Panspermia at galactic scale: could Milky Way spread life?

Oct 13, 2018 Alexandru Ciobanu

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The Panspermia theory claims that life may be spread throughout the universe by astronomical objects, such as asteroids.

Now, a new study tried to understand if panspermia could be possible... Read more

The death of a star and the birth of a particular neutron star configuration

Oct 11, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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Astronomers have observed the death of a massive star that exploded in a rapidly faiding supernova. This observation gives rise to think that the dying star had an undetected companion, and that the explod... Read more

Planet size puts limits on its chemical composition

Oct 10, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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A computational analysis has revealed that the chemical composition and structure of exoplanets has a so-called “threshold radius”, that sets limits as to what a planet can be made off. For ins... Read more

Newly discovered star allows study of early universe

Oct 09, 2018 Alexandru Ciobanu

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Astrophysicists discovered a rare star, very old and extremely low in metals. Called Pristine 221, it is among the 10 most metal-poor stars known to date in our Galaxy. Moreover, the star is almost carbon-... Read more

New clues about how Titan’s haze was formed

Oct 08, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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In a multidisciplinary approach including laboratory experiments, computer simulations and modeling, scientists found that the complex carbon structures found in the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan... Read more

The two moons of Mars could be pieces of the planet itself

Oct 05, 2018 Alexandru Ciobanu

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A new study about the origin of the two Martian moons contradicts previous long-lasting theories claiming that Phobos and Deimos, were asteroids captured in Mars’ gravitational pull.

A... Read more

Evidence for a moon outside our solar system

Oct 04, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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For the first time, astronomers have obtained compelling evidence for the existence of an “exomoon”, a moon outside our solar system. It is orbiting the planet Keppler 1625b, and is unusual bec... Read more

The night sky is glowing, but you cannot see it

Oct 02, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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With the aid of the MUSE spectrograph on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have observed abundant Lyman-alpha emission (a spectral line of hydrogen) around distant galaxies. This observation wa... Read more

Researchers create detailed map of dark matter in the universe

Sep 30, 2018 Alexandru Ciobanu

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Using a cosmic phenomenon called gravitational lensing, scientists have created a detailed 3D map of the distribution of the elusive dark matter. This allows scientists to see where the dark energy acts in... Read more

Surprise: neutron star with strong magnetic field launches radio jets

Sep 27, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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Astronomers have detected radio jets coming from a neutron star with a strong magnetic field. Neutron stars are formed when a massive star runs out of energy and develops supernova that creates a strong ma... Read more

New study explains how the Martian moon Phobos was formed

Sep 25, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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By comparing mid-infrared spectra from Phobos (that had been collected already in 1998 by the Mars Global Surveyor) with those of an asteroid found near Tagish Lake in British Columbia, scientists believe ... Read more

Milky Way was shaken by near-collision 500 million years ago and is still vibrating

Sep 20, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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The Milky Way has been shaken by the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy that came passing buy some 500 million years ago. Research carried out with the European Gaia satellite revealed that this near-collision has c... Read more

A highly habitable exoplanet in our neighbourhood

Sep 13, 2018 Alexandru Ciobanu

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We hear about new exoplanets being discovered almost daily, but how habitable are they after all? Using computer models similar to those used to study climate change on Earth, researchers looked at the hab... Read more

Evidence for very early migration of solar system planets

Sep 12, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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By studying a pair of asteroids, astronomers have been able to illuminate the history of our solar system. It turns out that there has been a period of instability, involving the giant planets Jupiter, Sat... Read more

The mystery of ‘lunar swirls’

Sep 11, 2018 Alexandru Ciobanu

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Lunar swirls are features on the surface of the moon, not found on any other body in our solar system, whose origin is not completely understood. A new theory about how they formed was developed by a team ... Read more

Pluto should be back as a planet

Sep 10, 2018 Kshitij Jadhav

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Pluto lost its planet status in 2006, since a group of astronomy experts, defined a planet as a body, which clears its orbit i.e. be the largest gravitational force in its orbit. However, since Neptune&rsq... Read more

Bright light emitted by dying stars

Sep 06, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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Astronomers found that supernovae generated from red supergiants (big, old stars) flash a bright light before the main explosion. This flash of light is caused by the collision of the expanding gas of the ... Read more

Monster galaxy giving nonstop birth to stars

Aug 30, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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Using the ALMA telescope, astronomers have obtained a detailed anatomy of a monster galaxy located 12.4 billion light years away. Its clouds are extremely unstable, leading to star formation at a rate that... Read more

How Jupiter grew so big

Aug 28, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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Mathematical modelling reveals that Jupiter has known three distinct phases of growth. During the first phase, the embryo-planet accreted small, centimeter-sized pebbles and grew quickly for one million ye... Read more

Direct proof of water ice on the surface of the moon

Aug 21, 2018 Erwin van den Burg

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Astronomers have for the first time obtained direct evidence for the presence of water ice on the north and south pole of the moon. Using data from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument, ice was de... Read more