Two newly discovered alien planets form closest known pair in the Universe

Kepler, a space telescope on a mission to find alien planets by measuring dips in the brightness of more than 150,000 stars, has come across a fantastic discovery. Two planets orbiting a distant star, which are closer to one another than any other two planets discovered thus far. Apparently, from the surface of the smaller planet, its neighbor would appear about the size

Huge asteroid will ‘barely miss’ Earth

A huge asteroid will make a ‘cosmic brush’ on Earth, closing in on our planet at a distance of only a few million kilometers. The massive asteroid, named 2012 LZ1, will buzz Earth Thursday, and amateur astronomers without any equipment can watch the flyby on the Slooh Space Camera’s website. It will be a close brush in astronomic terms; the

Superflares 10,000 times more powerful than those in our solar system, observed on sun-like stars

Some stars, most often during their early life, exhibit an intense and energetic behavior, much greater than that of our own sun, despite a similar size, per say. In the first survey of its kind, scientists at Kyoto University have analyzed sun flares erupting on the surface of distant stars through out our galaxy. They found that some solar flares were

Prepare for Supermoon Saturday – biggest moon of the year

Supermoon comes on the 5th of May; why is it a ‘super’ Moon? Well, because the period when the Moon becomes full coincides with the Moon’s perigee – its closest approach to Earth. It could be a weekend to remember for amateur astronomers, especially considering that Venus will also be at its brightest these days, but it is also the

Venus at its brightest this week, while Venus transit marks once in a life time opportunity next month

Summer is set to kick-off with a series of beautiful Venus related events, from an astronomical point of view at least. This week, the planet will appear at its brightest in the night sky, as it nears almost ideal observational circumstances – close distance to Earth and sun phase. Also, at the beginning of June, Venus will pass across the

NASA mascot, Camilla, hits the stratosphere

In a knitted spacesuit and a tight fitting helmet, Camilla, the rubber chicken bravely flew towards the edge of the atmosphere as the Sun unleashed the most intense radiation storm since 2003. The mascot of Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory lofted towards the stratosphere on a helium balloon that also carried a thermometer, two GPS trackers and four cameras, thanks to

Mars life search will go on, despite of budget cuts

When the administration gives you budget cut lemons, make a different scientific lemonade – that’s pretty much what NASA is trying to do in light of these decisions. Less money, more problems Citing lack of funds, the Obama administration is cutting healthy chunks of the NASA budget, placing a big question mark on many important projects, including the quest to

IBM to develop world’s most powerful computing system tasked with finding origins of Universe

Backed by an international consortium, ten years from now the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world will be built – the Square Kilometer Array (SKA). The project will consist in thousands of antennas displaced across thousands of miles, with a collecting area equivalent to one square kilometer (hence the name), that will hopefully help astronomers take

How many Earth-like planets are there in the Milky Way? Billions, according to astronomers

One of the most outstanding dreams astronomers and other scientists hope to accomplish is to someday encounter proof that extraterestrial life exists. Intelligent life might be extremely far off, however microbiological life should without a doubt be present elsewhere other than our planet or solar system. For life to blossom, however, the right conditions have to be met, and one

Astronomically aligned ancient stone monolith marked the seasons 4,000 years ago

Astronomers at Nottingham Trent University have presented evidence that a 4000-year-old stone monolith, located at Gardom’s Edge less than an hour’s drive from Manchester, was used by Neolithic locals at the time as an astronomical marker. The monolith is 7.2-foot tall (2.2-meter), triangular in shape, angles up toward geographic south, and features packing stones arranged around it, suggesting that it was

Astronomers paint a clearer picture of how supernovae are born

Supernovae are one of the most energetic and brightest events in the cosmos, often so powerful they outshine whole galaxies. They’re considered  to play a major role in our understanding of the Universe, which is why scientists have invested so much time and effort into studying them. A recent study of X-ray and ultraviolet observations from NASA’s Swift satellite has helped

Titanic sank, but iceberg is innocent – blame it on the Moon

For almost 100 years it carried the blame of sinking the world’s most famous ship, but now, the ill-famed iceberg may be cleared, after some researchers claim they’ve found the true culprit – the Moon. Now don’t get the wrong idea, it was the collision with the ice mass that ultimately brought the demise of the Titanic, but it was

Today is Mars opposition – best time to see the red planet with the naked eye

The term Mars opposition basically refers to a geometric event. Thus on the 3rd of March, Mars will appear exactly opposite the sun in Earth’s sky, 180 degrees away from it, as well as come at one of the closest distances to Earth, making it easy observable even with the naked eye. This event takes place every two years and

Pulsating embryonic stars in the Orion Nebula imaged by infrared telescopes

Located beneath the three stars that form the belt of Orion the Hunter, the Orion Nebula is one of the dearest sights for amateur astronomers in the night sky, due to its great visibility, being one of the few nebulae visible with the naked eye. Also known under the name of the Sword of Orion, the nebula which is 1,350

Nomad planets may litter Milky Way

According to a recent study published by researchers from the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), our galaxy may be ‘infested’ with nomad planets, which wander aimlessly instead of orbiting a star. Furthermore, the study concluded there may actually be 100,000 times more “nomad planets” in the Milky Way than stars. If this theory is proven correct, it

Cosmic wind blowing at 20,000 mph generated by black hole

Astronomers at NASA‘s Chandra X-ray Observatory have come across a true astronomical oddity at the outskirts of the Milky Way, a stellar-mass black hole which exerts the fastest winds ever observed so far in its class – so fast that it rivals those blown by supermassive black holes, which often are billion times more massive. The Chandra researchers clocked in

Eta Carinae – the star that exploded, but didn’t die

Around 1843, on the night sky all of a sudden a new luminous star made its appearance. That luminous star, which at the time was actually the 2nd brightest star, after Sirius, was actually the result of a explosion in Eta Carinae system – the brightest star in the Milky Way. The eruption spewed a mass 10 times that of

There is no empty space in the Universe (shorties)

New research concludes that instead of edges, galaxies have extremely long outskirts of dark matter that extend up to other galaxies, and thus, the intergalactic space wouldn’t be empty, but filled with dark matter. Researchers at the University of Tokyo’s Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU) and Nagoya University used large scale supercomputer simulations, complementing them

Astronomers use massive objects in space as huge telescopes, find brightest galaxy via gravity lens

Whenever a massive object, with an equally massive gravitational pull, like black holes or galaxy clusters, falls between an observer, say a telescope, and a distant target in the background to be observed, than a gravitational lens is formed. Light emitted from the distant object gets twisted by the massive object, and ends up distorted at the telescope – this

Astronomers spot galaxy made out of mostly dark matter

Using a technique called ‘gravitational lensing’, astronomers were able to spot a dwarf galaxy, some 10 billion light years away, which they believe is made out mostly of dark matter. It is only the second ‘black dwarf’ ever found – why there are so few of them is one of the biggest questions in astronomy. Even though dark matter is