Last month’s solar storm was pretty stellar, but the massive flare that erupted from the sun yesterday put it to shame, lashing out from the solar surface in a beautiful filament that stretched for 435,000 miles – nearly twice the distance between the Earth and moon and about 60,000 miles larger than last month’s plasma ejection.
After months of calibration and testing, NASA’s flying telescope made its first excursion this morning, and the space agency is looking forward to analyzing the results. But, um, isn’t this sort of blurry?
By Katie PeekPosted 12.01.2010 at 2:06 pm 8 Comments
In a paper published today in the journal Nature, astronomers from Yale and Harvard universities have found evidence for a bunch of small red dwarf stars in eight nearby galaxies. The result affects astronomers' pictures of how stars form, how galaxies evolve, and perhaps even how much dark matter is out there.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has taken a breath of oxygen while passing over the icy surface of Saturn’s second-largest moon, marking the first time a spacecraft has directly sampled oxygen in the atmosphere of another body. Cruising just 60 miles above Rhea, one of more than 60 moons orbiting Saturn, Cassini found an extremely thin atmosphere of oxygen and carbon dioxide likely sustained by high-energy particles slamming into the moon’s frozen surface.
The current widely-held theory of life, the universe, and everything holds that at some point roughly 13.7 billion years ago everything that now is was packed into a tight little package from which sprung the Big Bang, which violently hurled everything into existence. But 13.7 billion years to get to where we are isn't enough for renowned physicist Sir Roger Penrose, and now he thinks he can prove that things aren't/weren't quite so simple.
With all the exoplanet hunting going these days, astronomers have now logged more than 500 planets orbiting other stars in the Milky Way. Detecting planets in other galaxies, however, is still beyond the reach of scientific technology. But researchers have now discovered the next best thing – a planet of extragalactic origins orbiting a star within our galaxy that was deposited there billions of years ago when the Milky Way swallowed up a smaller dwarf galaxy.
Ever since Japan’s asteroid exploring spacecraft Hyabusa crash-landed in the Australian outback this summer after a seven year round trip through space, astronomers and space geeks the world over have been waiting to hear confirmation from JAXA (the Japanese space agency) that the troubled mission did indeed bring back samples of asteroid dust. Today they got it. For the first time, scientists have collected dust from an extraterrestrial asteroid and returned it to Earth for study.
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have made one of the most detailed dark matter maps ever, taking advantage of the dark matter’s own gravitational effects to bring it into the light.
The map suggests massive galaxy clusters may have formed earlier than expected, before dark energy stunted their growth, according to the Space Telescope Science Institute.
Huge cost overruns caused by mismanagement of the James Webb Space Telescope are delaying NASA’s keystone science project yet again, and could wreak havoc on the agency’s remaining astrophysics budget, a congressional panel found this week.
Why does the universe look the way it does? Sarah T. Stewart thinks she knows the answer. “It all comes down to big things running into each other,” she says. Space is a collection of battered rocks, and Stewart studies their scars and shapes. A planet’s pockmarks can be used to predict its age—if it has many, it’s probably been around for a while—and its dimensions can hint at what might lie beneath the ground. “I use the way craters look,” she explains, “to learn about the planet they’re on.”