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Scientists get first glimpse of black hole eating star, ejecting high-speed flare
on Fri, 27 Nov 2015 10:17:21 EST:
An international team of astrophysicists has for the first time witnessed a star being swallowed by a black hole and ejecting a flare of matter moving at nearly the speed of light.
Looking for cosmic superaccelerators
on Thu, 26 Nov 2015 10:42:09 EST:
The Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, an international large-scale experiment to study cosmic rays, will be continued until 2025 and extended to "AugerPrime". The observatory will be upgraded with new scintillation detectors for a more detailed measurement of gigantic air showers. This is required to identify cosmic objects that accelerate atomic particles up to highest energies.
Comet fragments best explanation of mysterious dimming star
on Wed, 25 Nov 2015 08:41:08 EST:
Astronomers have responded to the buzz about a mysterious dimming star by studying data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. They conclude the dimming was probably caused by a family of comets passing in front of the star.
Aging star's weight loss secret revealed
on Wed, 25 Nov 2015 08:35:42 EST:
A team of astronomers has captured the most detailed images ever of the hypergiant star VY Canis Majoris. These observations show how the unexpectedly large size of the particles of dust surrounding the star enable it to lose an enormous amount of mass as it begins to die. This process, understood now for the first time, is necessary to prepare such gigantic stars to meet explosive demises as supernovae.
Mars once had a moderately dense atmosphere
on Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:02:49 EST:
Scientists suggest that 3.8 billion years ago, Mars might have had only a moderately dense atmosphere. The scientists have identified a photochemical process that could have helped such an early atmosphere evolve into the current thin one without creating the problem of 'missing' carbon and in a way that is consistent with existing carbon isotopic measurements.
Mars to lose its largest moon, Phobos, but gain a ring
on Tue, 24 Nov 2015 14:35:06 EST:
Mars' largest moon -- one of only two in our solar system moving inward towards its planet -- will eventually be torn apart by tidal forces and distributed in a ring around the planet, a study of the cohesiveness of Phobos has concluded. This would take about 10-20 million years, and the ring will persist for up to 100 million years before the dust falls into Mars' atmosphere and burns up as 'moon' showers.
The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy
on Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:25:14 EST:
Astronomers have identified a dying star and intergalactic gas entering the Milky Way.
Make mine a double-shot, zero-G espresso
on Mon, 23 Nov 2015 20:59:27 EST:
Last year Italy sent an espresso machine up to the ISS, and this inspired a team of researchers to study the related strange fluids phenomena in low gravity, such as espresso crema formation and containment of potentially hazardous drinks within a spacecraft. To do this, the researchers designed a cup that exploits surface tension as opposed to gravity.
Ultrastable materials investigated in depth
on Mon, 23 Nov 2015 10:30:49 EST:
Thermal expansion has now been measured at low temperatures for future space missions. The results of the project are of importance for further space missions that have already been planned, such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), for which temperatures of use below - 220 °C are planned, or the Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), for which even lower temperatures of use are envisaged.
New detector perfect for asteroid mining, planetary research
on Fri, 20 Nov 2015 18:29:38 EST:
Scientists have proposed a new type of gamma-ray spectroscope that has ideal properties for planetary exploration and asteroid mining.
Ground-breaking research could challenge underlying principles of physics
on Fri, 20 Nov 2015 09:44:56 EST:
An international team of physicists has published ground-breaking research on the decay of subatomic particles called kaons - which could change how scientists understand the formation of the universe. Scientists devised the first calculation of how the behavior of kaons differs when matter is swapped out for antimatter, known as direct "CP" symmetry violation. Should the calculation not match experimental results, it would be conclusive evidence of new, unknown phenomena that lie outside of the Standard Model-physicists' present understanding of the fundamental particles and the forces between them.
Ghostly and beautiful: 'Planetary nebulae' get more meaningful physical presence
on Fri, 20 Nov 2015 09:41:12 EST:
A way of estimating more accurate distances to the thousands of so-called planetary nebulae dispersed across our Galaxy has been announced by a team of three astronomers.
