Popular Science articles about Astronomy & Space

This artist's impression illustrates how high-speed jets from supermassive black holes would look. These outflows of plasma are the result of the extraction of energy from a supermassive black hole's rotation as it consumes the disc of swirling material that surrounds it. These jets have very strong emissions at radio wavelengths.
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A bubbly cosmic celebration

This richly colored cloud of gas called RCW 34 is a site of star formation in the southern constellation of Vela (The Sails). This image was taken using the FORS instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope in northern Chile.This new image from ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile shows a spectacular red cloud of glowing hydrogen gas behind a collection of blue foreground stars. Within...

Bat-inspired sonar system unveiled at Acoustical Society meeting

Rolf Mueller, an associate professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has developed a prototype of a dynamic sonar system inspired...

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UNH scientists show 'breaking waves' perturb Earth's magnetic field

The underlying physical process that creates striking "breaking wave" cloud patterns in our atmosphere also frequently opens the gates to high-energy solar wind plasma that perturbs Earth's magnetic field, or...

MIT engineers hand 'cognitive' control to underwater robots

For the last decade, scientists have deployed increasingly capable underwater robots to map and monitor pockets of the ocean to track the health of fisheries, and survey marine habitats and...

ALMA discovers proto super star cluster -- a cosmic 'dinosaur egg' about to hatch

The Antennae galaxies, shown in visible light in a Hubble image (upper image), were studied with ALMA, revealing extensive clouds of molecular gas (center right image). One cloud (bottom image) is incredibly dense and massive, yet apparently star free, suggesting it is the first example of a prenatal globular cluster ever identified.Globular clusters -- dazzling agglomerations of up to a million ancient stars -- are among the oldest objects in the universe. Though plentiful in and around many galaxies, newborn examples...

Space debris from satellite explosion increases collision risk for space craft

The spreading of the fragmentation cloud to form a band of debris (exaggerated size).Debris from the US Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F13 satellite, which recently exploded in orbit, could pose a threat to other spacecraft and missions according to new research from...

U of T astrophysicists offer proof that famous image shows forming planets

This image sparked scientific debate when it was released last year, with researchers arguing over whether newly forming planets were responsible for gaps in the dust and gas swirling around the young star.A recent and famous image from deep space marks the first time we've seen a forming planetary system, according to a study by U of T astrophysicists.

Pulsar with widest orbit ever detected

This is an artist's impression of pulsar PSR J1930-1852 shown in orbit around a companion neutron star. Discovered by a team of high school students, this pulsar has the widest orbit ever observed around another neutron star.A team of highly determined high school students discovered a never-before-seen pulsar by painstakingly analyzing data from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT). Further...

UH-led team successfully observes the solar eclipse over the Arctic

The international Solar Wind Sherpas team, led by Dr. Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Institute for Astronomy, braved Arctic weather to successfully observe the total solar eclipse of March 20, 2015 from Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago east of northern Greenland. Their preliminary results are being presented at the Triennial Earth-Sun Summit in Indianapolis, IN. More: <a target="_blank"href="http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/press-releases/2015solar_eclipse/">http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/press-releases/2015solar_eclipse/</a>.The international Solar Wind Sherpas team, led by Dr. Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Institute for Astronomy, braved Arctic weather to successfully observe the total solar...

Robotically discovering Earth's nearest neighbors

This is an artist's impression of a view from the HD 7924 planetary system looking back toward our sun, which would be easily visible to the naked eye. Since HD 7924 is in our northern sky, an observer looking back at the sun would see objects like the Southern Cross and the Magellanic Clouds close to our sun in their sky.A team of astronomers using ground-based telescopes in Hawaiʻi, California and Arizona recently discovered a planetary system orbiting a nearby star that is only 54 light-years away. All three planets...

Discovery shows what the solar system looked like as a 'toddler'

An international team of astronomers, including researchers from the University of Cambridge, has identified a young planetary system which may aid in understanding how our own solar system formed and developed billions of years ago.

