Monthly Archives: February 2015
The ancient Earth was a hostile environment marked by unpredictable climate and oxygen-deprived air over 3 billion years ago. Until this week, scientists believed that life forms came into existence, and started using Earth’s nitrogen, around 2 billion years ago. But the new research from the University of Washington changes all these previous theories.
Enormous cloud-like plumes reaching 160 miles above the surface of Mars have left scientists baffled. This is way beyond Mars’ normal weather, reaching into the exosphere where the atmosphere merges with interplanetary space. None of the conventional explanations for such clouds make sense – neither water or carbon dioxide ice nor dust storms nor auroral light emissions usually hit such heights.
Astronomers say a red dwarf star and its brown dwarf companion passed within 0.8 light-year of our own sun 70,000 years ago, moving through the comets in the outer reaches of the Oort Cloud that surrounds our solar system. In cosmic terms, that’s almost a close shave, astronomers say; our nearest neighbor star, Proxima Centauri, is a comfortable 4.2 light years away from us.
The drought in California, going into its fourth year, has been in the news, especially since California produces much of the country’s food. But a new NASA study, published this week in the journal Science Advances, suggests that the U.S. could be looking at much worse.
Think you know everything there is to know about the Sun? Think again. Here are some facts about the Sun, collected in no particular order. Some you might already know, and others will be totally new to you.
It may be another case of life imitating art, but the visual effects technology used for last fall’s Christopher Nolan sci-fi epic ‘Interstellar,’ may lead the way to further understanding of how real life black holes actually function – particularly the extreme power they wield, giving traction to new methods in astrophysics research.
A short time-lapse “movie” was shot of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. The images were taken by Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which is closer to Pluto than any spacecraft has ever been.
Despite all the information we’ve discovered from our telescopes and outer space missions, there are still many puzzles to solve in our own solar system. Sometimes, it seems the more we learn, the more mysteries we uncover.
Capturing an image more than once per second, SDO (NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory) has provided an unprecedentedly clear picture of how massive explosions on the sun grow and erupt ever since its launch on Feb. 11, 2010. In honor of SDO’s fifth anniversary, NASA has released a video showcasing highlights from the last five years of sun watching. Hope you’ll enjoi it.
Using data from NASA’s Kepler mission, two teams of astronomers, led by Mauricio Ortiz from the University of Heidelberg and Simona Ciceri of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, have independently discovered a new extrasolar gas giant that is almost six times more massive than Jupiter, but about the same size.
Most every one has heard of SETI — the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence — and most also know that, so far, the scientists that operate the powerful telescopes and computers that analyze potential signals from civilizations beyond Earth have come up empty-handed — with the possible exception of the so-called ‘Wow! signal’ (detected only once, for 72 seconds, by Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977).
A black hole is a region of spacetime from which gravity prevents anything, including light, from escaping. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. Around a black hole, there is a mathematically defined surface called an event horizon that marks the point of no return.