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Geothermal Heating Could Make Life Possible on the Super Earth Planet at Barnard’s Star

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 12:23am

In 2018, scientists announced the discovery of a extrasolar planet orbiting Barnard’s star, an M-type (red dwarf) that is just 6 light years away. Using the Radial Velocity method, the research team responsible for the discovery determined that this exoplanet (Barnard’s Star b) was at least 3.2 times as massive as Earth and experienced average …

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Categories: Astronomy

Seeding the Milky Way with Life Using Genesis Missions

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 4:33pm

Claudius Gros, the founder of Project Genesis, makes the case that when it comes to extrasolar planets, the rules of planetary protection need not apply.

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Categories: Astronomy

Cassini Saw Rain Falling at Titan’s North Pole

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 4:06pm

The Cassini mission to Saturn ended in September 2017, but the data it gathered during its 13 year mission is still yielding scientific results. On the heels of a newly-released global image of Saturn’s moon Titan comes another discovery: Rainfall at Titan’s north pole. Climate models developed by scientists during Cassini’s mission concluded that rain …

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Categories: Astronomy

CERN is Planning to Build a Much Larger Particle Collider. Much, Much, Larger.

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 6:59pm

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, wants to build a particle collider that will dwarf the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC has made important discoveries, and planned upgrades to its power ensures it will keep working on physics problems into the future. But eventually, it won’t be enough to unlock the secrets of …

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Categories: Astronomy

Astronomers Aren’t Pleased About a Russian Plan to Put Billboards in Space

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 3:00pm

It was bound to happen. While the rest of us look up at the night sky, and wonder at what we’re seeing, ponder how it all fits together, and strain ourselves trying to understand how our origins are intertwined with all that we see, others don’t. They look up at the magnitude of the night …

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Categories: Astronomy

Weekly Space Hangout: Jan 16, 2019: Paul MacNeal of JPL’s Annual Invention Challenge

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 9:15pm

Hosts: Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain) Dr. Pamela Gay (astronomycast.com / cosmoquest.org / @starstryder) Dr. Morgan Rehnberg (MorganRehnberg.com / @MorganRehnberg & ChartYourWorld.org) This week’s guest Paul MacNeal, a mechanical systems engineer at JPL, created the Annual Invention Challenge twenty-one years ago after helping his son with an extra credit assignment. Since then, teams of high …

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Categories: Astronomy

There’s Life on the Moon! China’s Lander Just Sprouted the First Plants

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 5:14pm

The Chang'e-4 mission accomplished another first by being the first mission to grow plant life on the Moon. Unfortunately, the experiment was short-lived.

The post There’s Life on the Moon! China’s Lander Just Sprouted the First Plants appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

The Prototype for the Starship has been Assembled, Hop Tests Could be Happening Soon

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 2:30pm

In an announcement sure to make you quiver with delight, Elon Musk says that SpaceX could begin short-hop test flights of its Starship prototype as early as next Spring. The Starship, which looks like something from a 1950’s sci-fi novel cover (awesome!) is intended to carry people to the Moon and Mars. When the spacecraft …

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Categories: Astronomy

Jupiter Meets Venus at Dawn in a Close Conjunction

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 5:06am

You might be asking yourself: Where have all the planets gone? With Mars past its epic opposition in 2018 and still lingering in the evening sky, all other naked eye planets are loitering in the early dawn for January 2019. Sure, it’s cold outside this month for folks up north, but January dawn skies offer …

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Categories: Astronomy

Titan’s Thick Clouds Obscure our View, but Cassini Took these Images in Infrared, Showing the Moon’s Surface Features

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 7:10pm

Saturn’s moon Titan is a very strange place. It’s surrounded by a dense, opaque atmosphere, the only moon in the solar system with an atmosphere to speak of. It has lakes of liquid methane on its surface, maybe some cryovolcanoes, and some scientists speculate that it could support a form of life. Very weird life. …

The post Titan’s Thick Clouds Obscure our View, but Cassini Took these Images in Infrared, Showing the Moon’s Surface Features appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

A New Technique to Figure Out How Old Stars Are

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 5:27pm

Our understanding of the universe, and of the Milky Way, is built on an edifice of individual pieces of knowledge, all related to each other. But each of those pieces is only so accurate. The more accurate we can make one of the pieces of knowledge, the more accurate our understanding of the whole thing …

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Categories: Astronomy

Bizarre Double Star System Flipped its Planetary Disk on its Side

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 4:17pm

An international research team recently found a binary star system with a debris disk that orbits around their poles.

The post Bizarre Double Star System Flipped its Planetary Disk on its Side appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Incredible Descent Video of the Chinese Lander to the Lunar Far Side

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 1:39pm

On January 2nd, 2019, China’s Chang’e-4 lander made a successful landing on the far side of the Moon. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) report that after 9 days on the surface, the mission is in good shape. The Yutu-2 rover has been deployed and has begun exploring …

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Categories: Astronomy

Habitable Planets Around Red Dwarf Stars Might not get Enough Photons to Support Plant Life

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 10:28pm

A new study shows that planets orbiting red dwarf stars may not get enough radiation to support photosynthesis.

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Categories: Astronomy

Messier 76 – the NGC 650/651 Planetary Nebula

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 8:57pm

Located in the Perseus constellation, about 2,500 light years from Earth, is the planetary nebula known as Messier 76.

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Categories: Astronomy

Astronomers See the Exact Moment a Supernova Turned into a Black Hole (or Neutron Star)

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 4:35pm

On June 17th 2018, the ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) survey’s twin telescopes spotted something extraordinarily bright in the sky. The source was 200 million light years away in the constellation Hercules. The object was given the name AT2018cow or “The Cow.” The Cow flared up quickly, and then just as quickly it was …

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Categories: Astronomy

Neutrino Telescopes Look Deep in the Earth and Deep into Space

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 3:10pm

Neutrino telescopes are another kind of telescope to go alongside telescopes for visible light, x-rays, infrared, ultraviolet, microwave, radio, gamma ray and gravity waves.

The post Neutrino Telescopes Look Deep in the Earth and Deep into Space appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Giant Streak Structure Found in Venus’ Cloudtops

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 6:52pm

A team of researchers in Japan has discovered a gigantic streak structure in the cloud tops of Venus. The discovery is based on observations of Venus by the Japanese spacecraft Akatsuki. The findings were published in January 9th in the journal Nature Communications. Venus is unlike any other planet in the Solar System. The entire …

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Categories: Astronomy

In the far Future our Sun will Turn Into a Solid Crystalline White Dwarf. Here’s How it’ll Happen

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 5:02pm

New research using some of the latest Gaia mission data has revealed what happens to stars like our Sun once they become white dwarfs.

The post In the far Future our Sun will Turn Into a Solid Crystalline White Dwarf. Here’s How it’ll Happen appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Uh oh, Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 is Down

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 4:05pm

On January 8th, an important piece of equipment on the Hubble Space Telescope went down. The Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) suspended its operations because of a hardware. The Hubble team is investigating the anomaly, and during this time the space telescope’s other instruments are working normally and continuing their science operations. The WFC3 was …

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Categories: Astronomy