The hypothesised ‘Planet Nine’, which is believed to exist beyond Pluto, may have tilted the entire solar system, astronomers believe.
Earlier this year, scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) announced that a planet ten times the mass of Earth probably exists around 19 billion miles away. It was shown to exert such a huge influence on its region of space that it was dubbed ‘the most planety of all planets.’
Now the same team believes ‘Planet Nine’ is also responsible for one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy – why the solar system lies on a strange tilt.
All of the planets, including Earth, orbit in a flat plane with respect to the Sun. But that plane rotates on a six-degree angle with respect to the Sun’s equator, a misalignment which has left astronomers scratching their heads for decades. Continue reading »
NASA is about to launch a $1 billion 7-year mission to probe asteroid Benny, which may carry the building blocks of organic life, but also has a chance of hitting Earth late in the next century.
“It may be destined to cause immense suffering and death,” Dante Lauretta, professor of planetary science at Arizona University and the lead researcher on the OSIRIS-REx mission, told the Sunday Times.
Discovered in 1999, Bennu measures about 500 meters across, weighs over 60 million tons, and travels at over 100,000 kilometers per hour. Continue reading »
It only happens a few times a century: the smallest planet in our solar system is passing between the Earth and the Sun, allowing us a rare glimpse of Mercury in motion.
The planet appears as a small black dot against the bright background of the Sun, traveling diagonally in front of the solar sphere over several hours today.
— NASASunEarth (@NASASunEarth) May 9, 2016
For the first time, researchers have discovered three potentially habitable, Earth-like worlds orbiting an ultracool dwarf star 40 light-years away in another star system, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
The ultracool dwarf star, known as TRAPPIST-1, isn’t the kind of star scientists expected to be a hub for planets. It’s at the end of the range for what classifies as a star: half the temperature and a tenth the mass of the sun. TRAPPIST-1 is red, barely larger than Jupiter and too dim to be seen with the naked eye or even amateur telescopes from Earth. Continue reading »
Earthlings can now observe a rare celestial gathering: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are all in alignment in our sky – and will continue to be for around a month. The last time the five paraded in a line was December 2004 to January 2005.
From January 20 to February 20 sky-gazers can see the five planets almost literally lined up, as their positions along the ecliptic (the sun’s perceived path in our sky) form a diagonal line. Even the naked eye will be enough to see them, though a telescope and binoculars will help. Continue reading »
In a bipartisan bid to encourage commercial exploitation of outer space, the U.S. Senate this week unanimously passed the Space Act of 2015, which grants U.S. citizens or corporations the right to legally claim non-living natural resources—including water and minerals—mined in the final frontier.
The legislation – described by IGN‘s Jenna Pitcher as “a celestial ‘Finders Keepers’ law” – could be a direct affront to an international treaty that bars nations from owning property in space. The bill will now be sent back to the House of Representatives, which is expected to approve the changes, and then on to President Barack Obama for his anticipated signature.
Pitcher continued: Continue reading »
A massive space rock that will shave by Earth on Halloween looks like a dead comet with a skull face, NASA said after gaining a closer look at the spooky space object.
Astronomers initially thought the object was an asteroid when they spotted it in early October, and named it Asteroid 2015 TB145.
But using the US space agency’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, experts “have determined that the celestial object is more than likely a dead comet that has shed its volatiles after numerous passes around the sun,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement late Friday.
Scientists have also spotted an eerie skull-like resemblance on the face of the rock, based on radar data from the National Science Foundation’s 305-meter (1,000-foot) Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Continue reading »
– NASA estimates 1 billion ‘Earths’ in our galaxy alone (Washington Post, July 24, 2015):
There are a billion Earths in this galaxy, roughly speaking. Not a million. A billion. We’re talking 1 billion rocky planets that are approximately the size of the Earth and are orbiting familiar-looking yellow-sunshine stars in the orbital “habitable zone” where water could be liquid at the surface.
That’s a billion planets where human beings, or their genetically modified descendants, as well as their dogs and cats and tomato plants and crepe myrtle trees and ladybugs and earthworms and whatnot, could plausibly live. Continue reading »
– NASA Has Released The Largest Picture Ever Taken And It Will Shake Up Your Universe (Scoop Whoop, Jan 16, 2015):
Have you seen the largest picture ever taken? For the record, it’s a mammoth 1.5 billion pixel image (69,536 x 22,230) and requires about 4.3 GB disk space. Oh, and it’ll take your breath away.
On January 5, NASA released an image of the Andromeda galaxy, our closest galactic neighbour, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The full image is made up of 411 Hubble images, takes you through a 100 million stars and travels over more than 40,000 light years. Well, a section of it anyway.
Prepare to feel extremely tiny and insignificant as you marvel at this fly-through video created by YouTuber daveachuk and make sure you stick around till the end. Seriously.
Well done, NASA. Our mind has been blown.
– World lit up: Stunning European night sky as seen from ISS (VIDEO) (RT, April 11, 2015):
A recently released time-lapse clip filmed from the International Space Station (ISS) shows European and North African cities lighting up the sky, in contrast to the dark expanses of the Mediterranean Sea at night.
ISS Expedition 43 captured the footage, as the spacecraft was traveling over the Mediterranean region on March 28. It was then merged into a video and uploaded to YouTube on Thursday.
