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Finding a killer electron hot spot in Earth's Van Allen radiation belts
Posted on Friday December 13, 2019

JAXA and NASA satellite observations show where killer electrons are generated in the Van Allen radiation belts surrounding Earth.

First identified comet to visit our solar system from another star
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

Comet 2I/Borisov is a mysterious visitor from the depths of space -- the first identified comet to arrive here from another star. Hubble images capture the comet streaking though our solar system and on its way back to interstellar space. It's only the second interstellar object known to have passed through the solar system.

Scientists map a planet's global wind patterns for the first time, and it's not Earth
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

A new article documents the global wind patterns on any planet for the first time. Remote repogramming of the MAVEN spacecraft and its NGIMS instrument enabled the data collection. The results reveal seasonal stability in circulation patterns on Mars, but high short-term volatility in wind direction and speed. The data also allow researchers to infer the topography below based on waves created by the air mass flowing over features like mountains and canyons.

Newfound Martian aurora actually the most common; sheds light on Mars' changing climate
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

A type of Martian aurora first identified by NASA's MAVEN spacecraft in 2016 is actually the most common form of aurora occurring on the Red Planet, according to new results from the mission. The aurora is known as a proton aurora and can help scientists track water loss from Mars' atmosphere.

Planet-mass objects in extragalactic systems
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

A research group is reporting the detection of extragalactic planet-mass objects in a second and third galaxy beyond the Milky Way after the first detection in 2018. With the existing observational resources, it is impossible to directly detect planet-mass objects beyond the Milky Way and to measure its rogue planetary population.

ALMA spots most distant dusty galaxy hidden in plain sight
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Astronomers have spotted the light of a massive galaxy seen only 970 million years after the Big Bang. This galaxy, called MAMBO-9, is the most distant dusty star-forming galaxy that has ever been observed without the help of a gravitational lens.

Water common -- yet scarce -- in exoplanets
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

The most extensive survey of atmospheric chemical compositions of exoplanets to date has revealed trends that challenge current theories of planet formation and has implications for the search for water in the solar system and beyond.

Ice in motion: Satellites capture decades of change
Posted on Tuesday December 10, 2019

New time-lapse videos of Earth's glaciers and ice sheets as seen from space -- some spanning nearly 50 years -- are providing scientists with new insights into how the planet's frozen regions are changing.

Stardust from red giants
Posted on Tuesday December 10, 2019

Some of the Earth's building material was stardust from red giants. Astronomers can also explain why the Earth contains more of this stardust than the asteroids or the planet Mars, which are farther from the sun.

How planets may form after dust sticks together
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Scientists may have figured out how dust particles can stick together to form planets, according to a new study that may also help to improve industrial processes.

Explaining the 'tiger stripes' of Saturn's moon Enceladus
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Slashed across the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus are four straight, parallel fissures or 'tiger stripes' from which water erupts. These fissures aren't quite like anything else in the Solar System. Researchers now think they have a model to explain them.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission explains Asteroid Bennu's mysterious particle events
Posted on Thursday December 05, 2019

Shortly after NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu, an unexpected discovery by the mission's science team revealed that the asteroid could be active, or consistently discharging particles into space.

Sun corona in unprecedented clarity
Posted on Wednesday December 04, 2019

Early returns from the US Naval Research Laboratory's camera on NASA's latest mission to study the Sun's corona revealed on Dec. 4 a star more complex than ever imagined.

Signs of life: New field guide aids astronomers' search
Posted on Wednesday December 04, 2019

A senior has come up with a way to discern life on exoplanets loitering in other cosmic neighborhoods: a spectral field guide.

Hidden giant planet revealed around tiny white dwarf star
Posted on Wednesday December 04, 2019

The first evidence of a giant planet orbiting a dead white dwarf star has been found in the form of a disc of gas formed from its evaporating atmosphere.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe sheds new light on the sun
Posted on Wednesday December 04, 2019

Since its 2018 launch, NASA's Parker Solar Probe (record-holder for closest-ever spacecraft to the Sun) has finished three of 24 planned passes through never-before-explored parts of the Sun's atmosphere. Four new articles describe what scientists have learned from its unprecedented exploration, and what they look forward to learning next.

Studying water quality with satellites and public data
Posted on Wednesday December 04, 2019

The researchers built a novel dataset of more than 600,000 matchups between water quality field measurements and Landsat imagery, creating a 'symphony of data.'

