Space news stories
Strange flying-saucer-shaped moons embedded in Saturn’s rings have baffled scientists studying images transmitted by the Cassini Spacecraft. Past research suggests that the oddly shaped moons, Pan and Atlas, are born largely from clumps of icy particles in the rings themselves, a discovery that could shed light on how Earth and other planets formed from the disk of matter that once surrounded our newborn sun.
The moon no longer has a magnetic field, but NASA scientists are publishing new research that shows heat from crystallization of the lunar core may have driven its now-defunct magnetic field some 3 billion years ago.
The sun’s power isn’t limited to lighting and heating our home planet — it could create chaos by way of its coronal mass ejections (CME). These intense releases of magnetic energy can, on rare occasions, cause geomagnetic disturbances on Earth.
Black holes are not made up of matter, although they have a large mass. This explains why it has not yet been possible to observe them directly, but only via the effect of their gravity on the surroundings. They distort space and time and have a really irresistible attraction. It is hard to believe that the idea behind such exotic objects is already more than 230 years old.
39-year-old drawing hints at what the Event Horizon Telescope may have just captured: the true shape of a black hole
Last year, scientists announced that they had finally observed gravitational waves, the elusive and long sought-after ripples in the fabric of spacetime that were first posited by Albert Einstein. The waves came from a catastrophic event — the collision of two black holes located about 1.3 billion light years away from Earth — and the released energy undulated across the universe, much like ripples in a pond.
Researchers have been able to capture the first composite image of a dark matter bridge that connects galaxies together.
Alt: Could we soon know what a black hole looks like? Astronomers may have finally taken the world’s first image of a celestial abyss
In the search for new physics, experiments based on high-energy collisions inside massive atom smashers are coming up empty-handed. So physicists are putting their faith in more-precise methods: less crash-and-grab and more watching-ways-of-wobbling.
High energy, ultraviolet radiation from the sun is a known to hazard to life, yet the energy provided by our star has played an important role as the essential driver of life on Earth.
With two suns in its sky, Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine in “Star Wars” looks like a parched, sandy desert world. In real life, thanks to observatories such as NASA’s Kepler space telescope, we know that two-star systems can indeed support planets, although planets discovered so far around double-star systems are large and gaseous. Scientists wondered: If an Earth-size planet were orbiting two suns, could it support life?
Another “Great Spot” has been found at Jupiter, this one cold and high up.
Scientists reported Tuesday that the dark expanse is 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers) across and 7,500 miles (12,000 kilometers) wide.
Enceladus is ripe for life. In one final pass through the icy moon’s liquid plumes, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft found molecular hydrogen, which indicates favourable conditions for life in Enceladus’s subsurface sea.
Alt: Saturn moon ‘able to support life’
What appears to be a huge plume of water vapor has again been spotted emanating from Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, boosting scientists’ confidence that the phenomenon is real.
Images taken by NASA’s New Horizons mission on its way to Pluto, and now the Kuiper Belt, have given scientists an unexpected tool for measuring the brightness of all the galaxies in the universe, said a Rochester Institute of Technology researcher in a paper published this week in Nature Communications.
When an asteroid hits the middle of the ocean in Hollywood movies, it creates devastating waves that wipe out coastal cities. But new simulations reveal that real asteroids don’t make such a splash. That’s because the crash releases most of its energy hurling water up into the atmosphere, and very little on making waves.
Over the years, asteroids have gotten bad rap, probably because of that terrible Michael Bay movie or incessant stream of hyperbolic articles written about them. The truth is, asteroids are just hunks of rock hurling through space that aren’t actively seeking to destroy the human race. Later this month, one such non-apocalyptic asteroid will get close enough to Earth for our viewing pleasure. Even though it won’t do any damage, this is a damn big slice of space trash.
Related: A Car-Size Asteroid Just Whipped by Earth
The United States Navy fired a projectile at Mach 6 during a recent test with an electromagnetic railgun, suggesting that early ideas about using such tech to launch payloads from the lunar surface might not be so sci-fi after all.