Monthly Archives: December 2014
Extra-solar planets come in all sizes — from dinky rocky worlds that measure up to Mercury to massive gas giants that would dwarf Jupiter. Exoplanet hunters have developed a sophisticated array of telescopes and techniques to detect this multitude of exoplanetary girths, but we are now on the verge of potentially detecting exoplanets of different shapes.
Twins can be close, and that goes for stars as well as people. In some cases, stars get so close that they merge. In an unusual celestial event, astronomers have captured the image of two monster stars that may merge eventually and give us a chance to understand the theory on how supermassive stars are born.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has the protoplanet Ceres in its sight, and soon will have a close encounter with this unusual alien world. Still, before Dawn get’s there, it may help to answer some questions such as “what exactly is Ceres?”
Ever imagine that the red planet’s surface may once have had a different appearance? Well while researchers at NASA have had rovers scoping out Mars’ surface for years, new information received from NASA’s Curiosity Rover suggests that the planet’s craters may once have served a different purpose, and that the arid red planet may once have had long-lasting above ground lakes.
U.S. astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array have captured a remarkable image of a young star, HD 107146, surrounded by a deep layer of dust — a layer that’s thicker on the outside than it is on the inside, suggesting the presence of an entire family of Pluto-like objects.
Dark matter seemed to be a myth to some scientists and a catch-all to others, using it to explain gravitational forces and the orbits of objects in space that just couldn’t be accounted for by the existence of observable, physical matter. It has been theorized that dark matter existed and affected the way the universe functioned as much as physical matter, but until now, dark matter has only been a theory.
Take a virtual trip around the Solar System and you’ll come to one conclusion pretty quickly: Earth is odd. One of the most significant oddities about our pale blue dot is the vast quantity of liquid water. Astronomers and other scientists have proposed various arguments for how Earth ended up with huge, stable liquid oceans — and now, thanks to research from the Rosetta probe, we’ve got evidence that one prominent theory may not be correct.
Why does time only go in one direction? And why is the future so different from the past? They seem obvious questions, but they have troubled scientists for over a century. A new theory has proposed an answer — that time doesn’t run just one way, and that there is another universe, a mirror of ours, where time runs backwards.
The ESO Council has now decided to start building the new large European telescope E-ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope) on 1 January 2015. This begins the first phase of construction of the world’s largest telescope – with Danish participation.
Quasars or quasi-stellar radio sources are enigmatic objects in the far universe whose energy output outclasses several galaxies put together. These high-redshift objects are supposed to be powered by supermassive black holes. Read this article to know more about these mind-boggling active galactic nuclei objects, that have baffled astrophysicists for years.
A team of astronomers has found an important new example of a very rare type of galaxy that may yield valuable insight on how galaxies developed in the early Universe. The new discovery technique promises to give astronomers many more examples of this important and mysterious type of galaxy.