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Updated: 3 hours 40 min ago

Scientists puzzled after finding no traces of methane in Mars' atmosphere

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 05:00
Methane on Mars There’s a methane mystery brewing on Mars. Scientists first detected traces of methane gas on Mars years ago, and it was exciting because the compound is a sign of life here on Earth. But a European orbiter has yet to find any evidence of methane in the planet’s atmosphere, despite being expressly made for the purpose. It’s complicating scientists’ search for life on the Red Planet. Traces of methane were first detected in Mars’ atmosphere by the Eur
Categories: Astronomy

Virgin Galactic teases their timeline for sending tourists to space

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 05:00
However, founder Richard Branson has already staked his claim as the very first passenger.
Categories: Astronomy

Black hole jets can act as particle accelerators in distant galaxies

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 05:00
New simulations show how supermassive black holes may shoot off cosmic rays at immense energies and speeds.
Categories: Astronomy

Astronomers have found the most distant dwarf planet in the solar system to date

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 05:00
A Far-Out Planet An ambitious team of astronomers has discovered the most “far out” object ever observed in our Solar System. The object, a pink dwarf planet called 2018 VG18 and nicknamed “Farout,” lies more than 100 times further from the sun than the Earth is. This discovery, made by Carnegie’s Scott S. Sheppard, the University of Hawaii’s David Tholen and Northern Arizona University’s Chad Trujillo, was formally announced today (Dec. 17) by the Inter
Categories: Astronomy

Planets? Who needs 'em! A massive star is forming a companion instead

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 05:00
The universe is full of surprises, and a colossal young star has been hiding a stellar one. While observing infant star MM 1a, astronomers found that its massive disk was actually forming another star instead of planets. The much smaller companion, dubbed MM 1b, was detected just outside the behemoth star’s dusty disk, and could actually house a planet-forming disk of its own. The discovery of the new star, published on December 14 in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, marks one of the fir
Categories: Astronomy

Cassini catches two of Saturn's moons building a cosmic snowman

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 05:00
Floating out in the solar system, the Cassini spacecraft captured a curious image of two moons that seem to be stuck together.The image actually shows Saturn’s moons Dione and Rhea, but because of the angle that the image was taken at, they appear to be conjoined. Cassini snapped the image before NASA crashed the ship into Saturn last year. The spacecraft took this image 683,508 miles (1.1 million km) away from Dione (top) and 994,193 miles (1.6 million km) away from Rhea (bottom). So, wh
Categories: Astronomy

Despite concerns, space junk continues to clutter Earth orbit

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 05:00
Even tiny objects can do some serious damage when they travel at orbital speeds.
Categories: Astronomy

NASA’s GEDI mission will track carbon emissions in earth’s forests

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 05:00
The mission will use laser light to create 3D maps of Earth's forests, shedding light on carbon cycling, natural habitats and deforestation.
Categories: Astronomy

The Sky This Week from December 14 to December 23

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 05:00

Comet 46P/Wirtanen reaches its peak while the Sun makes its lowest arc and the Full Moon makes its highest arc across our Northern Hemisphere sky.

Categories: Astronomy

The year's brightest comet makes its closest pass by Earth this weekend

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 05:00
Though you may be able to spot Comet 46P/Wirtanen with your naked eye under a dark sky, binoculars or a telescope will make it a much easier task.
Categories: Astronomy

Juno's mission to Jupiter just hit its halfway point: Here's what we've learned so far

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 05:00
As the Juno spacecraft prepares for its 16th close pass by Jupiter later this month, let's recap what the ambitious project has already taught us.
Categories: Astronomy

Did a nearby supernova cause one of Earth’s mass extinctions?

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 05:00
Astronomers say radiation arriving from a powerful stellar explosion may be the event that wiped coastal ocean animals off the planet 2.6 million years ago.
Categories: Astronomy

Satellite view of penguin poo provides clues to Antarctica’s health

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 05:00
By looking at satellite images of scat stains left by Adélie penguins, researchers are investigating the well-being of the Antarctic ecosystem, which now includes a massive, previously unknown penguin colony.
Categories: Astronomy

New lunar crater names honor Apollo 8

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 05:00
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the first mission to send men around the Moon.
Categories: Astronomy

Don't miss the Geminid meteor shower tonight!

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 05:00
And if you're lucky enough to escape the clouds, you can expect to spot up to 120 meteors an hour under from a dark-sky site.
Categories: Astronomy

Virgin Galactic has launched its SpaceShipTwo into space

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 05:00
After dropping from the WhiteKnightTwo aircraft at an altitude of 8 miles (13 km), SpaceShipTwo's hybrid rocket motor propelled the craft to an altitude of 50 miles (80 km). 
Categories: Astronomy

Physicists create ultra-hot drops of 'quark soup' that dominated the very early universe

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 05:00
By slamming small particles into heavy gold nuclei at nearly the speed of light, scientists have created tiny, ultra-hot droplets of a bizarre type of matter called a quark-gluon plasma (QGP), which once filled the entire universe shortly after the Big Bang. Creating such a 'quark soup' is a tough task in its own right; the first sample of QGP was produced less than two decades ago by smashing two heavy atoms together. But for this new study, which was carried out as part of the PHENIX experimen
Categories: Astronomy

Dwarf planet Ceres has lots of carbon

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 05:00

Data from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows that Ceres’ surface might have more than five times as much carbon as the most carbon-rich meteorites found on Earth.

Categories: Astronomy

Virgin Galactic may reach space this week

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 05:00
The company’s commercial spaceship will undergo its next phase of testing with a launch window that opens Thursday.
Categories: Astronomy

Space station astronauts on a spacewalk to investigate mystery hole

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:00
Determining the cause of a small breach in the Soyuz spacecraft docked to the International Space Station has been harder than anticipated.
Categories: Astronomy

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