Hubble observes one-of-a-kind star nicknamed 'Nasty'

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered surprising new clues about a hefty, rapidly aging star whose behavior has never been seen before in our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers have nicknamed it 'Nasty 1,' a play on its catalog name of NaSt1.Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered surprising new clues about a hefty, rapidly aging star whose behavior has never been seen before in our Milky Way galaxy. In...

Caltech astronomers observe a supernova colliding with its companion star

This is a still from a simulation of a Type Ia supernova. In the simulation, a Type Ia supernova 
explodes (dark brown color). The supernova material is ejected outwards at a velocity of
about 10,000 km/s. The ejected material slams into its companion star (light blue). Such a
violent collision produces an ultraviolet pulse which is emitted from the conical hole carved out by the companion star.Type Ia supernovae, one of the most dazzling phenomena in the universe, are produced when small dense stars called white dwarfs explode with ferocious intensity. At their peak, these supernovae...

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MESSENGER reveals Mercury's magnetic field secrets

Catherine Johnson is a University of British Columbia planetary scientist.New data from MESSENGER, the spacecraft that orbited Mercury for four years before crashing into the planet a week ago, reveal that Mercury's magnetic field is almost four billion years...

Lopsided star explosion holds the key to other supernova mysteries

This is the core of a core-collapse supernova in the pre-explosion.New observations of a recently exploded star are confirming supercomputer model predictions made at Caltech that the deaths of stellar giants are lopsided affairs in which debris and the stars'...

Geochemical process on Saturn's moon linked to life's origin

Dramatic plumes, both large and small, spray water ice and vapor near the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus. This two-image mosaic is one of the highest resolution views acquired by Cassini during its imaging survey of the geyser basin capping the southern hemisphere of Saturn's moon Enceladus. It is provided courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.New work from a team including Carnegie’s Christopher Glein has revealed the pH of water spewing from a geyser-like plume on Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Their findings are an...

Astronomers unveil the farthest galaxy

The galaxy EGS-zs8-1 sets a new distance record. It was discovered in images from the Hubble Space Telescope's CANDELS survey.An international team of astronomers led by Yale University and the University of California-Santa Cruz have pushed back the cosmic frontier of galaxy exploration to a time when the universe...

Long-term galactic cosmic ray exposure leads to dementia-like cognitive impairments

'This is not positive news for astronauts deployed on a two- to three-year round trip to Mars,' said Charles Limoli, a professor of radiation oncology in UCI's School of Medicine.What happens to an astronaut's brain during a mission to Mars? Nothing good. It's besieged by destructive particles that can forever impair cognition, according to a UC Irvine radiation oncology...

Dull forest glow yields orbital tracking of photosynthesis

Chlorophyll fluorescence, dull glow produced by plant leaves as a byproduct of photosynthesis, could provide a means of monitoring photosynthetic activity from orbiting satellites. Research conducted by Brown University scientists in the Harvard Forest helps to confirm that fluorescence is a good proxy for photosynthesis in a forest canopy.A research team led by geoscientists from Brown University and the Marine Biological Laboratory has provided some crucial ground-truth for a method of measuring plant photosynthesis on a global scale...

The Pillars of Creation revealed in 3-D

This visualization of the three-dimensional structure of the Pillars of Creation within the star formation region Messier 16 (also called the Eagle Nebula) is based on new observations of the object using the MUSE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile. The pillars actually consist of several distinct pieces on either side of the star cluster NGC 6611. In this illustration, the relative distance between the pillars along the line of sight is not to scale.Using the MUSE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have produced the first complete three-dimensional view of the famous Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, Messier 16....

Strong evidence for coronal heating theory presented at 2015 TESS meeting

NASA's EUNIS sounding rocket examined light from the sun in the area shown by the white line (imposed over an image of the sun from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory) then separated the light into various wavelengths (as shown in the lined images - spectra - on the right and left) to identify the temperature of material observed on the sun. The spectra provided evidence to explain why the sun's atmosphere is so much hotter than its surface.The sun's surface is blisteringly hot at 10,340 degrees Fahrenheit -- but its atmosphere is another 300 times hotter. This has led to an enduring mystery for those who study...

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