    26 April 2016, 7:46 pm
    A new study finds that a large sea on Saturn's moon Titan is composed mostly of pure liquid methane, independently confirming an earlier result. The seabed may be covered in a sludge of carbon- and nitrogen-rich material, and its shores may be surrounded by wetlands.

 

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Copyright © 2016 Alfonso Fernandez-Barandiaran