Stormy space weather puts equatorial regions' power at risk
on Thu, 19 Nov 2015 11:35:06 EST:
Stormy space weather sweeping across the equator is threatening vital power grids in regions long considered safe from such events, ground-breaking new research reveals.
Cool, dim dwarf star is magnetic powerhouse
on Thu, 19 Nov 2015 11:27:49 EST:
Astronomers have discovered that a dim, cool dwarf star is generating a surprisingly powerful magnetic field.
Dark matter dominates in nearby dwarf galaxy
on Wed, 18 Nov 2015 15:54:44 EST:
A researcher has measured what could be the highest concentration of dark matter in any known galaxy.
Gravity, who needs it?
on Wed, 18 Nov 2015 15:54:34 EST:
What happens to your body in space? NASA's Human Research Program has been unfolding answers for over a decade. Space is a dangerous, unfriendly place. The risks for a Mars mission are many, but NASA has been working to solve these problems with some of the most brilliant minds in the field. Rest assured, when we take the next giant leap to Mars, we will be ready.
Researchers capture first photo of planet in making
on Wed, 18 Nov 2015 15:53:03 EST:
Capturing sharp images of distant objects is difficult, largely due to atmospheric turbulence, the mixing of hot and cold air. But researchers captured the first photo of a planet in the making, a planet residing in a gap in LkCa15's disk. Of the roughly 2,000 known exoplanets, only about 10 have been imaged -- and long after they had formed, not when they were in the making. Results were published in Nature.
Radiation blasts leave most Earth-like planet uninhabitable
on Wed, 18 Nov 2015 07:10:11 EST:
The most Earth-like planet could have been made uninhabitable by vast quantities of radiation.The atmosphere of the planet, Kepler-438b, is thought to have been stripped away as a result of radiation emitted from a superflaring red dwarf star, Kepler-438. Regularly occurring every few hundred days, the superflares are approximately 10 times more powerful than those ever recorded on the sun and equivalent to the same energy as 100 billion megatons of TNT.
Earliest giant galaxies: The birth of monsters
on Wed, 18 Nov 2015 07:07:58 EST:
ESO's VISTA survey telescope has spied a horde of previously hidden massive galaxies that existed when the universe was in its infancy. By discovering and studying more of these galaxies than ever before, astronomers have, for the first time, found out exactly when such monster galaxies first appeared.
More proof of Einstein's general theory of relativity
on Tue, 17 Nov 2015 14:50:55 EST:
A high-performance computing researcher has predicted a physical effect that would help physicists and astronomers provide fresh evidence of the correctness of Einstein's general theory of relativity.
Microsatellite developed for Air Force
on Mon, 16 Nov 2015 14:36:37 EST:
An aerospace engineering professor is developing a microsatellite imager that could be used to check satellites, do small repairs or refuel spacecraft — and keep astronauts from making risky exploratory missions when something goes wrong.
Discovery measures 'heartbeats' of distant galaxy's stars
on Mon, 16 Nov 2015 14:17:45 EST:
In many ways stars are like living beings. They're born; they live; they die. And they even have a heartbeat. Using a novel technique, astronomers have detected thousands of stellar 'pulses' in the galaxy Messier 87 (M87). Their measurements offer a new way of determining a galaxy's age.
Accelerating fusion research through the cutting edge supercomputer
on Mon, 16 Nov 2015 11:20:45 EST:
For the first time in the world, using the newly installed 'Plasma Simulator' researchers have simulated deuterium plasma turbulence in the Large Helical Device. From this result, we have clarified that the energy confinement in a deuterium plasma is improved in comparison to a hydrogen plasma.
Lasers could rapidly make materials hotter than the Sun
on Fri, 13 Nov 2015 10:59:30 EST:
Lasers could heat materials to temperatures hotter than the centre of the Sun in only 20 quadrillionths of a second, according to new research.
