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Jun 09, 2020. 6 comments

Saturn's Best Moon Is Drifting Away Quicker Than We Thought

Saturn's Best Moon Is Drifting Away Quicker Than We Thought

Titan is migrating away from its host planet at a rate 100 times faster than the previous estimate. The discovery is shaking our understanding of Saturn and the origin of its natural satellites.

Titan, the only moon in our solar system with an atmosphere, is pulling away from Saturn at a rate of 11 centimeters (4 inches) per year, according to new research published this week in Nature. The...

6 Comments

May 02, 2020. 17 comments

Telescopes Around the World Pick Up Mysterious Radio Burst Coming From Our Own Galaxy

Telescopes Around the World Pick Up Mysterious Radio Burst Coming From Our Own Galaxy

Astronomers just spotted an extremely bright burst of radio waves emanating from within our own galaxy. The surprising observation could help us understand the mystery behind these enigmatic emissions, known as fast radio bursts.

Telescopes around the world are sharing data on electromagnetic radiation coming from the direction of a highly magnetic neutron star, called magnetar SGR 1935+2154....

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Apr 17, 2020. 3 comments

Astronomers See Glimmers of a Second World Circling the Nearest Star to the Sun

Astronomers See Glimmers of a Second World Circling the Nearest Star to the Sun

A team of astronomers shocked the world back in 2016 when they revealed evidence of an Earth-sized exoplanet in the habitable zone of our nearest stellar neighbor, a star called Proxima Centauri. Scientists are hunting for a second planet in this system—and maybe, maybe, they’ve found something.

A team of researchers led by Raffaelle Gratton at the INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Padua are...

3 Comments

Apr 13, 2020. 2 comments

Astronomers Spot the Brightest Supernova Ever Recorded

Astronomers Spot the Brightest Supernova Ever Recorded

Back in 2016, a telescope spotted a supernova flaring so brightly that it far outshone its own galaxy. The exploded star continued emitting radiation for more than 1,000 days, unleashing more energy than any supernova previously documented. But that’s only the start of the story.

The supernova, named SN2016aps, was unlike any supernova on record, lasting for so long that postdocs became...

2 Comments

Apr 11, 2020. 6 comments

This Black Hole Is Bending Light Back Toward Itself

This Black Hole Is Bending Light Back Toward Itself

Scientists think that they’ve spotted a black hole’s gravity bending light emitted from the disk of matter around it right back toward the black hole, according to a new paper.

Black holes are extremely compact objects whose immense gravity warps space such that, beyond a point of no return called the event horizon, light can’t escape. We know that black holes can change the path that light...

6 Comments

Apr 10, 2020. 11 comments

The Universe Might Be Expanding Like a Lumpy Balloon

The Universe Might Be Expanding Like a Lumpy Balloon

Is the universe’s expansion the same everywhere? New research suggests it’s not—which could have huge implications for our understanding of the cosmos.

Scientists led by Konstantinos Migkas at the University of Bonn in Germany analyzed data on x-rays released by hundreds of clusters of galaxies, revealing that the universe seems to be expanding differently in different parts of the sky. These...

11 Comments

Apr 03, 2020. 7 comments

Extreme Experiment on Mexican Volcano Challenged the Speed of Light

Extreme Experiment on Mexican Volcano Challenged the Speed of Light

New measurements from an experiment near the top of an extinct Mexican volcano have placed a stringent new limit on whether light can exceed the universe’s well-known top speed.

Physicists have crafted theories that do a good job explaining much of the universe—but these theories fail when it comes to many of the extremes, such as how matter interacts on the surface of a black hole or right...

7 Comments

Mar 31, 2020. 9 comments

How Neon Can Make a Star Destroy Itself

How Neon Can Make a Star Destroy Itself

Some stars have the element neon to thank for their ultimate, explosive demise, according to astrophysical research.

