Pulsar with “multiple personality disorder” challenges our current cosmological models

Astronomers are baffled by a pulsar heavier than the Sun and smaller than New York which alternatively switches on and off between radio and X-ray emissions. Small and heavy Pulsars are highly magnetized, rotating neutron stars, with a radius in the order of about 10 km, made up of neutrons. It is the result of a supernova explosion, representing basically

Study shows auroras also occur outside our solar system

Researchers from Leicester University have shown that auroras (similar to Earth’s aurora borealis) occur on other bodies outside our solar system. Aurora borealis Aurora borealis is a natural light display occuring in high latitude areas (both north and south), caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere. Here’s what happens: emissions of photons

Earth was hit by a massive gamma-ray burst in the 8th century

The most powerful explosion in the Universe – a gamma-ray burst–  might have hit Earth during the middle ages. Luckily enough for our ancestors the event had its origin thousands of light years away and its effects went by unnoticed. Last year, scientists found  unusual levels of radioactive carbon-14 in cedar trees in Japan and spikes of  beryllium-10 in Antarctic ice, signifying

NASA Curiosity rover finds intriguing new evidence of water – prepares to drill

The first sample from underground Mars will come from a rockbed that showcases unexpected mineral veins of gypsum. A Martian candy store Astronomers and geologists are now in the equivalent of a Martian candy store of scientific objectives: the lowest point of Gale crater, called Yellowknife Bay is literally teeming with minerals that could only be formed in the presence

The Milky Way’s mass is 1,6 trillion suns, far more than previously estimated

In a novel and highly praised research, a team of astronomers have managed to estimate the mass of our host galaxy with unprecedented accuracy, findings suggesting it is in the order of 1,6 trillion suns. Astronomers estimate there are between 200 and 400 billion stars in the milky way. Estimating the mass of the Milky Way solely based on star

North Star yields surprise

The North Star (or Pole Star) has been a guiding light for generations of navigators. But a new study conducted on it claims that the distance from the star to Earth has been grossly overestimated – by 30 percent, actually. Polaris is about 323 light-years away from our solar system, an international team explained, 30 percent closer than previous estimates.

Most powerful quasar outflow detected is two trillion times more energetic than the sun

Astronomers using ESO‘s Very Large Telescope (VLT) have discovered the most powerful quasar outflow discovered to date – five times more energetic than the previous record holder. Dubbed SDSS J1106+1939, the quasar outflow is at least equivalent to two million million times the power output of the Sun or 100 times higher than the total power output of the Milky Way

Superhot filaments of gas connect galaxy clusters

Astronomers have for the  first time confirmed a bridge of hot gas with a temperature of about 80 million degrees Kelvin connecting a pair of galaxy clusters 10 million light-years apart. The discovery is of particular importance since it might help shed light on the missing baryonic matter that has been puzzling scientists for decades. The two galaxy clusters, Abell 399 and

Closest rogue planet discovered is just 100 light-years away

Like in a scene from a Sci-fi novel, about 100 light years away, somewhere in the constellation Doradus, a planet is travelling around the galaxy by itself, without orbiting a parent star. This “rogue planet“, has a temperature of about 400C and a mass between 4 to 7 times that of Jupiter – close to the mass limit beyond which

The Universe will stop making new stars very soon – no more than 5% more stars will be born

A startling study, which looked at data 10 times more comprehensive compared to previous similar efforts, found that half of all the stars that have ever existed were created between 9 and 11 billion years ago, with the other half created in the years since. What this means is an exponential fall in new stars being born, to the point that

New Experiment on to Revalidate Nobel Winning Universe Acceleration Finding

This year’s Nobel Prize winning finding that the ‘Universe is accelerating’ is being subjected to another validation test in the USA to confirm whether the expansion is “even or uneven”.   “We are testing the acceleration theory through another experiment to find whether the expansion is even or multi-directional. We are confident it would be ‘even’,” says eminent cosmologist Prof.Robert

Closest star orbiting our galaxy’s black hole discovered

Astronomers at UCLA university have made a remarkable discovery, after they’ve confirmed the presence of a star orbiting the black hole at the center of our galaxy in a mere 11-and-a-half years – that’s the shortest known orbit of any star near this black hole. The researchers involved in the paper describing the find claim that data will help test Einstein’s

Don’t miss the August Blue Moon this year

Ok, it’s not actually blue, but this is what two full moons occurring in the same calendar month are commonly referred to. This month of August, the skies will be blessed with not one, but two full moons, the first on Aug. 1 and the second on Aug. 31 – don’t mean burst your bubble or anything, but they’ll appear

Powerful solar flare headed our way set to spark beautiful Northern Lights

Astronomers have surprised a blast of charged solar particles erupting from a massive solarspot, recently. The unleashed X-class solar flare is expected to reach Earth’s magnetic field on Saturday morning (2:52 p.m. EDT). Scientists warrant that there’s a chance temporary disruptions to GPS signals, radio communications and power grids might occur. Of greater interest for most of us though, is the consequent

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