Eruptions on the sun trigger surprising phenomenon near Earth

New research from DTU and partners from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of New Brunswick shows that eruptions on the Sun’s surface not only send bursts of energetic particles into Earth’s atmosphere causing disturbances in our planet’s magnetic field, they can also strangely decrease the number of free electrons over large areas in…

3 Earth-like exoplanets discovered

Talk about lucky number seven. Astronomers have discovered not one, not two, but seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a star called TRAPPIST-1. What’s more, three of them are in the habitable zone— the happy place where liquid water can exist on the surface of rocky planets, as it’s not too hot or cold. (Although liquid water…

Apollo Missions Part II – QuantumBits

If you haven’t already checked out the first instalment, you can do so here: Apollo Missions part I Apollo 9 “Spider’s First Mission…” Crew James A. McDivitt CommanderRussell L. Schweickart Lunar Module PilotDavid R. Scott Command Module Pilot Backup Crew Charles Conrad Jr. CommanderAlan L. Bean Lunar Module PilotRichard F. Gordon Jr. Command Module Pilot Payload Gumdrop…

Recreating Our Galaxy in a Supercomputer

Astronomers have created the most detailed computer simulation to date of our Milky Way galaxy’s formation, from its inception billions of years ago as a loose assemblage of matter to its present-day state as a massive, spiral disk of stars. The simulation solves a decades-old mystery surrounding the tiny galaxies that swarm around the outside…

Planet Found in Habitable Zone Around Nearest Star

Pale Red Dot campaign reveals Earth-mass world in orbit around Proxima Centauri Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for…

The Apollo Missions Part 1

“That’s one small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind.”- Neil Armstrong Apollo’s Goals The national effort that enabled Astronaut Neil Armstrong to speak those words as he stepped onto the lunar surface fulfilled a dream as old as humanity. Project Apollo’s goals went beyond landing Americans on the moon and returning them…

Chiral molecule detected

Like a pair of human hands, certain organic molecules have mirror-image versions of themselves, a chemical property known as chirality. These so-called “handed” molecules are essential for biology and have intriguingly been found in meteorites on Earth and comets in our Solar System. None, however, has been detected in the vast reaches of interstellar space,…

Planets might host life forms adapted to infrared worlds

Is there life beyond our solar system? If there is, our best bet for finding it may lie in three nearby, Earth-like exoplanets. For the first time, an international team of astronomers from MIT, the University of Liège in Belgium, and elsewhere have detected three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star, just 40 light years…

Moon used to spin ‘on different axis’

The Moon used to spin on a different axis and show a slightly different face to the Earth, a new study suggests. Using data collected by Nasa’s Lunar Prospector mission in the late 1990s, scientists spotted two hydrogen-rich regions near the Moon’s poles, probably indicating the presence of water ice. The icy patches are opposite…

Shockwave Of An Exploding Star

Shockwaves (aka a “shock breakout”) like this only last for 20 minutes, so it was really exciting for astronomers to capture the moment, which they recorded as a sudden flare of optical light from a distant star. The shock breakout is the initial flash of brightness from the explosion that precedes the big event, as…

Massive Rogue Planet Discovered

A massive rogue planet has been discovered in the Beta Pictoris moving group. The planet, called PSO J318.5338-22.8603 (Sorry, I didn’t name it), is over eight times as massive as Jupiter. Because it’s one of the few directly-imaged exoplanets we know of, and is accessible for study by spectroscopy, this massive planet will be extremely important when piecing…

Discover a Galaxy with a Telephoto Lens

  Like countless so-crazy-it-just-might-work schemes, this one began with a gripe session. In the fall of 2011, Roberto Abraham and Pieter van Dokkum were commiserating at a Nepalese restaurant in Toronto. Over curry and rice—and a generous quantity of beer—the old friends bemoaned a problem they’d discussed many times before. As observational cosmologists, they shared…