Using the Subaru Telescope, researchers have found evidence that enigmatic objects in nearby galaxies—called ultra-luminous X-ray sources—exhibit strong outflows created as matter falls onto their black holes at unexpectedly high rates. The strong outflows suggest that black holes in these ULXs must be much smaller than expected. Curiously, these objects appear to be "cousins" of one of the most exotic objects in our own Milky Way Galaxy.
The day will officially be a bit longer than usual on Tuesday, June 30, 2015, because an extra...
An unmanned SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station broke apart...
Planets tend to cool as they get older, but Saturn is hotter than astrophysicists say it should...
On its own, dust seems fairly unremarkable. However, by observing the clouds of gas and dust within a galaxy, astronomers can determine important information about the history of star formation and the evolution of galaxies. Now, a Caltech-led team has been able to observe the dust contents of galaxies as seen just 1 billion years after the Big Bang.
A battle is poised to unfold on a Hawaii mountain where one of the world's largest telescopes is set to be built. As work resumes Wednesday on the Thirty Meter Telescope atop the Big Island's Mauna Kea, protesters will try to peacefully stop the construction because they say it tramples on land that is sacred to Native Hawaiians.
To find life in the universe, it helps to know what it might look like. If there are organisms on other planets that do not rely wholly on photosynthesis, how might those worlds appear from light-years away? That’s among the questions a Univ. of Washington team sought to answer in research published in Astrobiology.
The interiors of several of our solar system’s planets and moons are icy, and ice has been found on distant extrasolar planets, as well. But these bodies aren’t filled with the regular kind of water ice that you avoid on the sidewalk in winter. The ice that’s found inside these objects must exist under extreme pressures and high-temperatures, and potentially contains salty impurities, too.
When galaxies collide, bright things happen in the universe. Using the Hubble Space Telescope’s infrared vision, astronomers have unveiled some of the previously hidden origins of quasars, the brightest objects in the universe. A new study finds that quasars are born when galaxies crash into each other and fuel supermassive, central black holes.
Scientists have found some of the best evidence yet that Venus, Earth’s nearest neighbor, is volcanically active. In combing through data from the European Space Agency’s Venus Express mission, the scientists found transient spikes in temperature at several spots on the planet’s surface. The hotspots, which were found to flash and fade over the course of just a few days, appear to be generated by active flows of lava on the surface.
NASA says an international satellite studying the world's oceans has stopped working after four years. The space agency said Wednesday that the Argentine-built satellite ceased operations last week after a hardware failure. The satellite carried a NASA instrument called Aquarius that measured the concentration of dissolved salt at the sea surface.
An international team of researchers has discovered traces of methane in Martian meteorites, a possible clue in the search for life on the Red Planet. The researchers examined samples from six meteorites of volcanic rock that originated on Mars. The meteorites contain gases in the same proportion and with the same isotopic composition as the Martian atmosphere.
Astronomers have long theorized the existence of a first generation of stars that were born out of the primordial material from the Big Bang. All the heavier chemical elements were forged in the bellies of stars. This means that the first stars must have formed out of the only elements to exist prior to stars: hydrogen, helium and trace amounts of lithium.
The matter that makes up distant planets and even-more-distant stars exists under extreme pressure and temperature. This matter includes members of a family of seven elements called noble gases. Scientists used laboratory techniques to mimic stellar and planetary conditions, and observe how noble gases behave under these conditions, in order to better understand the atmospheric and internal chemistry of these celestial objects.
For the last decade, astronomers have observed curious “hotspots” on Saturn’s poles. In 2008, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft beamed back close-up images of these hotspots, revealing them to be immense cyclones, each as wide as the Earth. Scientists estimate that Saturn’s cyclones may whip up 300 mph winds, and likely have been churning for years.
How light of different colors is absorbed by carbon dioxide can now be accurately predicted using new calculations developed by a Univ. College London (UCL)-led team of scientists. This will help climate scientists studying Earth's greenhouse gas emissions to better interpret data collected from satellites and ground stations measuring carbon dioxide.
A NASA mission has released new images of the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest asteroid between Mars and Jupiter. The photos were produced by the spacecraft Dawn, which is now observing Ceres from 2,700 miles above its surface; NASA has also produced a one-minute video animation that sheds new light on this mysterious and heavily cratered world.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has detected a stratosphere, one of the primary layers of Earth's atmosphere, on a massive and blazing-hot exoplanet known as WASP-33b.
Planets with volcanic activity are considered better candidates for life than worlds without such heated internal goings-on. Now, graduate students at the Univ. of Washington have found a way to detect volcanic activity in the atmospheres of exoplanets, or those outside our solar system, when they transit, or pass in front of their host stars.
Some of the sharpest images ever made with ESO's Very Large Telescope have, for the first time, revealed what appears to be an ageing star giving birth to a butterfly-like planetary nebula. These observations of the red giant star L2 Puppis, from the ZIMPOL mode of the newly installed SPHERE instrument, also clearly showed a close stellar companion.
Large magnetic storms from the Sun, which affect technologies such as GPS and utility grids, could soon be predicted more than 24 hours in advance. Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are eruptions of gas and magnetized material from the Sun that have the potential to wreak havoc on satellites and Earth-bound technologies, disrupting radio transmissions and causing transformer blowouts and blackouts.
Researchers from Brown University have used satellite data to detect deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars. Though formed in the searing heat of a violent impact, the glasses just might provide a delicate window into the possibility of past life on the Red Planet.
Sharp images obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope confirm that three supernovae discovered several years ago exploded in the dark emptiness of intergalactic space, having been flung from their home galaxies millions or billions of years earlier. Most supernovae are found inside galaxies containing hundreds of billions of stars, one of which might explode per century per galaxy.
As astronauts embark on increasingly ambitious space missions, scientists have to figure out how to keep them healthy for longer periods far from Earth. That entails assuring the air they breathe and the water they drink are safe—not an easy task given their isolated locations. But scientists are now reporting a new method to monitor the quality of both in real time with one system.
If you lived on one of Pluto's moons, you might have a hard time determining when, or from which direction, the sun will rise each day. Comprehensive analysis of data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows that two of Pluto's moons, Nix and Hydra, wobble unpredictably.
What if your doctor told you that your weight is somewhere between 100 and 400 lbs.? With any ordinary scale every patient can do better at home. Yet, one patient can't: the Milky Way. Even though today we peer deeper into space than ever before, our home galaxy's weight is still unknown to about a factor of four.
As the closest object in the night sky, Earth’s moon and its craters have long been studied. These craters have been formed over billions of years by impacts from both asteroids and comets. A new study examines how cometary impacts may transform the surface of the moon in ways distinct from asteroidal impacts, producing unique signatures that are consistent with observations of mysterious, ghost-like features called “lunar swirls."
Viewed from above, our solar system’s planetary orbits around the sun resemble rings around a bulls-eye. Each planet, including Earth, keeps to a roughly circular path, always maintaining the same distance from the sun. For decades, astronomers have wondered whether the solar system’s circular orbits might be a rarity in our universe.
By creatively using a radio telescope to see in 3-D, astronomers have detected the existence of tubular plasma structures in the inner layers of the magnetosphere surrounding the Earth. For over 60 years, scientists believed these structures existed, and by imaging them for the first time a Univ. of Sydney team provided visual evidence they are really there.
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