First gamma-ray pulsar detected in another galaxy
on Fri, 13 Nov 2015 10:57:09 EST:
Researchers have discovered the first gamma-ray pulsar in a galaxy other than our own. The object sets a new record for the most luminous gamma-ray pulsar known.
5400mph winds discovered hurtling around planet outside solar system
on Fri, 13 Nov 2015 05:13:38 EST:
Winds of over 2km per second have been discovered flowing around planet outside of the Earth's solar system, new research has found.
'Pale orange dot': Early Earth's haze may give clue to habitability elsewhere in space
on Fri, 13 Nov 2015 05:11:24 EST:
An atmospheric haze around a faraway planet -- like the one which probably shrouded and cooled the young Earth -- could show that the world is potentially habitable, or even be a sign of life itself.
NASA's Cassini finds monstrous ice cloud in south polar region of On Saturn's moon Titan
on Thu, 12 Nov 2015 12:35:31 EST:
New observations made near the south pole of Titan by NASA's Cassini spacecraft add to the evidence that winter comes in like a lion on this moon of Saturn.
Machine learning could solve riddles of galaxy formation
on Wed, 11 Nov 2015 16:54:23 EST:
A new machine-learning simulation system promises cosmologists an expanded suite of galaxy models -- a necessary first step to developing more accurate and relevant insights into the formation of the universe.
Plate tectonics thanks to plumes?
on Wed, 11 Nov 2015 14:32:25 EST:
It is common knowledge that the Earth's rigid upper layer called lithosphere is composed of moving plates. But just what mechanism first set plate tectonics into motion still remains a mystery. Scientists have now come up with one possible answer by using simulations.
Ancient stars at the center of the galaxy contain 'fingerprints' from the early universe
on Wed, 11 Nov 2015 14:31:35 EST:
Astronomers have discovered some of the oldest stars in the galaxy, whose chemical composition and movements could tell us what the universe was like soon after the Big Bang.
Astronomers eager to get a whiff of newfound Venus-like planet
on Wed, 11 Nov 2015 14:31:21 EST:
The collection of rocky planets orbiting distant stars has just grown by one, and the latest discovery is the most intriguing one to date. The newfound world, although hot as an oven, is cool enough to potentially host an atmosphere. If it does, it's close enough (only 39 light-years away) that we could study that atmosphere in detail with the Hubble Space Telescope and future observatories like the Giant Magellan Telescope.
Asteroid ripped apart to form star's glowing ring system
on Wed, 11 Nov 2015 08:49:26 EST:
The sight of an asteroid being ripped apart by a dead star and forming a glowing debris ring has been captured in an image for the first time.Comprised of dust particles and debris, the rings are formed by the star's gravity tearing apart asteroids that came too close.Gas produced by collisions among the debris within the ring is illuminated by ultraviolet rays from the star, causing it to emit a dark red glow.
Mercury gets a meteoroid shower from Comet Encke
on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 17:13:51 EST:
The planet Mercury is being pelted regularly by bits of dust from an ancient comet, a new study has concluded. This has a discernible effect in the planet's tenuous atmosphere and may lead to a new paradigm on how these airless bodies maintain their ethereal envelopes.
Mars' moon Phobos is slowly falling apart
on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 17:12:14 EST:
The long, shallow grooves lining the surface of Phobos are likely early signs of the structural failure that will ultimately destroy this moon of Mars.
Recreating a heavenly chorus of plasma waves on Earth
on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 17:09:23 EST:
New experiments have successfully excited elusive plasma waves, known as whistler-mode chorus waves, which have hitherto only been observed in the Earth's near-space environment.
Simpler way to define what makes a planet
on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 13:45:19 EST:
A professor of planetary astronomy has described a simple 'planet test' that can be readily applied to bodies orbiting the sun and other stars. According to this new test, all eight solar system planets and all classifiable exoplanets are confirmed as planets.