Meteorite-loving microorganism
Posted on Wednesday December 04, 2019

The archaeon Metallosphaera sedula can uptake and process extraterrestrial material. This is shown by an international team led by astrobiologists, who examines microbial fingerprints on meteorite materials. The researchers also conclude that M. sedula colonizes meteorite minerals faster than those of terrestrial origin.

Exoplanet-hunting mission catches a natural comet outburst in unprecedented detail
Posted on Tuesday December 03, 2019

Astronomers have captured a clear start-to-finish image sequence of an explosive emission of dust, ice and gases during the close approach of comet 46P/Wirtanen in late 2018.

Detecting solar flares, more in real time
Posted on Tuesday December 03, 2019

Computers can learn to find flares and other events in vast streams of solar images to help forecasters issue timely alerts, according to a new study. The machine-learning technique searches satellite data for features significant for space weather. Changing conditions on the Sun can affect various technologies on Earth, blocking radio communications, damaging power grids, and diminishing navigation system accuracy.

Gas giant composition not determined by host star
Posted on Tuesday December 03, 2019

A surprising analysis of the composition of gas giant exoplanets and their host stars shows that there isn't a strong correlation between their compositions when it comes to elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. This finding has important implications for our understanding of the planetary formation process.

Saturn's largest moon, Titan, may offer insights for Earth
Posted on Tuesday December 03, 2019

Scientists studying the weather and climate of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, have reported a significant seasonal variation in its energy budget, a finding which could yield new insights into climate on Earth.

Cracking 60-year-old mystery of Sun's magnetic waves
Posted on Monday December 02, 2019

Scientists have discovered why the Sun's magnetic waves strengthen and grow as they emerge from its surface, which could help to solve the mystery of how the corona of the Sun maintains its multi-million degree temperatures.

Solar wind slows farther away from the Sun
Posted on Monday December 02, 2019

Measurements taken by the Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument aboard NASA's New Horizons spacecraft are providing important new insights from some of the farthest reaches of space ever explored. Astronomers now show how the solar wind -- the supersonic stream of charged particles blown out by the Sun -- evolves at increasing distances from the Sun.

A new theory for how black holes and neutron stars shine bright
Posted on Wednesday November 27, 2019

Astrophysicists employed massive super-computer simulations to calculate the mechanisms that accelerate charged particles in extreme environments. They concluded their energization is powered by the interplay of chaotic motion and reconnection of super-strong magnetic fields.

Impact crater data analysis of Ryugu asteroid illuminates complicated geological history
Posted on Wednesday November 27, 2019

Analysis of the impact craters on Ryugu using the spacecraft Hayabusa2's remote sensing image data has illuminated the geological history of the Near-Earth asteroid and revealed 77 craters. Through analyzing the location patterns and characteristics of the craters, it was discovered that the asteroid's eastern and western hemispheres were likely formed at different periods of time. It is hoped that the collected data can be used as a basis for future asteroid research and analysis.

Solving fossil mystery could aid quest for ancient life on Mars
Posted on Wednesday November 27, 2019

The search for evidence of life on Mars could be helped by fresh insights into ancient rocks on Earth.

Satellite broken? Smart satellites to the rescue
Posted on Tuesday November 26, 2019

Scientists are developing robotic networks that can work independently but collaboratively on a common task. The goal? To make smart satellites that can repair other satellites in space.

Space travel can make the gut leaky
Posted on Tuesday November 26, 2019

Bacteria, fungi, and viruses can enter our gut through the food we eat. Fortunately, the epithelial cells that line our intestines serve as a robust barrier to prevent these microorganisms from invading the rest of our bodies. Biomedical scientist have now found that simulated microgravity, such as that encountered in spaceflight, disrupts the functioning of the epithelial barrier even after removal from the microgravity environment.

Scientists inch closer than ever to signal from cosmic dawn
Posted on Tuesday November 26, 2019

Researchers have taken a new and significant step toward detecting a signal from the period in cosmic history when the first stars lit up the universe.

Extra-terrestrial impacts may have triggered 'bursts' of plate tectonics
Posted on Tuesday November 26, 2019

When -- and how -- Earth's surface evolved from a hot, primordial mush into a rocky planet continually resurfaced by plate tectonics remain some of the biggest unanswered questions in earth science research. Now a new study suggests this earthly transition may in fact have been triggered by extra-terrestrial impacts.

