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Updated: 5 hours 32 min ago
After searching hundreds of millions of objects across our sky, NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has turned up no evidence of the hypothesized celestial body in our solar system commonly dubbed "Planet X."
Astronomers say that magnetic storms in the gas orbiting young stars may explain a mystery that has persisted since before 2006. Researchers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to study developing stars have had a hard time figuring out why the stars give off more infrared light than expected. The planet-forming disks that circle the young stars are heated by starlight and glow with infrared light, but Spitzer detected additional infrared light coming from an unknown source.
Researchers have launched a unique campaign that will enable the public to ‘travel’ to space for the cost of a pair of trainers. Virtual Ride to Space will use cutting-edge virtual technology and a specially designed spacecraft to deliver a three-dimensional, immersive experience, allowing everyone to see what astronauts experience on an ascent to space.
Scientists have identified a plasma plume that naturally protects the Earth against solar storms. Earth's magnetic field, or magnetosphere, stretches from the planet's core out into space, where it meets the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emitted by the sun. For the most part, the magnetosphere acts as a shield to protect Earth from this high-energy solar activity. But when this field comes into contact with the sun's magnetic field -- a process called "magnetic reconnection" -- powerful electrical currents from the sun can stream into Earth's atmosphere, whipping up geomagnetic storms and space weather phenomena that can affect high-altitude aircraft, as well as astronauts on the International Space Station. Now scientists have identified a process in Earth's magnetosphere that reinforces its shielding effect, keeping incoming solar energy at bay.
Astronomers have discovered the splattered remains of comets colliding together around a nearby star. The researchers believe they are witnessing the total destruction of one of these icy bodies once every five minutes.
Future lunar missions may be fueled by gas stations in space, according to engineers: A spacecraft might dock at a propellant depot, somewhere between the Earth and the moon, and pick up extra rocket fuel before making its way to the lunar surface. Orbiting way stations could reduce the fuel a spacecraft needs to carry from Earth -- and with less fuel onboard, a rocket could launch heavier payloads, such as large scientific experiments.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid, which has fragmented into as many as ten smaller pieces. Although fragile comet nuclei have been seen to fall apart as they approach the Sun, nothing like the breakup of this asteroid, P/2013 R3, has ever been observed before in the asteroid belt.
For the first time, astronomers have used the same imaging technology found in a digital camera to take a picture of a planet far from our solar system with an Earth-based telescope. The accomplishment is a small step toward the technology astronomers will need in order to characterize planets suitable for harboring life.
Astronomers have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency's (ESA's) XMM-Newton to show a supermassive black hole six billion light years from Earth is spinning extremely rapidly. This first direct measurement of the spin of such a distant black hole is an important advance for understanding how black holes grow over time.
As happens about 20 times a year with current detection capabilities, a known asteroid will safely pass Earth on March 5 closer than the distance from Earth to the moon.
Ten years ago, we knew Titan as a fuzzy orange ball about the size of Mercury. We knew it had a nitrogen atmosphere -- the only known world with a thick nitrogen atmosphere besides Earth. But what might lie beneath the hazy air was still just a guess.
A new innovative instrument called MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) has been successfully installed on ESO's Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. MUSE has observed distant galaxies, bright stars and other test targets during the first period of very successful observations.
Astronomers have developed a new method of gauging the atmospheric pressure of exoplanets, or worlds beyond the solar system, by looking for a certain type of molecule. And if there is life out in space, scientists may one day use this same technique to detect its biosignature -- the telltale chemical signs of its presence -- in the atmosphere of an alien world.
A new Hubble image shows spiral galaxy ESO 137-001, framed against a bright background as it moves through the heart of galaxy cluster Abell 3627. This cluster is violently ripping the spiral's entrails out into space, leaving bright blue streaks as telltale clues to this cosmic crime.
Scientists believed that Type Ia supernovae, the best cosmological standard candles, are similar in brightness because they suffer thermonuclear explosions when the white dwarf stars that are their progenitors reach 1.4 solar masses, the Chandrasekhar mass. Now astronomers have shown that white dwarfs exploding as Type Ia supernovae have a range of masses. Their light-curve widths are directly proportional to the mass involved in the explosion.
Three new planets classified as habitable-zone super-Earths are amongst eight new planets discovered orbiting nearby red dwarf stars. A new study identifies that virtually all red dwarfs, which make up at least three quarters of the stars in the Universe, have planets orbiting them. The research also suggests that habitable-zone super-Earth planets (where liquid water could exist and making them possible candidates to support life) orbit around at least a quarter of the red dwarfs in the Sun's own neighbourhood.
Astronauts floating weightlessly in the International Space Station may appear carefree, but years of research have shown that microgravity causes changes to the human body. Spaceflight also means exposure to more radiation. Together, microgravity and radiation exposure add up to pose serious health risks. But research is not only making space safer for astronauts, it's helping to improve health care for the Earth-bound as well.
Astronomers have been studying nearby galaxy M83 and have found a new superpowered small black hole, named MQ1, the first object of its kind to be studied in this much detail. Astronomers have found a few compact objects that are as powerful as MQ1, but have not been able to work out the size of the black hole contained within them until now.
The closest and brightest supernova in decades, SN 2014J, brightens faster than expected for Type Ia supernovae, the exploding stars used to measure cosmic distances, according to astronomers. Another recent supernova also brightened faster than expected, suggesting that there is unsuspected new physics going on inside these exploding stars. The finding may also help physicists improve their use of these supernovae to measure cosmic distance.
NASA's Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system. Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system.