Using observations of ancient stars with W. M. Keck Observatory’s 10-meter telescope and state-of-the-art models of their atmospheres has shown that there is no conflict between their lithium-6 and lithium-7 content and predictions of the standard theory of Big Bang nucleosynthesis, restoring thus the order in our theory of the early universe. The team, led by Karin Lind of the University of Cambridge, has proven the decades-old inventory relied on lower quality observational data with analysis using several simplifications that resulted in spurious detections of lithium isotopes. The fundamental observations that corroborate the Big Bang 13.8 billion years agoare the cosmic microwave radiation and the chemical abundances of the light elements described in the Big Bang nucleosynthesis theory.
Continue reading ""Big Bang Theory" --Confirmed by Chemistry of Milky Way's Oldest Stars " »
A new study explores the potential for photosynthetic life to persist in sun-starved, lower-energy (and invisible to our eyes) infrared light environments. And in the case of one kind of bacteria—discovered years ago, deep underwater near a hydrothermal vent—this light need not even come from the Sun. The research aims to shed light, as it were, on how organisms could live off of the dim infrared emissions from hydrothermal vents on alien worlds. Tantalizingly, such vents are theorized to exist beneath the surface of Jupiter's ice-covered, oceanic moon Europa.
Continue reading "NASA: The Search for Alien Life in Infrared-Light Habitats" »
Antarctica’s mountains, concealed for more than 30 million years under miles of ice, have now been exposed in a new map and video released June 5 by NASA. Using a new tool created by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) called Bedmap2, researchers created the map by compiling decades worth of geophysical measurements of the icy continent, including surface elevation, ice thickness, an bedrock topography.
Continue reading ""After 30 Million Years" --This is How Will Antarctica Look Without Ice " »
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission is approaching its biggest turning point since landing its rover, Curiosity, inside Mars' Gale Crater last summer. Curiosity is finishing investigations in an area smaller than a football field where it has been working for six months, and it will soon shift to a distance-driving mode headed for an area about 5 miles (8 kilometers) away, at the base Mount Sharp.
Continue reading "NASA Curiosity Rover Heads Toward Mount Sharp --Will It Reveal History of Mars' Climate Change?" »
Early Earth was not very hospitable when it came to jump starting life. In fact, new research shows that life on Earth may have come from out of this world. Lawrence Livermore scientist Nir Goldman and University of Ontario Institute of Technology colleague Isaac Tamblyn (a former LLNL postdoc) found that icy comets that crashed into Earth billions of years ago could have produced life building organic compounds, including the building blocks of proteins and nucleobases pairs of DNA and RNA.
Continue reading "Comet Impacts on Early Earth Catalyst for Building Blocks for Life" »
Astronomers using the new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have imaged a region around a young star where dust particles can grow by clumping together. This is the first time that such a dust trap has been clearly observed and modelled. It solves a long-standing mystery about how dust particles in discs grow to larger sizes so that they can eventually form comets, planets and other rocky bodies. The results are published in the journal Science on 7 June 2013.
Continue reading "Image of the Day: Massive Comet Factory Discovered " »
By comparing infrared and X-ray background signals across the same stretch of sky, an international team of astronomers has discovered evidence of a significant number of black holes that accompanied the first stars in the universe. Using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which observes in the infrared, researchers have concluded one of every five sources contributing to the infrared signal is a black hole. Ultraviolet view of the Extended Groth Strip taken with the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (Galex) and available on Google Sky.
Continue reading "NASA: Black Holes Powered the Early Universe " »
Of all the bodies in the solar system, Saturn's largest moon, Titan, has the atmosphere most resembling that of Earth. Like that of our planet, Titan's atmosphere is largely composed of molecular nitrogen. Unlike Earth's atmosphere, however, Titan's contains only small traces of oxygen and water. Another molecule, methane, plays a similar role to that of water in Earth's atmosphere, and makes up about 2 percent of Titan's atmosphere. Scientists have speculated that the atmosphere of this moon may resemble that of our planet in its early days, before primitive living organisms enriched it with oxygen via photosynthesis.
Continue reading "Atmosphere of Saturn's Titan Resembles Early Earth's" »
Astronomers have discovered light echoing off material surrounding a recent supernova explosion, SN 2009ig. The dust and gas that are reflecting the light are so close to the eruption center that it is likely related to the progenitor star. This discovery supports the theory that exploding white dwarfs become unstable from matter donated by large, non-degenerate stars.
Continue reading ""Light Echo" of a White-Dwarf Supernova Discovered" »
A large number of worlds found by NASA's Kepler alien planet-hunting space telescope are probably significantly larger than scientists previously estimated, a new study suggests. Using a galaxy similar to our own Milky Way, the image above shows the scale of the distances for the sample of stars with planet candidates described in a new study by scientists using the Kitt Peak National Observatory Mayall 4-meter telescope . The circled dot represents the position of the sun in the Milky Way, and the stippled cone shows how far away the new candidate stars are (2800-7000 light years), compared to the size of our galaxy.
Continue reading " Kepler Mission Analysis Shows Reduced Number of Earth-sized Planets in Field of View" »