Bizarre worlds orbiting a black hole?
Posted on Monday November 25, 2019

Theoreticians in two different fields defied the common knowledge that planets orbit stars like the Sun. They proposed the possibility of thousands of planets around a supermassive black hole.

NASA space data can cut disaster response times, costs
Posted on Friday November 22, 2019

According to a new study, emergency responders could cut costs and save time by using near-real-time satellite data along with other decision-making tools after a flooding disaster.

The simultaneous merging of giant galaxies
Posted on Thursday November 21, 2019

Scientists proved for the first time that the galaxy NGC 6240 contains three supermassive black holes. The unique observations show the black holes close to each other in the core of the galaxy. The study points to simultaneous merging processes during the formation of the largest galaxies in the universe.

First evidence of bio-essential sugars in meteorites
Posted on Thursday November 21, 2019

A new study has discovered meteorites containing RNA sugar, ribose, and other bio-important sugars; the first direct evidence of bio-essential sugars' delivery from space to the Earth.

Astronomers discover most energetic gamma-ray burst ever
Posted on Wednesday November 20, 2019

Gamma-ray bursts are the most energetic phenomenon known to humankind. Although short-lived, they outshine stars and even galactic quasars. They usually display energies in the region of tens of giga-electron-volts, but for the first time, researchers discovered a gamma-ray burst in the region of a tera-electron-volt. This level of energy has long been theorized, and this study demonstrates these energies might actually be more common than once thought.

Highest-energy light from a gamma-ray burst ever
Posted on Wednesday November 20, 2019

Researchers have observed a gamma-ray burst with an afterglow that featured the highest energy photons -- a trillion times more energetic than visible light -- ever detected in a burst.

Caught in the act: MeerKAT telescope spies stellar flare
Posted on Wednesday November 20, 2019

The MeerKAT radio telescope in the Northern Cape of South Africa has discovered an object which rapidly brightened by more than a factor of three over a period of three weeks. This is the first new transient source discovered with MeerKAT and scientists hope it is the tip of an iceberg of transient events to be discovered with the telescope.

Outback telescope captures Milky Way center, discovers remnants of dead stars
Posted on Wednesday November 20, 2019

A radio telescope in the Western Australian outback has captured a spectacular new view of the center of the galaxy in which we live, the Milky Way. The image from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope shows what our galaxy would look like if human eyes could see radio waves.

NASA's TESS helps astronomers study red-giant stars, examine a too-close planet
Posted on Tuesday November 19, 2019

Astronomers have been studying two red-giant stars -- older, 'retired' stars no longer burning hydrogen in their cores. The study details an interesting case of planetary evolution and demonstrates how star studies can be an important part of the mission's search for planets beyond our solar system.

Scientists find evidence of missing neutron star
Posted on Tuesday November 19, 2019

The leftovers from a spectacular supernova that revolutionized our understanding of how stars end their lives have finally been spotted by astronomers.

Light-sensing camera may help detect extraterrestrial life, dark matter
Posted on Tuesday November 19, 2019

Researchers have made one of the highest-performance cameras ever composed of sensors that count single photons, or particles of light.

Exoplanet axis study boosts hopes of complex life, just not next door
Posted on Tuesday November 19, 2019

There's new hope that we aren't alone in the universe, that advanced beings may exist on exoplanets. But they're probably not close by, says a new study on the stability of planetary tilts -- and orbits -- needed to encourage the evolution of complex life.

How LISA pathfinder detected dozens of 'comet crumbs'
Posted on Monday November 18, 2019

Scientists leveraged LISA Pathfinder's record-setting sensitivity (designed to ripples in space-time produced by, among other things, merging black holes) for a different purpose much closer to home -- mapping microscopic dust shed by comets and asteroids.

How to observe a 'black hole symphony' using gravitational wave astronomy
Posted on Monday November 18, 2019

Astrophysicists present a compelling roadmap for capturing intermediate-mass black hole activity.

Central mysteries of solar physics
Posted on Saturday November 16, 2019

Scientists have shed new light on one of the central mysteries of solar physics: how energy from the Sun is transferred to the star's upper atmosphere, heating it to 1 million degrees Fahrenheit and higher in some regions, temperatures that are vastly hotter than the Sun's surface.

