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yesterday at 01:20. 2 comments

Hydrogen Molecules on Hottest Known Exoplanet Are Being Ripped to Shreds

Hydrogen Molecules on Hottest Known Exoplanet Are Being Ripped to Shreds

Astronomers have documented a bizarre cycle of molecular destruction and rebirth on an ultra-hot, Jupiter-like exoplanet where surface temperatures exceed 7,750 degrees Fahrenheit.

Originally discovered in 2017, KELT-9b has the dubious distinction of being the hottest known exoplanet in the galaxy. This ultra-hot planet is located 670 light-years from Earth, is around 2.8 times more massive...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 15, 2020. 9 comments

Interstellar Stardust Found Inside Australian Meteorite Is a Staggering 7 Billion Years Old

Interstellar Stardust Found Inside Australian Meteorite Is a Staggering 7 Billion Years Old

A meteorite that crashed into Australia back in 1969 contains stardust dating back some 7 billion years, predating the formation of Earth by 2.5 billion years. The remarkable discovery offers a snapshot of the conditions that existed long before our solar system came into existence.

Ancient grains found inside the Murchison meteorite have been dated to between 5 billion and 7 billion years...

9 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 14, 2020. 5 comments

Has Hubble Detected Rogue Clumps of Dark Matter?

Has Hubble Detected Rogue Clumps of Dark Matter?

Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered evidence of small clumps of dark matter warping the light from distant quasars.

Regular matter seems to form only a small part of the universe—much more of the matter seems to be “dark” stuff that influences regular matter via gravity but can’t be detected directly. The most widely accepted theory to explain dark matter suggests that...

5 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 11, 2020. 5 comments

A New Study Claims to Disprove Dark Energy—but Cosmologists Aren't Convinced

A New Study Claims to Disprove Dark Energy—but Cosmologists Aren't Convinced

It would be really, really exciting if a single observation could completely overturn astrophysicists’ current understanding of the universe. But that hasn’t happened yet, at least with regards to dark energy.

This week, a press release proclaimed that “new evidence shows that the key assumption made in the discovery of dark energy is in error,” garnering some attention from astronomers and...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 10, 2020. 10 comments

Astronomers Are Increasingly Worried About How Satellite Megaconstellations Will Disrupt Science

Astronomers Are Increasingly Worried About How Satellite Megaconstellations Will Disrupt Science

Organizers of an American Astronomical Society conference in Hawaii held a special session to discuss the ways in which satellite megaconstellations, such as the one currently being built by SpaceX, are poised to disrupt telescopic observations. The astronomers also proposed potential solutions to this emerging problem.

The special session, titled “Challenges to Astronomy from Satellites,” was...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 09, 2020. 13 comments

If You Make It to 2083, You Could Witness Two Stars Collide

If You Make It to 2083, You Could Witness Two Stars Collide

Scientists have predicted that a pair of stars in our galaxy will collide, producing an explosion that will temporarily become one of the brightest objects in the night sky. They don’t know exactly when it will happen, but they estimate it will be later this century.

V Sagittae is an unassuming and faint pair of stars 7,800 light-years away in the constellation Sagitta. The system has...

13 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 08, 2020. 3 comments

Nearby Gas Clouds Actually Form Behemoth Structure That Might Be the Milky Way's Arm, Study Finds

Nearby Gas Clouds Actually Form Behemoth Structure That Might Be the Milky Way's Arm, Study Finds

Astronomers have discovered that many of the star-forming regions we see in the sky actually seem to form an undulating, 8,800-light-year-long wave containing 3 million solar masses’ worth of gas that could make up our local arm of the Milky Way galaxy.

Astronomers have long thought that a large, expanding ring of young stars, gas, and dust surrounded our solar system, forming a region called...

3 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 08, 2020. 6 comments

Congress Renames New Telescope Facility After Vera Rubin, a Dark Matter Pioneer Snubbed by the Nobels

Congress Renames New Telescope Facility After Vera Rubin, a Dark Matter Pioneer Snubbed by the Nobels

Congress voted last month to rename the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope as the NSF Vera C. Rubin Observatory, commemorating an astronomer credited with advancing humanity’s understanding of dark matter.

The Rubin Observatory will be the most advanced survey of the night sky, recording the stars each night with a car-sized, 3.2-gigapixel digital camera. The survey will hopefully contribute to...

6 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 08, 2020. 5 comments

Latest Starlink Launch Makes SpaceX the Largest Commercial Satellite Operator in the World

Latest Starlink Launch Makes SpaceX the Largest Commercial Satellite Operator in the World

The successful launch of 60 new Starlink satellites means SpaceX now operates more commercial satellites than any other company in the world. It’s a major milestone for the Elon Musk-led company, which still needs to show it’s capable of responsibly managing its burgeoning megaconsellation.

Deployment of the 60 Starlink satellites was confirmed earlier today in a SpaceX tweet. The satellites...

5 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 07, 2020. 11 comments

Jupiter Is Flinging Comets Toward Earth

Jupiter Is Flinging Comets Toward Earth

Some astronomers believe that Jupiter, instead of protecting Earth from dangerous comets and asteroids, is actively flinging objects into the inner solar system. New research now demonstrates this complex process in action.

