Popular Science articles about Astronomy & Space

Using the Keck II telescope in Hawaii, researchers obtained high-resolution images of Markarian 177 and SDSS1133 using a near-infrared filter. Twin bright spots in the galaxy's center are consistent with recent star formation, a disturbance that hints this galaxy may have merged with another.

Magnetic fields frozen into meteorite grains tell a shocking tale of solar system birth

Magnetic field lines (green) weave through the cloud of dusty gas surrounding the newborn Sun. In the foreground are asteroids and chondrules, the building blocks of chondritic meteorites. While solar magnetic fields dominate the region near the Sun, out where the asteroids orbit, chondrules preserve a record of varying local magnetic fields.The most accurate laboratory measurements yet made of magnetic fields trapped in grains within a primitive meteorite are providing important clues to how the early solar system evolved. The measurements...

Astronomers dissect the aftermath of a supernova

This is a simulated still showing components of Supernova Remnant 1987A.In research published today in the Astrophysical Journal, an Australian led team of astronomers has used radio telescopes in Australia and Chile to see inside the remains of a supernova.

European satellite could discover thousands of planets in Earth's galaxy

Princeton University and Lund University researchers project that the recently launched European satellite Gaia could discover tens of thousands of planets during its five-year mission. In this image, the colored portions indicate the number of observations Gaia would make of a particular part of the sky during its mission; the scale at the bottom indicates the number of observations from zero (purple) to 200 (red). The total number of observations of any part of the sky ranges from about 60 at low ecliptic latitudes to about 80 at high ecliptic latitudes, with a maximum of about 150-200 at intermediate latitudes. From these many different observations of each star, the highly accurate Gaia measurements will reveal the tiny star motion, or "wobble," that results from any orbiting planet.A recently launched European satellite could reveal tens of thousands of new planets within the next few years, and provide scientists with a far better understanding of the number, variety...

New study finds oceans arrived early to Earth

In this illustration of the early solar system, the dashed white line represents the snow line -- the transition from the hotter inner solar system, where water ice is not stable (brown) to the outer Solar system, where water ice is stable (blue). Two possible ways that the inner solar system received water are: water molecules sticking to dust grains inside the "snow line" (as shown in the inset) and carbonaceous chondrite material flung into the inner solar system by the effect of gravity from protoJupiter. With either scenario, water must accrete to the inner planets within the first ca. 10 million years of solar system formation.Earth is known as the Blue Planet because of its oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet's surface and are home to the world's greatest diversity of...

Hubble sees 'ghost light' from dead galaxies

Massive galaxy cluster Abell 2744, nicknamed Pandora's Cluster, takes on a ghostly look where total starlight has been artificially colored blue in this Hubble view.NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has picked up the faint, ghostly glow of stars ejected from ancient galaxies that were gravitationally ripped apart several billion years ago. The mayhem happened 4...

Tremendously bright pulsar may be 1 of many

Recently, a team of astronomers reported discovering a pulsating star that appears to shine with the energy of 10 million suns. The find, which was announced in Nature, is the...

UNH scientist: Cosmic rays threaten future deep-space astronaut missions

Crewed missions to Mars remain an essential goal for NASA, but scientists are only now beginning to understand and characterize the radiation hazards that could make such ventures risky, concludes...

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...

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...

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...

Hiding in plain sight: Elusive dark matter may be detected with GPS satellites

Quantum physicist Andrei Derevianko of the University of Nevada, Reno has contributed to the development of several novel classes of atomic clocks and now is proposing using networks of synchronized atomic clocks to detect dark matter. His paper on the topic is published in the journal <i>Nature Physics</i>.The everyday use of a GPS device might be to find your way around town or even navigate a hiking trail, but for two physicists, the Global Positioning System might...

Amateur, professional astronomers alike thrilled by extreme storms on Uranus

These are infrared images of Uranus (1.6 and 2.2 microns) obtained on Aug. 6, 2014, with adaptive optics on the 10-meter Keck telescope. The white spot is an extremely large storm that was brighter than any feature ever recorded on the planet in the 2.2 micron band. The cloud rotating into view at the lower-right limb grew into the large storm that was seen by amateur astronomers at visible wavelengths.The normally bland face of Uranus has become increasingly stormy, with enormous cloud systems so bright that for the first time ever, amateur astronomers are able to see details in...

NASA's hubble surveys debris-strewn exoplanetary construction yards

This is a set of images from a NASA Hubble Space Telescope visible-light survey of the architecture of debris systems around young stars. Hubble's sharp view uncovers an unexpected diversity and complexity in the structures.Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have completed the largest and most sensitive visible-light imaging survey of dusty debris disks around other stars. These dusty disks, likely created by collisions...

UCLA astronomers solve puzzle about bizarre object at the center of our galaxy

Telescopes from Hawaii's W.M. Keck Observatory use a powerful technology called adaptive optics, which enabled UCLA astronomers to discover that G2 is a pair of binary stars that merged together, cloaked in gas and dust.For years, astronomers have been puzzled by a bizarre object in the center of the Milky Way that was believed to be a hydrogen gas cloud headed toward our galaxy's...

Yale finds a planet that won't stick to a schedule

Yale astronomers and citizen scientists from Planet Hunters have confirmed a low-mass, low-density planet that can't seem to stick to a schedule.For their latest discovery, Yale astronomers and the Planet Hunters program have found a low-mass, low-density planet with a punctuality problem.

Planck 2013 results

Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a special feature of 31 articles describing the data gathered by Planck over 15 months of observations and released by ESA and the Planck Collaboration...

Big black holes can block new stars

This is elliptical galaxy NGC 1132, as seen by NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory; the blue/purple in the image is the X-ray glow from hot, diffuse gas that is not forming into stars.Massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, a study has found.

POLARBEAR seeks cosmic answers in microwave polarization

This is the Huan Tran Telescope in the Atacama Desert of Chile. The POLARBEAR microwave bolometers are mounted on the telescope to study the polarization of light from a period 380,000 years after the Big Bang.An international team of physicists has measured a subtle characteristic in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation that will allow them to map the large-scale structure of the...

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...

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...

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