Popular Science articles about Astronomy & Space

Scientists get first glimpse of black hole eating star, ejecting high-speed flare

An international team of astrophysicists led by a Johns Hopkins University scientist has for the first time witnessed a star being swallowed by a black hole and ejecting a flare of matter moving at nearly the speed of light.

Iowa State astronomers say comet fragments best explanation of mysterious dimming star

This illustration shows a star behind a shattered comet. Observations of the star KIC 8462852 by NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes suggest that its unusual light signals are likely from dusty comet fragments, which blocked the light of the star as they passed in front of it in 2011 and 2013. The comets are thought to be traveling around the star in a very long, eccentric orbit.Was it a catastrophic collision in the star's asteroid belt? A giant impact that disrupted a nearby planet? A dusty cloud of rock and debris? A family of comets breaking...

Mars to lose its largest moon, Phobos, but gain a ring

Mars could gain a ring in 10-20 million years when its moon Phobos is torn to shreds by Mars gravity.Mars' largest moon, Phobos, is slowly falling toward the planet, but rather than smash into the surface, it likely will be shredded and the pieces strewn about the planet in...

NASA sees In-Fa get better organized, re-strengthen

On Nov. 19 GPM saw a few towering storms in In-fa's eye wall were reaching heights of up to 17.3 km (10.7 miles). The most intense precipitation was measured in In-fa's eye wall by DPR where it was falling at a rate of almost 55 mm (2.16 inches) per hour.When the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission of GPM core satellite analyzed Tropical Storm In-fa, data showed the storm had become better organized over the previous 24 hours. After GPM, NASA-NOAA's...

Related science articles

Dark matter dominates in nearby dwarf galaxy

Dwarf galaxies have few stars but lots of dark matter.  This Caltech FIRE (Feedback in Realistic Environments) simulation from shows the predicted distribution of stars (left) and dark matter (right) around a galaxy like the Milky Way.  The red circle shows a dwarf galaxy like Triangulum II.  Although it has a lot of dark matter, it has very few stars.  Dark matter-dominated galaxies like Triangulum II are excellent prospects for detecting the gamma-ray signal from dark matter self-annihilation.Dark matter is called "dark" for a good reason. Although they outnumber particles of regular matter by more than a factor of 10, particles of dark matter are elusive. Their...

NASA's Fermi satellite detects first gamma-ray pulsar in another galaxy

NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has detected the first extragalactic gamma-ray pulsar, PSR J0540-6919, near the Tarantula Nebula (top center) star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy that orbits our own Milky Way. Fermi detects a second pulsar (right) as well but not its pulses. PSR J0540-6919 now holds the record as the highest-luminosity gamma-ray pulsar. The angular distance between the pulsars corresponds to about half the apparent size of a full moon. Background: An image of the Tarantula Nebula and its surroundings in visible light.Researchers using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have discovered the first gamma-ray pulsar in a galaxy other than our own. The object sets a new record for the most luminous...

Asteroid ripped apart to form star's glowing ring system

An asteroid torn apart by the strong gravity of a white dwarf has formed a ring of dust particles and debris orbiting the Earth-sized burnt out stellar core. Gas produced by collisions within the disc is detected in observations obtained over twelve years with ESO's Very Large Telescope, and reveal a narrow glowing arc.The sight of an asteroid being ripped apart by a dead star and forming a glowing debris ring has been captured in an image for the first time.

Related science article

Mars' moon Phobos is slowly falling apart

New modeling indicates that the grooves on Mars' moon Phobos could be produced by tidal forces -- the mutual gravitational pull of the planet and the moon. Initially, scientists had thought the grooves were created by the massive impact that made Stickney crater (lower right).The long, shallow grooves lining the surface of Phobos are likely early signs of the structural failure that will ultimately destroy this moon of Mars.

Dark matter and particle acceleration in near space

The HTV5 CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET) Flight Crew Interface Test (FCIT). CALET will search for signatures of dark matter and provide the highest energy direct measurements of the cosmic ray electron spectrum.Peering into darkness can strike fear into the hearts of some, but a new space telescope will soon peer into the darkness of "near space" (within a few thousand light...

Spirals in dust around young stars may betray presence of massive planets

A computer model reproduces the two-spiral-arm structure; the "x" is the location of a putative planet. The planet, which cannot be seen directly, probably excites the two spiral arms.A team of astronomers is proposing that huge spiral patterns seen around some newborn stars, merely a few million years old (about one percent our sun's age), may be evidence...

'One size fits all' when it comes to unravelling how stars form

This is an artist's impression of the disk around the forming high-mass star AFGL 4176. The disk is 50 times larger than the size of Pluto's orbit, but it rotates around its star in a similar way to disks around forming low-mass stars.Observations led by astronomers at the University of Leeds have shown for the first time that a massive star, 25 times the mass of the Sun, is forming in a...

