Popular Science articles about Astronomy & Space

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old spacecraft data.

Explosion first evidence of a hydrogen-deficient supernova progenitor

A group of researchers led by Melina Bersten of Kavli IPMU recently presented a model that provides the first characterization of the progenitor for a hydrogen-deficient supernova. Their model predicts...

Milky Way ransacks nearby dwarf galaxies

This is an artist's impression of the Milky Way. Its hot halo appears to be stripping away the star-forming atomic hydrogen from its companion dwarf spheroidal galaxies.Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia, along with data from other large radio telescopes, have discovered that our nearest galactic neighbors, the dwarf...

Discovery of the Benešov meteorites 20 years after the bolide event

Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing the spectacular discovery of meteorite fragments 20 years after the corresponding bolide was seen in the skies of the Czech Republic. This discovery was made...

MAVEN's first look at Mars holds surprises, says CU-Boulder mission leader

This is an artist's conception of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft at Mars.NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has provided scientists their first look at a storm of energetic solar particles at Mars, produced unprecedented ultraviolet images of the tenuous...

Leaky galaxies lead researchers to better understand the universe

This is Sanchayeeta Borthakur, assistant research scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University.Focusing on large, star-forming galaxies, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University were able to measure radiation leaks in an effort to better understand how the universe evolved as the first...

NASA's Swift mission observes mega flares from a mini star

DG CVn, a binary consisting of two red dwarf stars shown here in an artist's rendering, unleashed a series of powerful flares seen by NASA's Swift. At its peak, the initial flare was brighter in X-rays than the combined light from both stars at all wavelengths under typical conditions.On April 23, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a nearby red dwarf star. The initial blast from this record-setting...

Earth's water is older than the sun

This is an illustration of water in our Solar System through time from before the Sun's birth through the creation of the planets.Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth's water...

Clear skies on exo-Neptune

This is an artist's concept of the silhouette of the extrasolar planet HAT-P-11b as it passes its parent star. The planet was observed as it crossed in front of its star in order to learn more about its atmosphere.Astronomers using data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Kepler Space Telescope have discovered clear skies and steamy water vapour on a planet outside...

Finding hints of gravitational waves in the stars

Scientists have shown how gravitational waves -- invisible ripples in the fabric of space and time that propagate through the universe -- might be "seen" by looking at the stars....

Smallest known galaxy with a supermassive black hole

This Hubble Space telescope image shows the gargantuan galaxy M60 in the center, and the ultracompact dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1 below it and to the right, and also enlarged as an inset. A new international study led by University of Utah astronomer Anil Seth and published in the journal Nature found that M60-UCD1 is the smallest known galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its center, suggesting the dwarf galaxy originally was much larger but was stripped of its outer layers by gravity from galaxy M60 over billions of years. M60's gravity also is pulling galaxy NGC4647, upper right, and the two eventually will collide. (NOTE: for a version of this photo with the galaxy names labeled, email <a href="mailto:lee.siegel@utah.edu">lee.siegel@utah.edu</a>.)A University of Utah astronomer and his colleagues discovered that an ultracompact dwarf galaxy harbors a supermassive black hole -- the smallest galaxy known to contain such a massive light-sucking...

Wobbling of a Saturn moon hints at what lies beneath

Using instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft to measure the wobbles of Mimas, the closest of Saturn's regular moons, a Cornell University astronomer publishing in Science, Oct. 17, has inferred that this small moon's icy surface cloaks either a rugby ball-shaped...

Tiny 'nanoflares' might heat the Sun's corona

This image from the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) shows emission from hot plasma (T ~ 80,000-100,000 K) in the Sun's transition region -- the atmospheric layer between the surface and the outer corona. The bright, C-shaped feature at upper center shows brightening in the footprints of hot coronal loops, which is created by high-energy electrons accelerated by nanoflares. The vertical dark line corresponds to the slit of the spectrograph. The image is color-coded to show light at a wavelength of 1,400 Angstroms. The size of each pixel corresponds to about 120 km (75 miles) on the Sun.Why is the Sun's million-degree corona, or outermost atmosphere, so much hotter than the Sun's surface? This question has baffled astronomers for decades. Today, a team led by Paola Testa...

Getting to know super-earths

"If you have a coin and flip it just once, what does that tell you about the odds of heads versus tails?" asks Heather Knutson, assistant professor of planetary science...

Rediscovering Venus to find faraway earths

The astro-comb calibrates the Italian National Telescope's HARPS-Nspectrograph using an observation of the asteroid Vesta. The top figure is a colorizedversion of the raw HARPS-N spectrum, showing the astro-comb calibration dottedlines and the sun's spectrum reflected off Vesta as mostly solid vertical lines.The middle figure shows the raw data converted to a very precise standard one-dimensionalplot of spectral intensity vs. wavelength. The very regular astro-comb calibrationspectrum is below below.Astronomers Chih-Hao Li and David Phillips of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics want to rediscover Venus -- that familiar, nearby planet stargazers can see with the naked eye much of...

A warm dark matter search using XMASS: Editors' suggestion of Physical Review Letters

The XMASS collaboration, led by Yoichiro Suzuki at the Kavli IPMU, has reported its latest results on the search for warm dark matter. Their results rule out the possibility that...

NASA's SDO watches giant filament on the sun

A dark snaking line in the upper right of these images on Sept. 30, 2014, show a filament of solar material hovering above the sun's surface. NASA's SDO captured the images in extreme UV light -- different colors represent different wavelengths of light and different temperatures of solar material.A snaking, extended filament of solar material currently lies on the front of the sun-- some 1 million miles across from end to end. Filaments are clouds of solar material...

Simulations reveal an unusual death for ancient stars

This image is a slice through the interior of a supermassive star of 55,500 solar masses along the axis of symmetry. It shows the inner helium core in which nuclear burning is converting helium to oxygen, powering various fluid instabilities (swirling lines). This "snapshot" from a CASTRO simulation shows one moment a day after the onset of the explosion, when the radius of the outer circle would be slightly larger than that of the orbit of the Earth around the sun. Visualizations were done in VisIT.Certain primordial stars -- those between 55,000 and 56,000 times the mass of our Sun, or solar masses -- may have died unusually. In death, these objects -- among the...

Most metal-poor star hints at universe's first supernovae

A team of researchers, led by Miho N. Ishigaki, at the Kavli IPMU, The University of Tokyo, pointed out that the elemental abundance of the most iron-poor star can be...

Infant solar system shows signs of windy weather

This is an artist's rendition of AS 205 N, a T Tauri star that is part of a multiple star system.Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around a T Tauri star, an infant analog of our own...

Monster galaxies gain weight by eating smaller neighbors

This is Dr Aaron Robotham from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research.Massive galaxies in the Universe have stopped making their own stars and are instead snacking on nearby galaxies, according to research by Australian scientists.

Rosetta-Alice spectrograph obtains first far ultraviolet spectra of a cometary surface

NASA's Alice ultraviolet (UV) spectrograph aboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta comet orbiter has delivered its first scientific discoveries. Rosetta, in orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, is the first spacecraft to...

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