Astronomy

Asteroids can have rings, too

When it comes to rings, we usually think about gas giants – Jupiter and Saturn have spoiled us that way. But astronauts have showed that asteroids can have rings too – at just 250 kilometres across, Chariklo is the smallest known body which has rings. Previously, only gas giants in our solar system have been […]

All Red Dwarf stars have planets orbiting them

A new study has concluded that virtually all red dwarfs, the stars which make up at least three quarters out of all the stars in the Universe, have planets orbiting them. The study suggested that habitable-zone super-Earth planets (where liquid water, and therefore life as we know it can exist) orbit around at least a […]

Space research more than pays for itself, but lack of inspiration raises questions

In light of recent NASA budget cuts, a lot of politicians, citizens and, frankly mostly non-science folks, reflect that money should be funneled to other more, immediate goals: education, health, fighting unemployment etc. The rhetoric goes by the familiar terms that there isn’t any reason for man to venture outside the planet, until he at […]

Largest lunar impact ever recorded

A piece of rock traveling at at 61,000 km/h punched a crater 40 metres wide on the surface of the Moon, producing a flash that could be seen from Earth. I feel like Hollywood can ruin your expectations when talking about huge meteoritic impacts – we’re dealing with a meteorite here that’s way smaller than […]

How to reseach black holes from the comfort of your couch

I think many of us wanted, at some point in our lives, to become astronauts. Unfortunately, not so many of us actually make it – but that doesn’t mean we can’t help. With only a laptop or a tablet, YOU can help astronomers discover black holes from the comfort of your couch. An international team […]

New, more precise method to measure exoplanet mass

In the past two decades alone, some 900 exoplanets – planets outside our solar system – have been identified, with some 2300 more in queue. Most of these were confirmed using the now discontinued Kepler space telescope. It’s remarkable how much scientists can find out about a distant plant, hundreds of light years away, simply […]

Curiosity rover switches strategy: hunts for organic molecules

NASA recently announced that it will be tasking the Curiosity rover, currently exploring Mars’ surface at the Gale Crater, with a new mission that wasn’t included in the initial plan. After Curiosity provided some of the most fantastic scientific clues in recent history when it found evidence that Mars could have supported certain kind of […]

Astronomers discover planet that shouldn’t be there

The discovery of a giant planet orbiting its star at 650 times the average Earth-Sun distance baffled researchers. So far, they haven’t been able to explain how such a strange system came to be. The international team of astronomers was led by a University of Arizona graduate student. This is the most distant planet ever […]

Signs of water found in the atmosphere of 5 alien planets

Using the Hubble telescope, astronomers have identified faint signals of water in the atmosphere of five exoplanets. The alien planets, however, are classed as hot-Jupiters – huge planets with a surface temperature too hot to support life. Finding water on planets light years away from Earth is definitely of great note and marks a step […]

Planet that shouldn’t exist baffles scientists

It’s a big, bad, lava world – and according to what we know about astronomy, it simply shouldn’t exist. Kepler-78b circles its star every 8 and 1/2 hours, featuring one of the tightest known orbtits. According to currently accepted theories on planetary formation, it couldn’t have formed so close to its star, nor could it […]

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