<p>The star VY Canis Majoris is a red hypergiant, one of the largest known stars in the Milky Way. It is 30-40 times the mass of the Sun and 300 000 times more luminous. In its current state, the star would encompass the orbit of Jupiter, having expanded tremendously as it enters the final stages of its life.

<p>New observations of the star using the SPHERE instrument on the VLT have clearly revealed how the brilliant light of VY Canis Majoris lights up the clouds of material surrounding it and have allowed the properties of the component dust grains to be determined better than ever before.

<p>In this very close-up view from SPHERE the star itself is hidden behind an obscuring disc. The crosses are artefacts due to features in the instrument.

Tracking down the 'missing' carbon from the Martian atmosphere

Carbon dioxide to generate the atmosphere originates in the planet's mantle and is released through volcanoes or trapped in rocks crystallized from magmas. Once in the atmosphere, the CO2 can exchange with the polar caps, passing from gas to ice and back to gas again. The CO2 can also dissolve into waters, which can then precipitate out solid carbonates, either in lakes at the surface or in shallow aquifers. Importantly, CO2 gas in the atmosphere is continually lost to space at a rate controlled in part by the sun's activity. The ultraviolet (UV) photodissociation mechanism that we highlight occurs when UV radiation encounters a CO2 molecule, breaking the bonds to first form CO and then C atoms. Isotope fractionation occurs when the C atoms are lost to space because the lighter carbon-12 isotopes are more easily removed than the heavier carbon-13 isotopes. This fractionation, the preferential loss of carbon-12 to space, leaves a fingerprint: enrichment of the heavy carbon-13 isotope, measured in the atmosphere of Mars today.Mars is blanketed by a thin, mostly carbon dioxide atmosphere--one that is far too thin to prevent large amounts of water on the surface of the planet from subliming or...

NASA's Aqua satellite eyes Tropical Storm Rick in Eastern Pacific

The MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Storm Rick off the west coast of Mexico on Nov. 19 at 20:15 UTC (3:15 p.m. EST).NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Rick and captured a visible light image that showed the storm far off the coast of western Mexico. Rick continued to hang on to its...

Related science articles

Forming planet observed for first time

This is a composite image of LkCa 15 in which blue shows the MagAO data taken at H-alpha, and green and red show the LBT data taken at Ks and L' bands. The greyscale is a previously published millimeter image of the disk. NOTE: pixilation is because of the way the image was formed.An international team of scientists in Australia and the United States has captured the first-ever images of a planet in the making. The accumulation of dust and gas particles onto...

5400mph winds discovered hurtling around planet outside solar system

The planet HD 189733b is shown here in front of its parent star. A belt of wind around the equator of the planet travels at 5400mph from the heated day side to the night side. The day side of the planet appears blue due to scattering of light from silicate haze in the atmosphere. The night side of the planet glows a deep red due to its high temperature. Research provides first ever weather map of a planet outside our solar system

Unlocking the mysteries of 'little starlets'

Despite being discovered 20 years ago, very little is known about brown dwarfs - notably why they fail to grow into stars.

UCLA professor proposes simpler way to define what makes a planet

Video animation of dwarf planet Ceres, based on images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft.Since the late 1980s, scientists have discovered nearly 5,000 planetary bodies orbiting stars other than the sun. But astronomers are still working on what exactly we should call them.

Ancient stars at the center of the galaxy contain 'fingerprints' from the early universe

An international team of astronomers, led researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Australian National University, have identified some of the oldest stars in our galaxy, which could contain...

Related science articles

Disk gaps don't always signal planets

When astronomers study protoplanetary disks of gas and dust that surround young stars, they sometimes spot a dark gap like the Cassini division in Saturn's rings. It has been suggested...

Probing the mysteries of Europa, Jupiter's cracked and crinkled moon

Jupiter's moon Europa is believed to possess a large salty ocean beneath its icy exterior, and that ocean, scientists say, has the potential to harbor life. Indeed, a mission recently...

VISTA discovers new component of Milky Way

Astronomers using the VISTA telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory have discovered a previously unknown component of the Milky Way. By mapping out the locations of a class of stars that vary in brightness called Cepheids, a disc of young stars buried behind thick dust clouds in the central bulge has been found.

This diagram shows the locations of the newly discovered Cepheids in an artist's rendering of the Milky Way. The yellow star indicates the position of the Sun.The Vista Variables in the Vía Láctea Survey (VVV) [1] ESO public survey is using the VISTA telescope at the Paranal Observatory to take multiple images...

More news about Astronomy & Space

Breaking science news from the newsfeed about Astronomy & Space