Space news stories

Dark Matter Maps: Charting the Unseen Sky
22nd October 2017 | Space

Cosmologists from the UK, France, and Germany have come up with new maps of how dark matter moves throughout the universe.

The Forgotten 18th Century Observatory that Marked the Rise of Astronomy in India
21st October 2017 | Space

The Indian Subcontinent’s first astronomy texts date back 3,000 years.  The Madras Observatory marks the triumphal fusion of scientific knowledge and imperial power.  Astronomy held the key to the sovereignty of a rich and powerful empire.

NASA’s MAVEN Mission Finds Mars Has a Twisted Magnetic Tail
21st October 2017 | | Space

Mars has an invisible magnetic ‘tail’ that is twisted by interaction with the solar wind, according to new research using data from NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft.

A Giant Lava Tube Cave on the Moon Could Host Lunar Settlers
20th October 2017 | Space

Turn-of-the-century science fiction posited the existence of aliens living deep beneath the surface of the moon. Someday those subterranean creatures could very well be us. New data has uncovered a 30 mile long tunnel under the moon’s surface, likely the relic of ancient lava flows.

Tribes of India Tell Their Own Stories of Celestial Bodies
20th October 2017 | | Humans, Space

Astronomy has benefited from amateur efforts, including myths that seek to explain astronomical phenomena. That is true for tribal lore of India too, researchers have found.  A study of tribal people settled around central India has revealed a rich mythology.

The Solar-Powered Asteroid Nursery at the Orbit of Mars
19th October 2017 | Space

The planet Mars shares its orbit with a handful of small asteroids, the so-called Trojans. Among them, one finds a unique group, all moving in very similar orbits, suggesting that they originated from the same object. But the mechanism that produced this family has been a mystery.  Now an international team of astronomers believe they have identified the culprit: sunlight.

NASA’s Robotic Psyche Asteroid Mission to Communicate Using Lasers
19th October 2017 | | Space, Tech

A spacecraft destined to explore a unique asteroid will also test new communication hardware that uses lasers instead of radio waves.  Psyche is both the name of an asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter — and the name of the NASA mission to visit that asteroid.

The Science Behind the New Weather-Fueled Doomsday Film “Geostorm”
19th October 2017 | | Earth, Space, Tech

Researchers have long sought control over the weather, but have yet to find a realistic way to master it.  Smithsonian takes a look at the film Geostorm to separate fact from science fiction.

Google Maps Now Lets You Explore Space
19th October 2017 | | Space, Tech

The search giant Google has been working with NASA to include data from the Cassini mission, along with data from other missions, to allow users to tour 12 new worlds.

How the Sun, Moon and Stars Appear in Ancient Mayan Astronomy
18th October 2017 | | Humans, Space

The Ancient Maya were keen astronomers, recording and interpreting every aspect of the sky. They believed that the will and actions of the Gods could be read in the stars, moon, and planets, so they dedicated time to doing so, and many of their most important buildings were built with astronomy in mind. The sun, moon, and planets, Venus, in particular, were all studied by the Maya.

Celestial Treasures of the Constellation Centaurus
18th October 2017 | | Space

The Constellation Centaurus is named for a Greek mythological being which is a half-man-half-horse called a centaur. Due to the Earth’s wobble on its axis called precession, the position of Centaurus in the sky has changed over historical time. In the distant past, it was seen from all over the planet. In a few thousand years, it will once again be visible to people around the world.

Ring Discovered Around Potato-Shaped Dwarf Planet Haumea
17th October 2017 | | Space

A ring system has been found around a dwarf planet for the first time: the distant, potato-shaped Haumea, which lies beyond Neptune, first discovered in 2004.

Gravitational Waves: Why All the Fuss?
17th October 2017 | Space

Great excitement has rippled through the physics world at news of the first-ever detection of two ultra-dense neutron stars converging in a violent smashup.

All Hail Kronos, the Star that Eats Planets for Breakfast
16th October 2017 | Space

Apparently a star known as HD 240430, now dubbed Kronos, has eaten about 15 Earths worth of rocky planets, as astrophysicists concluded from the planetary equivalent of the stench of garlic in its chemical signature.

Queensland Museum’s New $100,000 Meteorite Proves Priceless to Scientists
15th October 2017 | | Earth, Space

The meteorite weighs more than 15 kilograms and is so valuable that it is being held under lock-and-key in a secret location on the northside of Brisbane, Australia. The meteorite likely came from the asteroid belt, but it was not apparent just how special it was until the end was sawed off to reveal a stunning cross-section of metal.

NASA’s Carbon Space Observatory Watches Earth Breathe
14th October 2017 | | Space

A NASA satellite has provided remarkable new insights on how CO2 is moved through the Earth’s atmosphere.  The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) tracked the behaviour of the gas in a 2015/2016 period when the planet experienced a major El Niño event.

News stories covering Space, from the macro to the micro, including Space exploration, quantum physics and quantum weirdness.