According to the British physicist Stephen Wolfram, intelligent life is inevitable. But there is a hitch. Although intelligent life is inevitable, we will never find it -at least not by looking out in the Milky Way. As evidence Wolfram points out In order to compress more and more information into our communication signals - be they mobile phone conversations or computer- we remove all redundancy or pattern. If anything in a signal repeats, then clearly it can be excised. But this process of removing any pattern from a signal make it look more and more random - in fact, pretty much like the random radio "noise" that rains down on Earth coming from stars and interstellar gas clouds. According to Wolfram, if someone beamed our own 21st-century communication signals at us from space we would be hard pressed determining whether they were artificial or natural. So what chance do we have of distinguishing an ET communication from the general background radio static of the cosmos?
NASA scientists have found compelling evidence for lake-level changes on Saturn's largest moon, Titan—the only other place in the solar system other than Earth observed to have a hydrological cycle with standing liquid on the surface.On Earth, lake levels rise and fall with the seasons and with longer-term climate changes, as precipitation, evaporation, and runoff add and remove liquid.
The red planet is far more than just a catalyst for scientific change or an interplanetary base camp. Mars, says Robert Zubrin, founder of The Mars Society, is essentially a Rosetta stone for determining the prevalence and diversity of life in the universe.
With a mass of more than 10 000 suns packed into a volume with a diameter of a mere three light-years, the massive young star cluster in the nebula NGC 3603 is one of the most compact stellar clusters in the Milky Way and a natural lab to test theories for their formation, revealing whether the stars were in the process of drifting apart, or about to settle down.
The cluster, formally known as the NGC 3603 Young Cluster, is about 20 000 light-years from the Sun which makes these measurements extraordinarily difficult. It is necessary to compare images that were made years or even decades apart. The telescope and camera used must give very sharp images and be extremely stable over long periods.
For a decade, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has observed the Andromeda Galaxy for a combined total of nearly one million seconds, giving astronomers an unprecedented view of the nearest supermassive black hole outside the Milky Way.
Astronomers think that most galaxies - including the Milky Way - contain giant black holes at their cores that are millions of times more massive than the Sun. At a distance of just under 3 million light years from Earth, Andromeda -also known as M31- provides an opportunity to study its black hole in extraordinary detail.
In the past decade, robotic telescopes have turned astronomers' attention to strange exploding stars that may point to new and unusual physics. An international team of astronomers has uncovered a supernova whose origin cannot be explained by any previously known mechanism and which promises exciting new insights into stellar explosions.
SN2005E was first spotted on January 13, 2005 in the nearby galaxy NGC1032. Since then, scientists have carried out various observations of it using different telescopes including the Keck, the world's largest, at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Analysis of the collected data, theoretical modeling and interpretation led to the conclusion that SN2005E wasn't a typical supernova.
They should have just asked Ford Prefect. U.S. astronomers have discovered the Milky Way has just two major arms of stars, not the four arms of the current model. Led by Robert Benjamin of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, using the Spitzer Space Observatory infrared detectors the scientists based their conclusion on an evaluation of 800,000 images of an expansive swath of the Milky Way taken by NASA'a Spitzer telescope.
A new infrared image of the Tadpole nebula, a star-forming hub in the Auriga constellation about 12,000 light-years from Earth accidentally captured an asteroid in our solar system passing by. The asteroid, called 1719 Jens discovered in 1950, orbits in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The space rock, which has a diameter of 19 kilometers (12 miles), left tracks across the image, seen as a line of yellow-green dots in the boxes near center. A second asteroid, called 1992 UZ5, was also observed cruising by, as highlighted in the boxes near the upper left (the larger boxes are blown-up versions of the smaller ones).
One of the great, unsolved mysteries of 21st-century science is the existence of the missing matter of the universe. Using observations with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton, astronomers have announced a robust detection of a vast reservoir of intergalactic gas about 400 million light years from Earth. This discovery is the strongest evidence yet that the "missing matter" in the nearby Universe is located in an enormous web of hot, diffuse gas.
A new wide-field image released today by ESO is both a wide-field and long-exposure one, revealing thousands of distant galaxies and more, particularly a large group belonging to the massive galaxy cluster known as Abell 315. As crowded as it may appear, this assembly of galaxies is the proverbial “tip of the iceberg”, as Abell 315 — like most galaxy clusters — is dominated by dark matter. The huge mass of this cluster deflects light from background galaxies, distorting their observed shapes slightly.