Close-up view of galaxies prompts re-think on star formation
on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 09:40:28 EST:
Astronomers have identified for the first time one of the key components of many stars, a study suggests. A type of gas found in the voids between galaxies -- known as atomic gas -- appears to be part of the star formation process under certain conditions, researchers say.
Medicines do not seem to degrade faster in space
on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 09:40:26 EST:
The results of an opportunistic, pilot-scale study suggest that medication degradation on the ISS does not differ from what is typically seen on Earth.
Dark matter and particle acceleration in near space
on Mon, 09 Nov 2015 15:32:17 EST:
The CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET) investigation will rely on the instrument to track the trajectory of cosmic ray particles and measure their charge and energy. The instrument is optimized for measuring electrons and gamma rays, which may contain the signature of dark matter or nearby sources of high-energy particle acceleration.
Scientists explain why moon rocks contain fewer volatiles than Earth's
on Mon, 09 Nov 2015 13:54:17 EST:
Scientists have combined dynamical, thermal, and chemical models of the Moon's formation to explain the relative lack of volatile elements in lunar rocks. Lunar rocks closely resemble Earth rocks in many respects, but Moon rocks are more depleted in volatile elements like potassium, sodium, and zinc, which tend to have lower boiling points and vaporize readily.
Dust devils detected by seismometer could guide Mars mission
on Mon, 09 Nov 2015 13:54:14 EST:
Buried in the shallow soft mud of a dry California lake bed, a seismometer was able to detect the tiny tilts of the ground as it was pulled up by passing dust devils. The experiment is one of the first reports of a seismic signature from a dust devil.
Clue to formation of magnetic fields around stars and galaxies
on Mon, 09 Nov 2015 13:45:05 EST:
An enduring astronomical mystery is how stars and galaxies acquire their magnetic fields. Physicists have now found a clue to the answer in the collective behavior of small magnetic disturbances.
Rare, dying, giant radio galaxy 9 billion light years away
on Fri, 06 Nov 2015 11:37:42 EST:
Astronomers have discovered an extremely rare radio galaxy -- a giant, with an extent of 4 million light years caught in its dying phase at an incredible distance of 9 billion light years. This discovery, made by combining observations of the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, with other telescopes in space and on the ground, enables us to study properties of the magnetic field in the region between galaxies in the distant universe.
Unlocking the mysteries of 'little starlets'
on Fri, 06 Nov 2015 06:28:33 EST:
For the first time, a powerful laser has been used to further our understanding of some of the most mysterious celestial objects just beyond the solar system - brown dwarfs.
NASA mission reveals speed of solar wind stripping Martian atmosphere
on Thu, 05 Nov 2015 15:59:10 EST:
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has identified the process that appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet Mars is today.
Hubble uncovers the fading cinders of some of our galaxy's earliest homesteaders
on Thu, 05 Nov 2015 14:39:11 EST:
Using Hubble Space Telescope images, astronomers have conducted a "cosmic archeological dig" of our Milky Way's heart, uncovering the blueprints of our galaxy's early construction phase. The researchers uncovered for the first time a population of ancient white dwarfs -- smoldering remnants of once-vibrant stars that inhabited the Milky Way's core.
Supernova twins: Making standard candles more standard than ever
on Thu, 05 Nov 2015 12:15:20 EST:
Type Ia supernovae are bright 'standard candles' for measuring cosmic distances. Standard enough to discover dark energy, they're far from identical. Researchers at the international Nearby Supernova Factory have shown that supernova twins -- those with closely matching spectra -- can double the accuracy of distance measures.
Antimatter not so different after all
on Wed, 04 Nov 2015 13:32:56 EST:
Researchers share the first measurements of the attractive force between antiprotons. The discovery gives physicists new ways to look at the forces that bind matter and antimatter.
Growing pains in a cluster of protostars
on Wed, 04 Nov 2015 13:32:26 EST:
A new study has found a cluster of young stars that develop in distinct, episodic spurts. It is the first time astronomers have seen such a growth pattern within a star cluster -- a chaotic, turbulent environment that is common for star formation. Previous observations have focused on stars forming in more isolated regions of space.
