Astronomy & Space News

  • NASA spacecraft becomes first to orbit a dwarf planet
    6 March 2015, 4:28 pm
    NASA's Dawn spacecraft has become the first mission to achieve orbit around a dwarf planet. The spacecraft was approximately 38,000 miles (61,000) kilometers from Ceres when it was captured by the dwarf planet's gravity at about 4:39 a.m. PST (7:39 a.m. EST) Friday.
  • 'Habitable' planet GJ 581d previously dismissed as noise probably does exist
    6 March 2015, 4:26 pm
    A new report has dismissed claims made last year that the first super-Earth planet discovered in the habitable zone of a distant star was 'stellar activity masquerading as planets.' The researchers are confident the planet named GJ 581d, identified in 2009 orbiting the star Gliese 581, does exist, and that last year's claim was triggered by inadequate analysis of the data.
  • Black holes and dark sector explained by quantum gravity
    6 March 2015, 3:16 pm
    A quantum version of General Relativity demonstrates that dark energy and dark matter are different manifestations of gravity. The theory calculates the precise value of the cosmological constant, derives the baryonic Tully-Fisher relation, gives a quantum description of Black Holes and calculates the baryonic mass content of the observable universe.
  • Mars: The planet that lost an ocean's worth of water
    5 March 2015, 8:04 pm
    A primitive ocean on Mars held more water than Earth's Arctic Ocean, and covered a greater portion of the planet's surface than the Atlantic Ocean does on Earth, according to new results published today. An international team of scientists used ESO's Very Large Telescope, along with instruments at the W. M. Keck Observatory and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, to monitor the atmosphere of the planet and map out the properties of the water in different parts of Mars's atmosphere over a six-year period. These new maps are the first of their kind.
  • Hubble sees supernova split into four images by cosmic lens
    5 March 2015, 8:04 pm
    Astronomers have spotted for the first time a distant supernova split into four images. The multiple images of the exploding star are caused by the powerful gravity of a foreground elliptical galaxy embedded in a massive cluster of galaxies.
  • Einstein put to the test: Satellite mission on dark energy and theory of gravitation
    5 March 2015, 5:03 pm
    Physicists have gained new insights into dark energy and the theory of gravitation by analyzing data from the "Planck" satellite mission of the European Space Agency (ESA). Their results demonstrate that the standard model of cosmology remains an excellent description of the universe. Yet when the Planck data is combined with other astronomical observations, several deviations emerge. Further studies must determine whether these anomalies are due to measurement uncertainties or undiscovered physical correlations, which would also challenge Einstein's theory of gravitation. Thus, the analysis of the Planck data gives major impetus for research during future space missions.
  • Rapid changes observed in a comet’s plasma tail
    5 March 2015, 2:06 pm
    Images from a December 2013 observation of the comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) reveal clear details about rapidly changing activity in that comet's plasma tail. Astronomers zoomed in to within 0.8 million kilometers of the comet's plasma tail, resulted in gaining precious knowledge regarding the extreme activity in that tail as the comet neared the Sun.
  • Galactic 'rain' explains why some galaxies are better at creating stars
    4 March 2015, 9:26 pm
    Some of the galaxies in our universe are veritable star nurseries. For example, our own Milky Way produces, on average, at least one new star every year. Others went barren years ago, now producing few if any new stars. Why that happens is a question that has dogged astronomers for years. But now, more than 20 years of research has culminated in what might be the answer to that elusive question.
  • Why isn't the universe as bright as it should be?
    4 March 2015, 8:15 pm
    A handful of new stars are born each year in the Milky Way, while many more blink on across the universe. But astronomers have observed that galaxies should be churning out millions more stars, based on the amount of interstellar gas available. This study explains why galaxies don't churn out as many stars as they should.
  • Planet 'reared' by four parent stars
    4 March 2015, 7:22 pm
    Growing up as a planet with more than one parent star has its challenges. Though the planets in our solar system circle just one star -- our sun -- other more distant planets, called exoplanets, can be reared in families with two or more stars. Researchers wanting to know more about the complex influences of multiple stars on planets have come up with two new case studies: a planet found to have three parents, and another with four.

 

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Copyright © 2014 Alfonso Fernandez-Barandiaran