Scientists Propose A New Kind of Planet: A Smashed Up Torus of Hot Vaporized rock

Scientists Propose A New Kind of Planet: A Smashed Up Torus of Hot Vaporized rock

There’s a new type of planet in town, though you won’t find it in well-aged solar systems like our own. It’s more of a stage of formation that planets like Earth can go through. And its existence helps explain the relationship between Earth and our Moon.

Read More

Cassini Looks on as Solstice Arrives at Saturn

Cassini Looks on as Solstice Arrives at Saturn

NASA's Cassini spacecraft still has a few months to go before it completes its mission in September, but the veteran Saturn explorer reaches a new milestone today. Saturn's solstice -- that is, the longest day of summer in the northern hemisphere and the shortest day of winter in the southern hemisphere -- arrives today for the planet and its moons. The Saturnian solstice occurs about every 15 Earth years as the planet and its entourage slowly orbit the sun, with the north and south hemispheres alternating their roles as the summer and winter poles.

Read More

Do Gravitational Waves Permanently Alter The Nature of Spacetime?

Do Gravitational Waves Permanently Alter The Nature of Spacetime?

On February 11th, 2016, scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) announced the first detection of gravitational waves. This development, which confirmed a prediction made by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity a century prior, opened new avenues of research for cosmologists and astrophysicists. It was also a watershed for researchers at Monash University, who played an important role in the discovery.

Read More

With a tight federal budget, here’s where to focus clean energy research funding

With a tight federal budget, here’s where to focus clean energy research funding

The U.S. Department of Energy spends US$3-$4 billion per year on applied energy research. These programs seek to provide clean and reliable energy and improve our energy security by driving innovation and helping companies bring new clean energy sources to market.

Read More

Here's How we can Detect Plants on Extrasolar Planets

Here's How we can Detect Plants on Extrasolar Planets

The past year has been an exciting time for those engaged in the hunt for extra-solar planets and potentially habitable worlds. In August of 2016, researchers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) confirmed the existence of the closest exoplanet to Earth (Proxima b) yet discovered. This was followed a few months later (February of 2017) with the announcement of a seven-planet system around TRAPPIST-1.

Read More

MESSIER 43 - The De Marian's Nebula

MESSIER 43 - The De Marian's Nebula

During the 18th century, famed French astronomer Charles Messier noted the presence of several “nebulous objects” in the night sky. Having originally mistaken them for comets, he began compiling a list of them so that others would not make the same mistake he did. In time, this list (known as the Messier Catalog) would come to include 100 of the most fabulous objects in the night sky.

Read More

Critical step found in DNA repair, cellular aging

Critical step found in DNA repair, cellular aging

DNA repair is essential for cell vitality, cell survival, and cancer prevention, yet cells’ ability to patch up damaged DNA declines with age for reasons not fully understood. Now, research led by scientists at Harvard Medical School (HMS) reveals a critical step in a molecular chain of events that allows cells to mend their broken DNA.

Read More

ASKAP telescope speeds up the hunt for new Fast Radio Bursts

ASKAP telescope speeds up the hunt for new Fast Radio Bursts

They’re mysterious bursts of radio waves from space that are over in a fraction of a second. Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are thought to occur many thousands of times a day, but since their first detection by the Parkes radio telescope a decade ago only 30 have been observed.

Read More

Space babies: study suggests humans may be able to have healthy offspring in orbit

Space babies: study suggests humans may be able to have healthy offspring in orbit

When we think about the difficulties of colonising another planet, the last thing we probably worry about about is sex. However, for our species to survive beyond Earth it’s a fundamental issue. While no astronauts have admitted having sex in space, plenty of reproduction has been going on.

Read More

The Star That Probably Doesn't Have an Alien Megastructure (But Maybe it Does) is Dimming Again

The Star That Probably Doesn't Have an Alien Megastructure (But Maybe it Does) is Dimming Again

In September of 2015, scientists announced that the star known as KIC 8462852 (aka. “Tabby’s Star” or “Boyajian’s Star”) was experiencing a strange dip in luminosity. At the time, astronomers indicated that this mysterious behavior could be the result of comets transiting in front of the star, but other (perhaps more hopeful) individuals claimed that it could also be the result of an alien megastructure.

Read More

Space Station-Based Experiment Might Have Found Evidence of Dark Matter Destroying Itself

Space Station-Based Experiment Might Have Found Evidence of Dark Matter Destroying Itself

Since it was first proposed in the 1960s to account for all the “missing mass” in the Universe, scientists have been trying to find evidence of dark matter. This mysterious, invisible mass theoretically accounts for 26.8% of the baryonic matter (aka. visible matter) out there. And yet, despite almost fifty years of ongoing research and exploration, scientists have not found any direct evidence of this missing mass.

Read More

It's Been Three Years Since We've Had a Supernova This close

It's Been Three Years Since We've Had a Supernova This close

A supernova is one of the most impressive astronomical events anyone can possibly witness. Characterized by a massive explosion that takes place during the final stages of a massive star’s life (after billions of years of evolution), this sort of event is understandably quite rare. In fact, within the Milky Way Galaxy, a supernova event is likely to happen just once a century.

Read More

Hubble Spots Moon Around Third Largest Dwarf Planet

Hubble Spots Moon Around Third Largest Dwarf Planet

The combined power of three space observatories, including NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, has helped astronomers uncover a moon orbiting the third largest dwarf planet, catalogued as 2007 OR10. The pair resides in the frigid outskirts of our solar system called the Kuiper Belt, a realm of icy debris left over from our solar system's formation 4.6 billion years ago.

Read More

Dinosaur Killing Asteroid Hit in Exactly the Wrong Place

Dinosaur Killing Asteroid Hit in Exactly the Wrong Place

The asteroid that struck Earth about 66 million years ago and led to the mass extinction of dinosaurs may have hit one of the worst places possible as far as life on Earth was concerned. When it struck, the resulting cataclysm choked the atmosphere with sulphur, which blocked out the Sun. Without the Sun, the food chain collapsed, and it was bye-bye dinosaurs, and bye-bye most of the other life on Earth, too.

Read More

NASA Mission Uncovers Dance of Electrons in Space

NASA Mission Uncovers Dance of Electrons in Space

You can’t see them, but swarms of electrons are buzzing through the magnetic environment — the magnetosphere — around Earth. The electrons spiral and dive around the planet in a complex dance dictated by the magnetic and electric fields. When they penetrate into the magnetosphere close enough to Earth, the high-energy electrons can damage satellites in orbit and trigger auroras. Scientists with NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, mission study the electrons’ dynamics to better understand their behavior. A new study, published in Journal of Geophysical Research revealed a bizarre new type of motion exhibited by these electrons.

Read More