How many planets are in the Milky Way? Over 50 billion

Yes, you’ve read that right. There are over 50 billion planets in our galaxy alone, according to the Kepler telescope, scientists now estimate that not only there are over 500 bilion planets in the galaxy, but that there are over 500 million life-cable planets out there as well. These numbers obviously come from Nasa’s own database created by the Kepler

Giant solar blast headed directly for Earth – perfect for photographers

First of all, there’s no need to panic; solar blasts can cause geomagnetic perturbances, but they pose no direct danger for humans or any other inhabitants of our planet in a direct manner. The biggest such flare in the past four years erupted on Monday, and it’s sending jets of charged particles that will reach our planet in the next

Comet flyby produces “stunning pictures”

After six years of loneliness, this Valentine’s day was the charm for one of the veteran comet-chasing spacecrafts. As Stardust briefly met with the comet nicknamed Tempel 1, the spacecraft took dozens of pictures of the comet’s icy surface; but this was no random encounter – the purpose of it was to see how a comet’s surface changes when it

A star is born [great pics]

The nebula you are looking at is known as the North American nebula, and the pictures were taken with the Spitzer telescope, using an infrared vision; researchers still have some unanswered questions about the group of massive stars thought to be dominating the nebula. The lower left of this first image shows the “baby” stars in the complex, no older

NASA rejects Russian report: Apophis asteroid extremely unlikely to hit earth

In 2004, NASA researchers identified the Apophis asteroid and after some quick calculations they states there is a chance the asteroid will hit our homey planet in 2029. A few observations and some other calculations later, they explained that that chance is extremely small for 2029, as well as other years to come. However, reports from Russia claim that the

First time 360 view of the SUN

Forget the Moon – for the first time ever we have a full view of the star in our solar system, as can be seen from images recently released by NASA. The pictures of the Sun were taken with the STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory). The goal of the project is to monitor movements of mass and energy from the

Geminids to offer another thrilling night for stargazers

The strangest meteor shower one can observe every year is almost upon us. Geminids is the only meteor shower that isn’t caused by a passing comet, but rather by an asteroid; the meteors are slow moving and pretty bright, making them a perfect target not only for astronomy afficionados, but for everybody who want’s to see a stellar show. From

TD54 Asteroid Collision Causes Atom Bomb-like Effects

Tuesday at 6:51 a.m. EDT (1051 GMT) a small asteroid dubbed TD54 passed the Earth dangerously close, above a section of Southeast Asia by Singapore, being at its closest 28,000 miles from our blue planet. The asteroid, 2010 TD54 was first discovered on October 9th, by scientists in Arizona at a NASA-sponsored lab. A few days after being spotted, the

The most detailed photo of a Sun Spot to date captured by the Big Bear Solar Observatory

Now, that’s not Sauron’s eye. Pictured above is the most highly detailed photo of a sunspot ever taken at present date, captured and recently released by the Big Bear Solar Observatory, CA. The whole event was captured by Big Bear’s New Solar Telescope (NST), which has a resolution covering about 50 miles on the Sun’s surface. “This photo of a

A solar tsunami set to generate celestial show tonight

A huge plasma eruption that took place on the Sun has caused a “solar tsunami” of ionized atoms that are on a course for our planet on Tuesday night. Nothing to be too alarmed here, except for the disruption of some satellites. It will however generate quite a show, a rare and unpredictable one too. “It’s the first major Earth-directed

No people, Betelgeuse is not going supernova

First of all, I have no idea how this rumour started, but a number of people signaled this already; the rumour sounded something like this: I was talking to my son last week (he works on Mauna Kea), and he mentioned some new observations (that will no doubt get published eventually) of “Beetlejuice”; it’s no longer round. This is a

Herschel reveals the hidden side of star birth

The first touchable scientific results of the Herschel infrared space observatory are spectacular indeed; not only is it showing previously hidden details of star formation, but it also shows thousands of distant galaxies “building” stars with incredible energy and covering the Milky Way in wonderfully coloured star clouds. Not only are the images spectacular by any standards, but they also

Saturn’s moon full of geysers

There are many things we have yet to find out about Saturn, but the Cassini probe has definitely shed some light on the planet, and will surely do the same in the following years. The most recent flyby showed a significant number of geysers just waiting to pop out from under the surface – even more than previously believed. The

‘Fossil’ fireballs found from supernovae

The US-Japan Sukazu observatory reported the finding of some never-before seen embers from the high temperature fireballs that immediately follower the supernovae explosions. Even after thousands of years in which they haven’t been exposed to any heat source, gas within these stellar wrecks is 10.000 hotter than the Sun’s surface. “This is the first evidence of a new type of

We now know the birth place of the biggest guitar in the galaxy

In case you’re wondering, the biggest ‘guitar’ in our galaxy is in fact a pulsar that was nicknamed The Guitar Pulsar. It’s basically a stellar corpse that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation that just shreds interstellar gas, creating a wake of hot hydrogen shaped just like a guitar. Little is known about these remnants, from any point of view.

A Colourful Cosmic Jewel Box

Star clusters are among the pretties things you can see, when it comes to astrophysical observations. Recently, ESO provided some amazing pictures of one of the most beautiful nestles ever to be seen, located deep in the constellation of Crux. The cluster is named Kappa Crucis Cluster and has been nicknamed ‘the jewel box’ (by Herschel, in 1830), for reasons

Mars makes a once in a lifetime approach on 27 August

Planet Mars will be the brightest we’ll (probably) ever have a chance to see it, and it will be as large as the moon, even for the naked eye ! I can’t even imagine what it will be like, but I bet the Red Planet will be absolutely spectacular, and it’s something you definitely don’t want to miss. Just so

Dramatic fireball flies above Arizona

I’m really sorry I didn’t find out about this earlier, but better late than never. So, on June 23, several observers from Tucson, Arizona reported they noticed a bright fireball on the sky. As it turns out, it was rock from outer space that broke apart and took a dive in our planet’s atmosphere, a ‘shooting star’, and a pretty

The most distant object in the universe found so far

ESO’s Very Large Telescope has shown something that scientists concluded is the signature of the explosion of the object furthest away from Earth we have found so far, a redshift of 8.2; it’s estimated that the explosion took place more than 13 billion years ago (!!), just 600 million years after the Big Bang. They found it using a technology

Zooming in on Mars: 3d pictures of the red planet

Get your 3D pictures on and join the show; hundreds of amazing pictures made by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have been made, and despite the fact that this is not the first mission to take 3D pictures, HiRISE is by far the most powerful camera to do this, due to the significant progress in the