The breathtaking views of European cityscapes from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Balkans are revealed from two different angles, with the northern coast of Africa also partly visible. Continue reading »
And watch the stock market on March 20.
– Upcoming ‘Supermoon’ eclipse will dazzle Britain, but hit Europe’s power grids hard (RT, March 8, 2015):
This spring should reward plenty of star-gazers, especially in Britain, which will experience its deepest solar eclipse in 15 years, as well as a Supermoon, all at the same time – an event that will sink the island into twilight for two whole hours.
The Supermoon eclipse, as the phenomenon is known, is an astronomical alignment where the Moon is sent on a trajectory between the Sun and the Earth, depriving us of light. The event will occur on March 20 at around 8:40GMT. Continue reading »
– Strongest storm of 2014 as seen by NASA astronaut (PHOTO) (RT, Oct 9, 2014):
NASA astronaut has posted the photo of the biggest 2014 storm on Earth from the International Space Station. Typhoon Vongfong is heading to Japan coast and is as powerful as the Haiyan storm that killed thousands of people in 2013.
As of Thursday Vongfong winds were as strong as 105 knots (194.46 km/h) and gust up to 150 knots (277.8 km/h), with wave height reaching 15.25 m. It is expected to be to 260 km/h in the coming days. Typhoons graduate to ‘super’ status when winds reach 150 mph (241 km/h).
NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, who is a member of the 41st expedition to the ISS, has posted a photo of the typhoon in his Twitter account.
– Sea plankton found outside International Space Station (Stuff, Aug 20, 2014):
It’s not quite extraterrestrial life, but scientists have discovered sea plankton growing in space.
Russian space officials have confirmed traces of plankton and other micro-organisms were found living on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS), and it appears they’ve been living there for years. Continue reading »
The Milky Way contains at least 100 billion planets and between 200 and 400 billion stars …
– One of the most Earth-like planets in the galaxy has been discovered ‘a stone’s throw away’ (Independent, June 30, 2014):
Gliese 832c is a super-Earth located in the ‘Goldilocks zone’ of a solar system 16 light years away
Astronomers have discovered an alien planet that could offer some of the most Earth-like conditions seen to date in the galaxy.
Located just 16 light years away from our planet, Gliese 832c is a super-Earth with a mass 5.4 times that of our own planet orbiting a red dwarf star every 36 days. Continue reading »
– Hubble telescope captures 10,000 galaxies in one amazing shot (RT, June 4, 2014):
Billed as “the most comprehensive picture ever assembled of the evolving universe,” the latest image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope is an explosion of color that depicts thousands of galaxies in the universe.
Released on Tuesday, the beautiful image is part of a survey exploring the Hubble Ultra Deep Field – a portion of space in the constellation Fornax that astronomers have been compiling for more than 10 years – and features approximately 10,000 galaxies. Continue reading »
This deep image shows the Nebula (cyan) with a size of 2 million light-years discovered around the quasar UM287 (at the center of the image). The energetic radiation of the quasar makes the surrounding intergalactic gas glow revealing the physical structure of a cosmic web filament.
– Astronomers Capture The First Image Of The Mysterious Web That Connects All Galaxies In The Universe (Business Insider, Jan 19, 2014):
For the first time, astronomers were able to see a string of hot gas known as a filament that is thought to be part of the mysterious underlying structure that dictates the layout of all the stars and galaxies in our universe.
Scientists believe that matter in the universe is arranged into a gigantic web-like structure. This is called the cosmic web.
– Unknown Force Kicks Stars Out of Milky Way. Really. (TIME, Jan 10, 2014):
If you could see it from the outside, the Milky Way would look like a majestic spiral of stars and glowing gas, rotating on its axis once every 200 million years or so like a gigantic, pinwheel 100,000 light-years across. Up close, though, you’d see that each star is jostling along on its own, moving through an entirely independent orbit. It’s more like an unruly crowd, going in the same approximate direction at the same approximate speed, than a military formation marching in lockstep.
At least a few stars, however, are headed somewhere else entirely, and in a big hurry. They’re known as hypervelocity stars, and they’re going so fast that they’re on their way out of the Milky Way altogether. While the astronomers think they have an explanation for the 18 hypervelocity stars discovered since 2005, a new group of 20, just announced at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society outside of Washington, DC, seems to make no sense at all.
“What’s going on?” asks Vanderbilt University grad student Lauren Palladino, lead author of a paper in the Astrophysical Journal describing these cosmic speedsters. “We don’t know.”
– Study: 8.8 billion Earth-size, just-right planets (AP, Nov 4, 2013):
WASHINGTON (AP) — Space is vast, but it may not be so lonely after all: A study finds the Milky Way is teeming with billions of planets that are about the size of Earth, orbit stars just like our sun, and exist in the Goldilocks zone — not too hot and not too cold for life.
Astronomers using NASA data have calculated for the first time that in our galaxy alone, there are at least 8.8 billion stars with Earth-size planets in the habitable temperature zone.
The study was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
– Sun’s Magnetic Field Reversal Still A Scientific Mystery (Hufiington Post, Aug 13, 2013):
If you’re confused about the sun’s impending magnetic field flip, don’t feel bad — scientists don’t fully understand it, either.
The sun’s magnetic field will reverse its polarity three or four months from now, researchers say, just as it does every 11 years at the peak of the solar activity cycle. While solar physicists know enough about this strange phenomenon to predict when it will occur, its ultimate causes remain mysterious.