"This excess of objects with unexpected orbital parameters makes us believe that some invisible forces are altering the distribution of the orbital elements of extreme trans-Neptunian objects and we consider that the most probable explanation is that other unknown planets exist beyond Neptune and Pluto," said Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, scientist at the Complutense University of Madrid.
Continue reading ""There Could be At Least Two Unknown Planets Hidden Well Beyond Pluto"" »
Though scientists do not completely understand what triggers solar flares, Stanford solar physicists Monica Bobra and Sebastien Couvidat have automated the analysis of those gigantic explosions. The method could someday provide advance warning to protect power grids and communication satellites.
Continue reading "Breakthrough --"Using Artificial Intelligence to Predict Solar Explosions"" »
Fortunately for scientists, there is a possible laboratory in our solar system to help us better understand the conditions on Earth before life arose — a situation sometimes referred to as a “prebiotic” environment. That location is Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, that has fascinated researchers for decades, particularly after NASA’s Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Saturn in the 1980s. The missions revealed a moon completely socked in with haze, which is a different experience to those used to gazing at Earth’s airless, cratered moon.
Continue reading "The Epic 10-Year Probe of Titan --A Mirror of Earth's Early Atmosphere?" »
Meteors that have crashed to Earth have long been regarded as relics of the early solar system. These craggy chunks of metal and rock are studded with chondrules -- tiny, glassy, spherical grains that were once molten droplets. Scientists have thought that chondrules represent early kernels of terrestrial planets: As the solar system started to coalesce, these molten droplets collided with bits of gas and dust to form larger planetary precursors.
Continue reading ""Early Solar System Was More Violent Than We Expected" --MIT" »
Dwarf galaxy DDO 68, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, was one of the best candidates so far discovered for a newly-formed galaxy in our cosmic neighborhood. The galaxy lies around 39 million light-years away from us; although this distance may seem huge, it is in fact roughly 50 times closer than the usual distances to such galaxies, which are on the order of several billions of light years.
Continue reading "Image of the Day: Newly-Formed Dwarf Galaxy in Our Cosmic Neighborhood" »
NASA astronomers announced in 2012 that they can predict with certainty the next major cosmic event to affect our galaxy, sun, and solar system: the titanic collision of our Milky Way galaxy with the neighboring Andromeda galaxy. The Milky Way is destined to get a major makeover during the encounter, which is predicted to happen four billion years from now. It is likely the sun will be flung into a new region of our galaxy, but our Earth and solar system are in no danger of being destroyed.
Continue reading "Image of the Day: Galaxies in Collision --Preview of the Milky Way/Andromeda Destiny" »
Orbiting the Earth 353 miles above the ground, the Hubble Space Telescope silently pivots toward its new target. At the same time, flying 93 million miles away in interplanetary space, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope receives commands to point itself at the same celestial target. Precisely synchronized, both telescopes begin recording light at the same time from the same distant object: an exotic, purple-colored, cloudy, Jupiter-size world 24 light-years away, known as a brown dwarf.
Continue reading "Stormy Worlds Beyond Our Solar System -- "Megastorms Several Times Size of Jupiter's Great Red Spot"" »
Were the molecules in comet ices and terrestrial oceans born with the system itself—in the planet-forming disk of dust and gas that circled the young sun 4.6 billion years ago? Or did the water originate even earlier—in the cold, ancient molecular cloud that spawned the sun and that planet-forming disk?
Continue reading ""Up to 50% of Earth's Water is Older than Our Solar System" (Today's Most Popular)" »
"Expecting to find a black hole in every galaxy is sort of like expecting to find a pit inside a peach," explains astronomer Tod Lauer of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson. "With this Hubble observation, we cut into the biggest peach and we can't find the pit. We don't know for sure that the black hole is not there, but Hubble shows that there's no concentration of stars in the core."
Continue reading " Image of the Day --Monster Elliptical Galaxy with No Central Black Hole" »
At a time when our earliest human ancestors mastered walking upright the heart of our Milky Way galaxy underwent a titanic eruption, driving gases and other material outward at 2 million miles per hour. Now, at least 2 million years later, astronomers are witnessing the aftermath of the explosion: billowing clouds of gas towering about 30,000 light-years above and below the plane of our galaxy.
Continue reading ""The Milky Way Underwent a Titanic Eruption 2 Million Years Ago" --NASA/Hubble" »