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

Top Astrophysicists Throng Goa (India) to Share Experiences on “Gravity and Cosmology” in VII International Conclave

Panaji (Goa-India), Dec 12, 2011: Hunt for finding the hypothetical massive elementary particle, the Higgs boson, popularly known as ‘The God Particle’. Exploring the pulls and pressures among the planets and the dark matter above. Building capacities to explore hitherto lesser known Universe to benefit humanity using science and technology tools through global collaborative efforts. This is what eminent astrophysicists

Astronomers find biggest, baddest black holes yet

Don’t get too close – you might not be able to get away. Researchers have found and measured the biggest black holes discovered so far – abyssal surfaces 10 times bigger than our Solar system – and several billion times heavier. Yes, you read that right; these unimaginable giants likely devoured billions of Sun in their existence, destroying them like

Don’t miss the last total eclipse of the year on 12/10

Lunar eclipses are one of the most dazzling sights you’ll ever have the chance of experiencing, though unfortunately they are rather rare events. Next week, on December 10, North American western residents will be able to experience the rare beauty of a total lunar eclipse – for some just a one in a lifetime opportunity. A lunar eclipse occurs when the

NASA’s Curiosity Rover prep to head for Mars

In a week filled with bad news for space exploration, astronomers finally have something to be happy about: the Mars Curiosity rover is ready to head towards the Red Planet, as NASA makes the final preparations for a launch scheduled for November 25. The rover is currently waiting patiently ontop an Atlas V rocket, just waiting for orders that will

100 year starship program seeds the future for mankind

This weekend one of the most fascinating symposiums of the year will take place in Orlando, Fla, where apparently “nut-case” scientists will seriously take key and discuss subjects like warp interstellar travel, terraforming planets in our solar system and beyond, as well as many other subjects taken off science fiction novels – for now, at least. The event called the “100-Year

Supercomputer simulation confirms Universe formation model

Astronomers at  UC Santa Cruz have set  a new benchmark for cosmological research for decades to come maybe, after successfully simulating the forming of distant galaxies, like our very own Milky Way, under the mysterious forces of dark matter and dark energy. Named Bolshoi – for the Russian word meaning “grand” or “great” – the simulation’s results are on par with what

Planet orbiting around two suns found by Kepler

A remarkable discovery which turns once again turns fiction into reality, the Kepler spacecraft has found the first confirmed planet to orbit around two suns, much like the iconic Tatooine in the Star Wars Universe. It’s by no means habitable, however. Located 200 light years from Earth and the size of Jupiter, the planet dubbed Kepler-16b, is half rock, half

Astronomers find best candidate for Earth-like planet, only 38 light years away

The HARPS team at the La Silla Observatory in Chile recently discovered a slew of 50 exoplanets, all in one go. Among these highly promising finds, lies a rocky planet, with a mass 3.6 times that of our Earth, which might offer conditions to support life. Dubbed HD 85512b, the super-Earth planet is located in the constellation Vela, just 38