First observations from SEPIA
on Wed, 04 Nov 2015 09:50:49 EST:
A new instrument attached to the 12-meter Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope at 5,000 meters above sea level in the Chilean Andes is opening up a previously unexplored window on the Universe. The Swedish-ESO PI receiver for APEX (SEPIA) will detect the faint signals from water and other molecules within the Milky Way, other nearby galaxies and the early universe.
Radar images provide details on Halloween asteroid
on Tue, 03 Nov 2015 16:36:02 EST:
The highest-resolution radar images of asteroid 2015 TB145's safe flyby of Earth have been processed and yield new information about its surface features.
'Magic' plant discovery could lead to growing food in space
on Tue, 03 Nov 2015 10:02:50 EST:
A plant geneticist has discovered the gene in the ancient Australian native tobacco plant Nicotiana benthamiana, known as Pitjuri to Australian indigenous Aboriginals tribes. The discovery was made while tracing the history of the Pitjuri plant, which for decades has been used by geneticists as a model plant upon which to test viruses and vaccines.
Distant world's weather is mixed bag of hot dust, molten rain
on Tue, 03 Nov 2015 10:02:48 EST:
Weather patterns in a mysterious world beyond our solar system have been revealed for the first time, report scientists. Layers of clouds, made up of hot dust and droplets of molten iron, have been detected on a planet-like object found 75 light years from Earth, the researchers say.
Disk gaps don't always signal planets
on Mon, 02 Nov 2015 13:16:50 EST:
When astronomers study protoplanetary disks of gas and dust that surround young stars, they sometimes spot a dark gap like the Cassini division in Saturn's rings. It has been suggested that any gap must be caused by an unseen planet that formed in the disk and carved out material from its surroundings. However, new research shows that a gap could be a sort of cosmic illusion and not the sign of a hidden planet after all.
Traveling through space? Don't forget your sleeping pills and skin cream
on Mon, 02 Nov 2015 13:15:11 EST:
A new study is the first-ever examination of the medications used by astronauts on long-duration missions to the International Space Station: the medications they used, the reasons they used them and how well they said the medicines worked were analyzed.
Astrosat's Soft X-ray Telescope sees first light
on Mon, 02 Nov 2015 10:02:29 EST:
The Soft X-ray focusing Telescope (SXT) onboard Astrosat, India's first satellite dedicated to astronomical observations, saw its first light from an astronomical source in a distant galaxy, on Oct. 26. The SXT is India's first X-ray telescope based on doubly reflecting grazing incidence optics, containing 320 mirrors assembled together in 2 sets of 40 co-axial shells.
Northern Light secrets uncovered thanks to social networking tools
on Mon, 02 Nov 2015 08:35:58 EST:
Magnetometers have a social network where they talk about the weather, researchers have discovered. The research team used data from over 100 individual magnetometers located at high latitudes in the northern hemisphere. These magnetometers have been used for decades to track space weather but it is only recently that the data from all these devices has been collected in one place in the SuperMAG project.
Signs of acid fog found on Mars
on Mon, 02 Nov 2015 08:32:23 EST:
While Mars doesn't have much in the way of Earth-like weather, it does evidently share one kind of weird meteorology: acid fog. A planetary scientist has pieced together a compelling story about how acidic vapors may have eaten at the rocks in a 100-acre area on Husband Hill in the Columbia Hills of Gusev Crater on Mars.
Halloween skies to include dead comet flyby
on Fri, 30 Oct 2015 19:00:51 EDT:
The large space rock that will zip past Earth this Halloween is most likely a dead comet that, fittingly, bears an eerie resemblance to a skull. Scientists observing asteroid 2015 TB145 with NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, have determined that the celestial object is more than likely a dead comet that has shed its volatiles after numerous passes around the sun.