A popular theory suggests Jupiter, with its tremendous mass, acts like a gigantic shield in space, sucking in or deflecting dangerous debris left over from the formation...

11 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Dec 28, 2019. 6 comments

Starlink Satellites Produce Wave of UFO Sightings in the US

Starlink Satellites Produce Wave of UFO Sightings in the US

Residents in northern Montana reported a string of strange lights dotting the sky. What looked like UFOs from an alien invasion has turned out to be another consequence of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation.

SpaceX launched 60 satellites into orbit back in May and another 60 in November 11 as part of the Starlink satellite constellation, meant to increase satellite internet access. But...

6 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Dec 27, 2019. 21 comments

What's Going on With Betelgeuse?

What's Going on With Betelgeuse?

Social media and news headlines are ablaze with talk of the red giant star Betelgeuse since astronomers noted that it’s growing fainter than ever before. Yes, the star is nearing the end of its life, and that end will likely be explosive.

But is Betelgeuse about to go supernova? The answer is complicated, and in short, probably not. The dimming could well be the result of the star’s typically...

21 Comments

Dec 26, 2019. 3 comments

Watch The Sun Turn Into a Ring of Fire Here Tonight

Watch The Sun Turn Into a Ring of Fire Here Tonight

The last solar eclipse of the decade—and the only annular solar eclipse of the year—will be visible in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa starting just a few hours after this article’s publication.

Annular solar eclipses, like total solar eclipses, occur when the Moon passes in front of the Sun. However, the Moon doesn’t totally cover the Sun during annular solar eclipses, leaving behind an...

3 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Dec 18, 2019. 17 comments

Weird ‘Vanishing Stars’ Could Potentially Be Aliens, Study Claims

Weird ‘Vanishing Stars’ Could Potentially Be Aliens, Study Claims

A comparative analysis of historical and contemporary astronomical data has resulted in the discovery of approximately 100 star-like objects that unexpectedly vanished. These strange occurrences are likely natural, but scientists say alien technology is a remote possibility.

They start off as dim red dots in the night sky. But then they start to get brighter—anywhere from several to thousands...

17 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Dec 14, 2019. 6 comments

Dark Matter 'Strikes Back' in Galactic Mystery

Dark Matter 'Strikes Back' in Galactic Mystery

Dark matter could be responsible for the mysterious observation of gamma rays in the center of our galaxy, according to a new paper.

Astrophysicists have known for a decade that the center of the Milky Way is sending too many gamma rays our way. Mysterious stuff called dark matter was once considered the prime candidate for this excess, but subsequent data analysis implicated something more...

6 Comments

Dec 12, 2019. 1 comments

This Dust-Filled Galaxy Formed Less than a Billion Years After the Big Bang

This Dust-Filled Galaxy Formed Less than a Billion Years After the Big Bang

Astronomers have spotted an unusually distant star-forming galaxy, the light of which took a whopping 13 billion years to reach Earth. Perhaps most incredibly, however, the galaxy was observed directly, without the help of a celestial phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.

This galaxy is called MAMBO-9, and it was actually detected 10 years ago with the Max-Planck Millimeter Bolometer...

1 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Dec 10, 2019. 7 comments

European Space Agency Approves Mission to Yoink a Piece of Trash Out of Orbit

European Space Agency Approves Mission to Yoink a Piece of Trash Out of Orbit

The European Space Agency has commissioned the first-ever mission to remove a single piece of space debris from orbit.

Humans put so many satellites into low Earth orbit that the space around us is now littered with junk. Much of this debris breaks up in collisions with other pieces of debris, resulting in over 120 million tiny objects (plus tens of thousands of larger pieces) whizzing around...

7 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Dec 05, 2019. 17 comments

You Cannot Conceive of the Hugeness of This Black Hole

You Cannot Conceive of the Hugeness of This Black Hole

Oh my, this recently discovered black hole... well, it’s big.

How big? Among black holes whose masses scientists can directly infer based on the motion of their host galaxies’ stars, it’s the biggest. It’s 40 billion times the mass of the Sun big—that’s around 2.5 percent the mass of the entire Milky Way galaxy.

It’s 40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 paperclips, if...

17 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Dec 05, 2019. 3 comments

Parker Solar Probe Scientists Reveal Jaw-Dropping First Results From the Sun

Parker Solar Probe Scientists Reveal Jaw-Dropping First Results From the Sun

Today, scientists are releasing the surprising initial results from the Parker Solar Probe’s first two close encounters with the Sun.

From 36 solar radii away, it’s already clear that our Sun is a chaotic beast full of surprises, with solar winds circling it faster than expected, rapidly reversing magnetic fields, and blobs of plasma spewing from its corona. These first four papers have...

3 Comments

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Dec 05, 2019. 2 comments

This Exoplanet-Shredding White Dwarf May Foretell the End of Our Solar System

This Exoplanet-Shredding White Dwarf May Foretell the End of Our Solar System

Scientists have discovered evidence of a star system that might foreshadow the fate of our own.

When stars that aren’t massive enough to end their lifespan in a supernova grow old, they turn into red giants that eventually expel their outer layer of matter. This leaves behind a hot stellar corpse called a white dwarf, which weighs a little less than the Sun but with only a small fraction of...

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