The Sun is bubbling, forming mysterious finger-like plasma structures in its gaseous envelope, the corona. A German-American team headed by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research has now succeeded in explaining these filigree-like forms. In their new theory, the scientists make use of a long-known natural phenomenon which can be observed in very different situations – in the distant cosmos as well as in a cup of tea at home.
Continue reading ""Witches Cauldron"--Mystery of Dark Finger-Like Structures in Sun's Atmosphere Solved" »
In 2012 theCuriosity Rover's Mars Science Laboratory landed in Gale crater, with goal to look for chemical evidence of ancient life preserved within exposures near the base of a five-kilometers high mound of layered materials at the center of the crater known as Mount Sharp. Because of its history, 96-mile wide crater with its strangely sculpted mountain --three times higher than the Grand Canyon is deep--is the ideal place for Curiosity to conduct its mission of exploration into the Red Planet's past. Researchers plan to use Curiosity to study layers in the mountain that hold evidence about wet environments of early Mars.
Continue reading "NASA's Mars Science Lab Yielding History of Gale Crater --Search for Signs of Ancient Life Continues" »
The NASA probe that will explore Pluto came out of hibernation and transmitted a message to Earth on Saturday, after a nine-year journey to take a close look at the distant body for the first time."New Horizons is healthy and cruising quietly through deep space, nearly three billion miles from home, but its rest is nearly over," said Alice Bowman, the craft's operations manager at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory outside Washington. One of the fastest spacecraft ever built, New Horizons is hurtling through the void at nearly one million miles per day.
Continue reading "NASA Begins Probe of the "Unexplored Planet" --Pluto Mission Out of Hibernation, Signals Earth" »
Artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence after 2020, predicts Vernor Vinge, a world-renowned pioneer in AI, who has warned about the risks and opportunities that an electronic super-intelligence would offer to mankind. "It seems plausible that with technology we can, in the fairly near future," says scifi legend Vernor Vinge, "create (or become) creatures who surpass humans in every intellectual and creative dimension. Events beyond such an event -- such a singularity -- are as unimaginable to us as opera is to a flatworm."
Continue reading ""Will the First Self-Replicating AI Machine Be Homo Sapiens Last Great Invention?" --Stephen Hawking Thinks So" »
New research found that during the early period of a solar system's development, planets that end up being in the Habitable Zone later on, when the star is older, initially can lose the equivalent of several hundred oceans of water or more if they orbit the coolest stars. However, even if a runaway greenhouse effect is triggered - when a planet absorbs more energy from the star than it can radiate back to space, resulting in a rapid evaporation of surface water - a planet could still become habitable if water is later delivered to the planet, after the runaway phase ends.
Continue reading ""Search for Pale Blue Dots" --New Research Shows Where and When Infant Earths Most Likely to be Found" »
Last year, the very rare presence of a pulsar (named SGR J1745-2900) was also detected in the proximity of a supermassive black hole (Sgr A**, made up of millions of solar masses), but there is a combination that is still yet to be discovered: that of a pulsar orbiting a 'normal' black hole; that is, one with a similar mass to that of stars.
Continue reading ""Discovery of a Pulsar and Supermassive Black Hole Pairing Could Help Unlock the Enigma of Gravity"" »
Using the world's largest radio telescope, two astronomers from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia have detected the faint signal emitted by atomic hydrogen gas in galaxies three billion light years from Earth, breaking the previous record distance by 500 million light years.
Continue reading "Unique Population of Galaxies Discovered" »
Today's planned launch of Orion has been postponed due to a valve issue. NASA's next possible liftoff launch window opens at 7:05am ET Friday, the opening of a 2-hour, 39 minute window just as today. NASA will begin launch coverage at 6 a.m. on NASA TV and on the Orion blog. Tune into the blog and NASA.gov for continuing updates throughout Friday. Orion will launch atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex. The Orion Flight Test is a two-orbit, four-hour flight that will test many of the systems most critical to safety.
Continue reading "NASA's New Mars-Destined Orion Launch Delayed Until Friday A.M." »
With the help of citizen scientists, a team of astronomers has found an important new example of a very rare type of galaxy that may yield valuable insight on how galaxies developed in the early Universe. The new discovery technique promises to give astronomers many more examples of this important and mysterious type of galaxy. The galaxy they studied, named J1649+2635, nearly 800 million light-years from Earth, is a spiral galaxy, like our own Milky Way, but with prominent "jets" of subatomic particles propelled outward from its core at nearly the speed of light. The problem is that spiral galaxies are not supposed to have such large jets. This is the first time that a galaxy was first identified as a spiral, then subsequently found to have large radio jets.
Continue reading "Strange Spiral Galaxy Observed --"A First of Its Kind"" »
Using an experiment carried into space on a NASA suborbital rocket, astronomers at Caltech and their colleagues have detected a diffuse cosmic glow that appears to represent more light than that produced by known galaxies in the universe. Initially some researchers proposed that this light came from the very first galaxies to form and ignite stars after the Big Bang. CalTech researchers say that the best explanation is that the cosmic light originates from stars that were stripped away from their parent galaxies and flung out into space as those galaxies collided and merged with other galaxies.
Continue reading "Cosmic Glow Discovered --"Radiates More Light than All the Known Galaxies in the Universe"" »