Astronomers love studying the life cycles of stars, including which stars die in which ways. Less-massive stars, like our Sun, expand and shed their layers as they transition into white dwarfs, while much bigger stars explode in violent supernovae, and their cores turn into...

9 Comments

Mar 27, 2020.

The Fate of a Dark Matter Theory Hinges on These Unidentified X-Rays

The Fate of a Dark Matter Theory Hinges on These Unidentified X-Rays

Despite decades of searching, no one has yet cracked the mystery of dark matter. One hypothesis to explain it relies on strange x-rays emanating from distant galaxies and galaxy clusters, but a new paper appears to rule out dark matter as producing these mysterious x-rays.

The way distant objects in the universe interact implies that there’s a lot more mass than scientists can actually...

Mar 21, 2020. 3 comments

Hubble Telescope Detects Unthinkable Quasar Tsunamis

Hubble Telescope Detects Unthinkable Quasar Tsunamis

Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have detected quasars sending outbursts of energy roaring through their galaxies, according to new research.

Researchers at Virginia Tech and the Space Telescope Science Institute are reporting three of the most energetic quasar outbursts ever measured. These outflows not only present a puzzle to astronomers trying to understand how they form and...

3 Comments

Mar 11, 2020. 7 comments

It Could Rain Iron on This Hellish Exoplanet

It Could Rain Iron on This Hellish Exoplanet

Don’t forget to bring your sturdiest umbrella when you travel to the extra-hot planet WASP-76b, where it may literally rain molten iron.

Hot Jupiters represent some of the galaxy’s most hellish worlds, giving scientists clues into the diverse planetary climates and atmospheric chemistry that can come about in extreme conditions. A new analysis of the exoplanet WASP-76b demonstrates vastly...

7 Comments

Mar 11, 2020. 8 comments

A Typical Neutron Star Is Only 13.6 Miles Wide, According to New Ultra-Precise Measurement

A Typical Neutron Star Is Only 13.6 Miles Wide, According to New Ultra-Precise Measurement

A typical neutron star measures 22 kilometers (13.6 miles) wide, according to new research. It’s the most accurate measurement yet of these highly compact, super-dense objects.

If black holes are the most extreme phenomena in the universe, then neutron stars have to be a close second (unless quark stars exist, which has yet to be confirmed). Formed in the wake of a supernova explosion (when a...

8 Comments

Feb 15, 2020. 9 comments

Oh Yeah, Betelgeuse Is Definitely Looking Weirder

Oh Yeah, Betelgeuse Is Definitely Looking Weirder

At this point, we’re all crossing our fingers that the dying star Betelgeuse will hurry up and explode already, because who doesn’t love a good show? The red giant star (visible in the constellation Orion) has been growing dimmer since late last year, leading many to speculate it could soon go supernova. Scientists operating the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope have...

9 Comments

Feb 11, 2020. 21 comments

Telescope Detects Fast Radio Burst Hitting Earth Every 16 Days

Telescope Detects Fast Radio Burst Hitting Earth Every 16 Days

A telescope in Canada has found a source of mysterious fast radio bursts that repeat every 16 days, according to a new paper. It’s the first regularly repeating fast radio burst known to science.

Fast radio bursts (FRB) are bright radio blips that originate from deep space. After the initial fast radio burst discovery in 2001, astronomers have found more of these events, at first sporadically...

21 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 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

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

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

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

Dec 05, 2019. 3 comments

Major Quantum Achievement Lets Physicists 'See' Gravitational Waves From Deeper in the Universe

Major Quantum Achievement Lets Physicists 'See' Gravitational Waves From Deeper in the Universe

Physicists are reporting the results of a test to squeeze the vacuum of spacetime itself in order to better detect gravitational waves from colliding black holes.

Extreme extraterrestrial events, like

two black holes colliding or supernovae , may produce ripples in spacetime called gravitational waves. Here on Earth, a suite of observatories attempts to measure these ripples using lasers—but...

3 Comments

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