Alien life, Astronomy, News

Alien life might spread through the Universe “like the plague”

Image via Thinking Sci-Fi

Although we’ve yet to discover life forms on any other planet, astronomers are confident that not only we’ll be able to discover alien life, but we’ll be able to chart its spread through the Universe.

Astronomy, News, Observations

NASA’s Cassini Shuttle Takes Spectacular Photos of Saturn’s Moon Dione

This view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft looks toward Saturn’s icy moon Dione, with giant Saturn and its rings in the background, just prior to the mission’s final close approach to the moon on 17 August 2015. At lower right is the large, multi-ringed impact basin named Evander, which is about 220 miles (350 kilometres) wide. The canyons of Padua Chasma, features that form part of Dione’s bright, wispy terrain, reach into the darkness at left. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

The Cassini shuttle, that has been in Saturn’s orbit since 2004, took some spectacular images of the rather elusive moon, along with geophysical measurements. A crater-riddled, icy landscape covers Saturn’s moon Dione, but that doesn’t take away anything from its charm. Though it’s nowhere near as famous as some of Saturn’s other moons – especially Titan – Dione is still significant. It’s the

Astronomy, Geology, News, Space

Scientists find the last vestiges of Martian surface water

This is a perspective rendering of the Martian chloride deposit.
Credit: LASP / Brian Hynek

Mars is now a cold and dry place, but it wasn’t always like this – the Red Planet used to have a lot of water on its surface. Now, researchers have discovered one of the very last places where (potentially habitable) liquid water existed on Mars.

Astronomy, News, Observations

Mysterious features observed on Saturn’s moon Tethys

tethys saturn

In its most recent flyby, NASA’s Cassini space probe discovered some strange red streaks on Tethys – one of Saturn’s 62 known moons. “Like graffiti sprayed by an unknown artist, unexplained arc-shaped, reddish streaks are visible on the surface of Saturn’s icy moon Tethys. As the Saturn system moved into its northern hemisphere summer over the past few years, northern latitudes

Astronomy, News

First blue moon since 2012 will be visible on Friday

Blue moon of August 31, 2012, viewed from Slobozia, Romania. Image via Wikipedia.

If you do something “once in a blue moon”, that’s really rare – once every 2 or 3 years, to be more exact. There’s no exact pattern for blue moons, sometimes they grace us with their presence sooner, and sometimes it takes more time. It’s been about three years since we had the last one, and it will be another three before we have the next one: the blue moon comes on Friday.

Astronomy, Astrophysics, News

NASA’s exciting announcement: They’ve discovered an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone

The sweep of NASA Kepler mission’s search for small, habitable planets in the last six years. The first planet smaller than Earth, Kepler-20e, was discovered in December 2011 orbiting a Sun-like star slightly cooler and smaller than our sun every six days. But it is scorching hot and unable to maintain an atmosphere or a liquid water ocean. Kepler-22b was announced in the same month, as the first planet in the habitable zone of a sun-like star, but is more than twice the size of Earth and therefore unlikely to have a solid surface. Kepler-186f was discovered in April 2014 and is the first Earth-size planet found in the habitable zone of a small, cool M dwarf about half the size and mass of our sun. Kepler-452b is the first near-Earth-Size planet in the habitable zone of a star very similar to the sun.
Credits: NASA Ames/W. Stenzel

Planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our Sun. This extremely exciting announcement was made by NASA today; while this doesn’t mean that the planet is inhabited, it does mean that it has many of the characteristics that our own Earth-Sun system have, and the odds of it hosting life seem significant.

Astronomy, News, Science, Space

Pluto had its moment – now Charon, Pluto’s Moon is in the spotlight

Image via NASA.

OK, we all know New Horizons zoomed past Pluto, took some breathtaking pictures and then called back home to tell us everything’s fine. But let’s switch our attention a bit and focus on Charon – Pluto’s Moon that’s just as mysterious as its name implies. Charon is the largest of the five known moons of the dwarf planet Pluto, at about

Astronomy, News, Space

New Horizons Phones Back After Pluto Flyby

Members of the New Horizons science team react to seeing the spacecraft's last and sharpest image of Pluto before closest approach later in the day, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.
Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls

New Horizons’s trip to Pluto came and went – it was met with extreme enthusiasm at NASA headquarters and praised by astronauts throughout the world – but New Horizon’s mission is far from over. The shuttle is adequately powered to sent back valuable data until the 2030s; for now, it simply “phoned” back home to say it’s OK after zooming past Pluto.

Astronomy, News, Observations

New Horizons and Pluto: Everything You Wanted to Know

This is the best photo of Pluto we have. Thank you, NASA!

Speeding at 14 km per second, NASA’s New Horizons shuttle went past Pluto, hurdling towards the edge of the Solar System. But regardless of what happens, New Horizons’ flyby of the dwarf planet will remained firmly anchored in the history of space exploration. “We have completed the initial reconnaissance of the Solar System, an endeavour started under President Kennedy more than 50

Astronomy, News

Millions of supermassive black holes are hiding under thick blankets of dust and gas

A montage of images showing an artist's concept of NuSTAR (top); a color image of one of the galaxies targeted by NuSTAR (lower left); and artist's concept of a hidden black hole.
Credits: Top: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Lower-left: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA. Bottom-right: NASA/ESA

Our Universe may be riddled with millions of supermassive black holes, a new study reports. The reason why we haven’t yet discovered them is because they are shrouded in thick clouds of dust and gas, and because we weren’t looking with the right telescope. Using NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) satellite observatory, astronomers from Durham University in Britain detected the