Astronomy, Astrophysics, News

A ‘Ying Yang’ binary system that can sustain Planetary Formation

his artist's impression shows the dust and gas around the double star system GG Tauri-A. Credit: ESO/L.Calçada

A group from the Laboratory of Astrophysics of Bordeaux, France, and the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) has made a most exciting discovery. The astronomers found that an odd binary system – a solar system comprised of two stars – actually behaves like a double star, with two disks of matter encircling the system in a beautiful dance of gas and…

Astronomy, News, Observations, Space

Nova seen Expanding right from the Beginning for the First Time

Artist impression of a dwarf star 'feeding' on donor star. Credit: David A. Hardy / astroart.org

Here’s something you don’t see everyday – for the first time, astronomers witnessed how a nova is formed right from the onset, capturing and detailing its expansion. The white dwarf turned nova is located some 14,800 light-years away and its study is set to reveal many things about how novas form. The star is dead, long live the nova! Stars shine…

News, Space

Comets stink: space probe finds odor of urine, rotten eggs and alcohol

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credit: AFP/ESA/Rosetta/MPS

Ever wondered how a comet smells? Well even if you could, you might wish you hadn’t: rotten eggs, horse pee, alcohol and bitter almonds are just a couple of the fragrances you could sniff. A smelly comet These volatile compounds were detected by  a mass spectrometer aboard the Rosetta probe which is currently studying the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The mass spectrometer analyzed the…

News, Space

Top-Secret Air Force plane lands after 2 year mission in Earth’s orbit

X-37B

After exactly 674 days in orbit, the Air Force’s top secret spaceplane landed in California on Friday. There’s very little anyone knows about the plane, apart from its name – X-37B – and the fact that it can fly in orbit unmanned. The two main assumptions are that it’s either a space plane or a bomber. Maybe both. A mysterious unmanned shuttle…

Feature Post, Great Pics, Space

Planet Earth through the eyes of an Astronaut

On a clear day you can see forever (or at least form Havana to Washington, D.C.).

Col. Chris Hadfield is not your typical astronaut (as far as astronauts can be seen as typical). The first Canadian to walk into outer space, Hadfield caused sensation on social media channels on various occasions, be it after recording a song while surfing gravity in the ISS or when he showed us how to brush your teeth in micro gravity. He’s most popular posts…

Space, Technology

This App Turns Your Phone Into A Cosmic Ray Detector

This is an artist's conception showing cosmic rays hitting the Earth. When they reach the Earth's atmosphere, the rays trigger showers of particles called air showers. In this illustration, the air showers are the branching, broom-tail portion of the rays. Simon Swordy, U. Chicago, NASA.

With a simple phone app you can donate your idle phone time to science; and if researchers decide to use this data in a paper, you’ll also be credited as an author. The app is called Cosmic Rays Found in Smartphones, or CRAYFIS – and all you have to do is download it, it takes care of the rest. What it does…

News, Space

UK Launches Space Weather Forecasting Program

Space weather can have huge effects on Earth, such as

The UK has officially opened its first space weather forecasting program this week. Space weather is a term referring to environmental changes in the solar system, especially those concerning near-Earth space. Magnetic fields, radiation, particles and matter which have been ejected from the Sun interact with and can affect the Earth’s magnetosphere to produce a variety of effects. Major impacts include…

Astronomy, News

Mind-Blowing $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope begins construction in Hawaii

thirty-meter-telescope-top-view-640x426

After years of planning and engineering schemes, the construction of the $1.4 billion telescope in Hawaii has finally begun. The unimaginatively named Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will provide astronomers with unparalleled power to observe the stars – it will have a resolution 10 times better than Hubble. The telescope is designed for observations from near-ultraviolet to mid-infrared (0.31 to 28 μm…

Astronomy, Chemistry, News, Science, Space

All Solar Systems likely have Water (just like ours!)

This flowchart picture shows the evolution of water as it starts out in the Sun's birth cloud, survives the destructive formation of the early solar system, and continues to exist to this day.Credit: Bill Saxton, NSF/AUI/NRAO

We live in a solar system filled with water. Not only does liquid water cover 72% of our planet Earth, we have also found ice water in asteroids and comets, on the Moon, on Mars, and even in the shadows of craters on Mercury; while Europa and other moons of Jupiter and Saturn almost certainly harbor liquid oceans beneath their…

Geology, News, Space

Ancient Magma found on the Moon, below the Dark Spots

uried rift features, detected through gravity mapping, are seen superimposed on a full moon. Image credits: KOPERNIK OBSERVATORY/NASA/COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES/MIT/JPL/GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER

Scientists have discovered an almost rectangular feature consisting of ancient magma. The features are similar to rifts here on Earth, a linear zone where the Earth’s crust and lithosphere are being pulled apart. However, since the Moon doesn’t have any plate tectonics to cause rifts, the origin of this magma is still questionable. Magma on the Moon Several kilometers below the…