Astronomy, Observations

Scientists discover extremely rare quadruple quasar system

It's like winning the lottery - twice. Astronomers have spotted a rare cluster of four quasars—some of the brightest objects in the universe, formed from active black holes. Photograph by Hennawy and Arrigoni Battaia, MPIA.

A team of astronomers has discovered a unique system of quadruple quasars. The quartet, discovered at the very edge of the universe, is one of the most massive structures in the known universe.

Astronomy, News, Observations

High school students help astronomers discover spectacular pulsar

PSR J1930-1852. Image credit: J. K. Swiggum et al.

Highschool students analyzing data obtained with the 100-meter Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope have discovered an exotic pulsar with the widest orbit known to date. Pulsars (pulsating radio stars) are some of the most spectacular things in the known Universe. They are basically highly magnetized, rotating neutron stars that emit beams of electromagnetic radiation. This radiation can be observed when the beam

Alien life, Astronomy, News

NASA officially starts program to look for alien life

An image charge with symbolism: the search for life beyond our solar system requires unprecedented cooperation across scientific disciplines. NASA's NExSS collaboration includes those who study Earth as a life-bearing planet (lower right), those researching the diversity of solar system planets (left), and those on the new frontier, discovering worlds orbiting other stars in the galaxy (upper right).
Credits: NASA

Just after NASA researchers made the bold claim that they will find alien life in less than 20 years, the space agency has officially launched a project to look for it. The Nexus for Exoplanet System Science, or “NExSS” will be a project integrating several fields of science, aiming to better understand exoplanets with the potential to host life, as well as planet-life interactions.

Astronomy, News, Space

Dwarf Planet Ceres reveals its colors, but keeps its secrets

Infrared images suggest that Spot 1 (top row), an area on Ceres, is made of ice. But the pair of bright gleams known as Spot 5 were invisible to an infrared camera (bottom right). Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/ASI/INAF

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft already has an impressive resume – it’s traveled to the strange area between Mars and Jupiter and managed to start orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres, even though Ceres measures only 950 kilometers (590 miles) in diameter and has a very small gravitational field. But it’s not stopping just yet – after previously revealing a number of black and white pictures, Dawn has now provided a color photograph, but here’s the thing – it poses more questions than it answers.

Astronomy, Geology, News

Mars has giant belts of glaciers, Danish researchers claim

Mars may have many non-polar glaciers.

Astronomers have known for quite a while that Mars has distinct polar ice caps, but the Red Planet might also have belts of glaciers at its central latitudes in both the southern and northern hemispheres. These huge glaciers are covered by a thick layer of dust which masks them and makes them seem like they are actually part of the surface of the ground.

Alien life, Astronomy, News

NASA: we’ll find alien life in 10-20 years

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When it comes to alien life, we’ve had our hopes crushed time and time again. As the Moon was being observed with telescopes in medieval times, many thought it might be inhabited, but then we learned there’s not atmosphere and no water on it. Then Venus, our sister planet turned out to be completely unsuitable for life, and even Mars seems to

Astronomy, Astrophysics, News

Scientists find the sound of stars

Solar flare. Image via Wikipedia.

A chance discovery has provided experimental evidence that stars may generate sound. While he was examining the interaction of an ultra-intense laser with a plasma target, John Parsley from the University of York found that interfering plasma generates a series of pressure pulses – in other words, sounds.

Astronomy, Geology, News

Chinese Lunar Rover Reveals Secrets from The Dark Side of the Moon

Image via Xinhua.

The Moon’s geologic past was much more interesting and active than previously thought, results from the Chinese lunar rover indicate. The Yutu moon rover found evidence of at least nine distinct rock layers deep beneath its wheels, something which seems to indicate a more complex setting.

Astronomy, Astrophysics, News

Gamma Ray Signal Might Help Scientists Zoom in on Dark Matter

Artistic representation of a dwarf galaxy. Image via Stanford University.

At the core of a newly found dwarf galaxy, astronomers discovered a mysterious source of gamma rays that may signal the presence of the mysterious dark matter. If this is confirmed, then it would be the first time we see dark matter through anything else than its gravitational pull.

Astronomy, News, Observations

Planet discovered in four-star solar system

This artist's conception shows the 30 Ari system, which includes four stars and a planet.
Image Credit: Karen Teramura, UH IfA

For the second time, astronomers have discovered a planet in a solar system with four stars! While most solar systems only have one star, two stars are pretty rare, three are very rare, and four stars… that almost never happens – or at least this is what we thought. The planet wasn’t newly discovered, but previously, astronomers thought it resides