News, Observations, Space

Exploding supernova ejects enough material to seed 7,000 Earths

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Everything is made of stardust – but some things are made of more stardust than others. A new study has found that a single supernova is capable of producing large enough quantities of dust to create thousands of planets like Earth.

Astrophysics, News, Observations

Minuscule Centaur planet in our Solar System might have rings like Saturn

chiron minor planet

They’re considered a hybrid between asteroids and comets, but still, they’re called minor planets; they also bear the name of the fabled man-horse creatures in Greek mythology – centaurs. Now, scientists have found that a Centaur in our solar system, Chiron, might have rings just like those of Saturn.

News, Observations, Science, Space

Here’s how Venus would look like without its thick clouds

Credits: B. Campbell, Smithsonian, et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF, Arecibo.

Using high sensitivity radar telescopes, astronomers have managed to take a glimpse at the surface of Venus, piercing through its thick clouds.

Astrophysics, News, Observations, Space

Astronomers confirm the existence of potentially habitable super-Earth

Artist’s Impression Of Gliese 581 Planetary System. Image via NSF.

Exoplanet GJ581d is the first potentially habitable world astronomers have discovered, but some astronomers believed that the planet wasn’t actually there – it was all an observational flaw mixed with some noise in the signal. However, British researchers recently released a study which confirms that the planet does exist and further underline the matter of habitability. This is one of the planets outside our solar system most likely to harbor life.

News, Observations, Space

Mars may have had a huge ocean

This artist’s impression shows how Mars may have looked about four billion years ago. The young planet Mars would have had enough water to cover its entire surface in a liquid layer about 140 meters deep, but it is more likely that the liquid would have pooled to form an ocean occupying almost half of Mars’s northern hemisphere.

Scientists have found tantalizing evidence regarding Mars’ wet past – according to new research, the Red Planet may have once had a huge ocean, containing 5 million cubic miles of water with a depth of over a mile.

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…

Astronomy, News, Observations

Exploding supernova observed in four different images

The powerful gravity of a galaxy embedded in a massive cluster of galaxies in this Hubble Space Telescope image is producing multiple images of a single distant supernova far behind it. Both the galaxy and the galaxy cluster are acting like a giant cosmic lens, bending and magnifying light from the supernova behind them, an effect called gravitational lensing. Image via NASA.

According to a new report, a team of astronomers has observed a supernova explode – split into four different images. It’s a “needle in the hay stack” scenario which astronomers were hoping to find for a long time… and now they finally did.

Geology, News, Observations

Dust from the Sahara Desert Fertilizes the Amazon’s Forests

The Sahara Desert actually "sends" dust to the Amazon rainforest, via global winds. Image via Wiki Commons.

The Sahara Desert and the Amazon area have few things in common – one is a dry, barren wasteland, while the other is the most fertile area on Earth. But according to a new NASA study, there may be more than meets the eye when it comes to the two – dust from the Saharan area makes the trans-Atlantic journey, fertilizing the Amazonian rainforest with phosphorus.

Astrophysics, News, Observations

Surprising Link Found Between Dark Matter and Black Holes

The teacup galaxy. Red/yellow shows the radio emission "bubbles", blue shows the gas and the bright yellow in the centre shows where the jets are driving into the gas. Image via CNET.

Dark matter and black holes are some of the most mysterious things in the Universe, so a connection between the two is absolutely thrilling. In a new study, astronomers report a strange link between the amount of dark matter in a galaxy and the size of its supermassive black hole. Most galaxies have a black hole at their centers –…

Astrophysics, News, Observations

70,000 Years Ago, a Rogue Star Passed Through Our Solar System

star flyby oort cloud

Too close for comfort – a team of astronomers from the US, Europe, Chile and South Africa concluded that a dim star passed through the Oort cloud, our solar system’s distant cloud of comets. The star missed the Earth by less than one light year, and passed five times closer than the current closest star, Proxima Centauri. In a paper published…