Previous month:
June 2015
Next month:
August 2015

NASA's Amazing Comet Hunter --"Nobody Dreamed We'd Approach 200 a Year"

 

 

1-nearing3000c

 

"SOHO has a view of about 12 and a half million miles beyond the sun," said Joe Gurman, the mission scientist for SOHO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "So we expected it might from time to time see a bright comet near the sun. But nobody dreamed we'd approach 200 a year."

Continue reading "NASA's Amazing Comet Hunter --"Nobody Dreamed We'd Approach 200 a Year"" »


Thirty Percent of Stars Have Migrated Across the Milky Way --"Was Our Sun One?"

 

 

Pia18906-16

 

Scientists with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III (SDSS) have created a new map of the Milky Way that provides the first clear evidence of migration of stars throughout our galaxy. The study, which determined that 30 percent of stars have traveled across the galaxy, is bringing a new understanding of how stars are formed and travel throughout the Milky Way.

Continue reading "Thirty Percent of Stars Have Migrated Across the Milky Way --"Was Our Sun One?"" »


NASA: "The Rosetta Stone for Super-Earths?"

 

 

Image_3078_1e-HD-219134b

 

Using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have confirmed the discovery of the nearest rocky planet outside our solar system, larger than Earth and a potential gold mine of science data. Dubbed HD 219134b, this exoplanet, which orbits too close to its star to sustain life, is a mere 21 light-years away. While the planet itself can't be seen directly, even by telescopes, the star it orbits is visible to the naked eye in dark skies in the Cassiopeia constellation, near the North Star.

Continue reading "NASA: "The Rosetta Stone for Super-Earths?"" »


MIT: "An Interior Ocean May be Driving Geologic Activity on Pluto"



 

2-newhorizonsd


Recent data from NASA’s New Horizons probe — which passed within 7,800 miles of the surface on July 14 — have revealed striking features on Pluto's heart-shaped region that indicate the icy dwarf planet may harbor an ocean deep in its interior, according to mission scientists during a July 24 press briefing. They also provided new information about Pluto's thin atmosphere.

Continue reading "MIT: "An Interior Ocean May be Driving Geologic Activity on Pluto"" »


Black Hole Collisions --"Astronomers 'Hear' Them Via Gravity Signals"

 

 

6a00d8341bf7f753ef01b7c77c6ba0970b

 

 

The coalescence of two black holes -- a very violent and exotic event -- is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. But, as these mergers emit no light of any kind, finding such elusive events has been impossible so far.

Continue reading "Black Hole Collisions --"Astronomers 'Hear' Them Via Gravity Signals"" »


Giant Planet-Like Brown Dwarfs --"Harbor Powerful, Pulsing Auroras"

 

 

                        96424_web

 

By observing a brown dwarf 20 light-years away using both radio and optical telescopes, a team led by Gregg Hallinan, assistant professor of astronomy at Caltech, has found another feature that makes these so-called failed stars more like supersized planets--they host powerful auroras near their magnetic poles.

Continue reading "Giant Planet-Like Brown Dwarfs --"Harbor Powerful, Pulsing Auroras"" »


ESO: "An Entire Spiral Galaxy Fell Through the Center of Massive Elliptical Galaxy M87"

 

 

M87_cfht

 


"We are witnessing a single recent accretion event where a medium-sized galaxy fell through the center of Messier 87, and as a consequence of the enormous gravitational tidal forces, its stars are now scattered over a region that is 100 times larger than the original galaxy!" said Ortwin Gerhard, head of the dynamics group at the Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik.

Continue reading "ESO: "An Entire Spiral Galaxy Fell Through the Center of Massive Elliptical Galaxy M87" " »


Found! "The Missing Piece in a Long-Standing Milky Way Puzzle"

 

 

Nova_Centauri_2013

 

The lack of lithium in older stars is a long-standing puzzle. Lithium has now been found for the first time in material ejected by a nova. Observations of Nova Centauri 2013 made using telescopes at ESO's La Silla Observatory, and near Santiago in Chile, help to explain the mystery of why many young stars seem to have more of this chemical element than expected. This finding fills in a missing piece in the puzzle representing our galaxy's chemical evolution, and is a big step forward for astronomers trying to understand the amounts of different chemical elements in stars in the Milky Way.

Continue reading "Found! "The Missing Piece in a Long-Standing Milky Way Puzzle"" »