Spin doctors: Astrophysicists find when galaxies rotate, size matters
Posted on Friday November 15, 2019

The direction in which a galaxy spins depends on its mass, researchers have found.

NASA finds Neptune moons locked in 'dance of avoidance'
Posted on Thursday November 14, 2019

Even by the wild standards of the outer solar system, the strange orbits that carry Neptune's two innermost moons are unprecedented, according to newly published research.

Two cosmic peacocks show violent history of the magellanic clouds
Posted on Thursday November 14, 2019

Two peacock-shaped gaseous clouds were revealed in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). A team of astronomers found several massive baby stars in the complex filamentary clouds, which agrees well with computer simulations of giant collisions of gaseous clouds. The researchers interpret this to mean that the filaments and young stars are telltale evidence of violent interactions between the LMC and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) 200 million years ago.

The ways astronauts prep for spaceflight could benefit cancer patients, say researchers
Posted on Thursday November 14, 2019

During spaceflight, astronauts experience similar physical stress as cancer patients undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. Researchers suggest that by mimicking a NASA astronaut's schedule of exercising before, during, and after a mission, cancer patients could reduce the long-term impact their treatments often have on their bodies.

Space-based radar suggests North Korean nuke equivalent to '17 Hiroshimas'
Posted on Thursday November 14, 2019

A team of scientists have used satellite data to augment measurements of North Korean nuclear tests on the ground. The researchers find that the most recent test shifted the ground by a few meters, and estimate it to be equivalent to 17 times the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

'Are we alone?' Study refines which exoplanets are potentially habitable
Posted on Thursday November 14, 2019

Researchers are first to combine 3D climate modeling with atmospheric chemistry to explore the habitability of planets around M dwarf stars, which comprise about 70% of the total galactic population.

Mysteries behind interstellar buckyballs finally answered
Posted on Wednesday November 13, 2019

Mimicking conditions thought to exist around dying stars, researchers discovered a mechanism that could explain why planetary nebulae are teeming with complex carbon molecules.

Black hole mergers: Cooking with gas
Posted on Wednesday November 13, 2019

Gravitational wave detectors are finding black hole mergers in the universe at the rate of one per week. If these mergers occur in empty space, researchers cannot see associated light that is needed to determine where they happened. However, a new study suggests that researchers might finally be able to see light from black hole mergers if the collisions happen in the presence of gas.

Could the mysteries of antimatter and dark matter be linked?
Posted on Wednesday November 13, 2019

Researchers have performed the first laboratory experiments to determine whether a slightly different way in which matter and antimatter interact with dark matter might be a key to solving both mysteries.

Distant worlds under many suns
Posted on Wednesday November 13, 2019

An astrophysicist has discovered many new multiple star systems that contain exoplanets. For this, he searched more than 1,300 exoplanet host stars. He found that 15 per cent of those stars have at least one companion star, which is only about half the frequency expected for solar like stars. This could indicate that the influence of several stars in a system disrupts the process of planet formation.

With Mars methane mystery unsolved, Curiosity serves scientists a new one: Oxygen
Posted on Tuesday November 12, 2019

For the first time in the history of space exploration, scientists have measured the seasonal changes in the gases that fill the air directly above the surface of Gale Crater on Mars.

A runaway star ejected from the galactic heart of darkness
Posted on Tuesday November 12, 2019

Astronomers have spotted an ultrafast star, traveling at a blistering 6 million km/h, that was ejected by the supermassive black hole at the heart at the Milky Way five million years ago. The discovery of the star, known as S5-HVS1, was made as part of the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S5). Located in the constellation of Grus - the Crane - S5-HVS1 was found to be moving ten times faster than most stars in the Milky Way.

Ancient gas cloud reveals universe's first stars formed quickly
Posted on Friday November 08, 2019

The discovery of a 13 billion-year-old cosmic cloud of gas enabled a team of astronomers to perform the earliest-ever measurement of how the universe was enriched with a diversity of chemical elements. Their findings reveal that the first generation of stars formed more quickly than previously thought.

'Pac-Man-like' mergers could explain massive, spinning black holes
Posted on Friday November 08, 2019

Scientists have reported detecting gravitational waves from 10 black hole mergers to date, but they are still trying to explain the origins of those mergers. The largest merger detected so far seems to have defied previous models because it has a higher spin and mass than the range thought possible. A group of researchers has created simulations that could explain how the merger happened.







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