Astronomers have found a unique object that appears to be made of inner solar system material from the time of Earth's formation, billions of years ago. Observations show that C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS) is the first object to be discovered on a long-period cometary orbit that has the characteristics of a pristine inner solar system asteroid. It may help understanding how the solar system formed.
Astronomers have observed two black holes in nearby galaxies devouring their companion stars at an extremely high rate, and spitting out matter at a quarter the speed of light.
Are humans unique and alone in the vast universe? This question -- summed up in the famous Drake equation -- has for a half-century been one of the most intractable and uncertain in science. But a new article shows that the recent discoveries of exoplanets combined with a broader approach to the question makes it possible to assign a new empirically valid probability to whether any other advanced technological civilizations have ever existed.
Nearly 10 billion years ago in a galaxy known as PKS B1424-418, a dramatic explosion occurred. Light from this blast began arriving at Earth in 2012. Now, an international team of astronomers have shown that a record-breaking neutrino seen around the same time likely was born in the same event.
On 9 May there will be a rare transit of Mercury, when the smallest planet in our Solar System will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun. The last time this happened was in 2006, and the next two occasions will be in 2019 and 2032. During the transit, which takes place in the afternoon and early evening in the UK, Mercury will appear as a dark silhouetted disk against the bright surface of the Sun.
Peering to the outskirts of our solar system, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a small, dark moon orbiting Makemake, the second brightest icy dwarf planet -- after Pluto -- in the Kuiper Belt.
A giant star that exploded 30 million years ago in a galaxy near Earth had a radius prior to going supernova that was 200 times larger than our sun, say astrophysicists. The massive explosion, Supernova 2013ej, was one of the closest to Earth in recent years. Comprehensive analysis of the exploding star's light curve and color spectrum found its sudden blast hurled material outward at 10,000 kilometers a second.
A new study finds that a large sea on Saturn's moon Titan is composed mostly of pure liquid methane, independently confirming an earlier result. The seabed may be covered in a sludge of carbon- and nitrogen-rich material, and its shores may be surrounded by wetlands.
For the first time, astronomers used echoes of light to determine the distance from a star to the inner wall of its surrounding planet-forming disk of dust and gas. Being able to exactly pinpoint the inner edge of such disks is a big step forward in understanding the evolution of planetary systems.
The surface of Mars -- including the location of Beagle-2 -- has been shown in unprecedented detail by scientists using a revolutionary image stacking and matching technique. Exciting pictures of the Beagle-2 lander, the ancient lakebeds discovered by NASA's Curiosity rover, NASA's MER-A rover tracks and Home Plate's rocks have been released by the researchers who stacked and matched images taken from orbit, to reveal objects at a resolution up to five times greater than previously achieved.