By Gregory MonePosted 08.24.2007 at 2:49 pm 2 Comments
Astronomers have discovered a billion-light-year-wide hole in the cosmos that's devoid of stars, galaxies, gas and even dark matter. The presence of empty space out there in the universe isn't shocking. It's the unusually large size of the gap that has puzzled scientists.
After initially spotting the void in 2004, the astronomers analyzed data from the Very Large Array radio telescope's Sky Survey, and found that the gap corresponded to a drop in the number of galaxies in part of the constellation Eridanus. Reporting in the Astrophysical Journal, the group says that the hole's existence isn't normal in terms of what we know from computer simulations or observational studies. So we'll just have to add this to the ever-growing list of what we don't understand about the universe.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 08.07.2007 at 5:52 pm 1 Comment
The largest extrasolar planet ever found is a puffy one, according to scientists reporting in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal.
The planet, TrES-4, is roughly 1.7 times the size of Jupiter, but has the density of balsa wood. This puts it in a strange class of objects known as puffy planets, which have extremely low densities. Astrophysicist Georgi Mandushev of the Lowell Observatory in Arizona told Space.com that the planet is way bigger than its supposed to be. In other words, standard planets of that mass should be much tinier.
Located about 1,400 light years from Earth, the planet orbits its sun in just three and a half days. When it passes in front of that star, astronomers can calculate its size. As for why its puffy, they're still trying to work that out.—Gregory Mone