Space news stories
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Planet Nine could have a mass ten times that of Earth’s, and be situated twenty times as far from the sun as Neptune. While it’s very difficult to procure clear evidence of its existence, some scientists are absolutely convinced that it’s out there.
A house-sized asteroid called 2012 TC4 is set to pass close to the Earth on 12 September, allowing NASA scientists to rehearse future strike threats.
A solar event in September sparked a global aurora on the Red Planet more than 25 times brighter than any previously seen by NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) spacecraft. An aurora on Mars can envelope the entire planet because Mars has no strong magnetic field like Earth’s to concentrate the aurora near polar regions.
Mars may be an arid wasteland today, but that wasn’t always the case – and scientists have discovered evidence that a huge sea existed on southern Mars some 3.7 billion years ago, filled with hot springs pumping out water packed with minerals. Experts think this hydrothermal undersea activity matches what was happening on Earth at the same time, potentially giving us clues about how life began on our own planet.
A cannabis experiment of galactic proportions took place over Phoenix, Arizona, in a daring and unusual feat in an effort to answer the age-old question: What happens when you send cannabis into space?