Hubble's Twisted Galaxy

Hubble's Twisted Galaxy

Gravity governs the movements of the cosmos. It draws flocks of galaxies together to form small groups and more massive galaxy clusters, and brings duos so close that they begin to tug at one another. This latter scenario can have extreme consequences, with members of interacting pairs of galaxies often being dramatically distorted, torn apart, or driven to smash into one another, abandoning their former identities and merging to form a single accumulation of gas, dust and stars.

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How we recall the past - Neuroscientists discover a brain circuit dedicated to retrieving memories

How we recall the past - Neuroscientists discover a brain circuit dedicated to retrieving memories

When we have a new experience, the memory of that event is stored in a neural circuit that connects several parts of the hippocampus and other brain structures. Each cluster of neurons may store different aspects of the memory, such as the location where the event occurred or the emotions associated with it.

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How ancient cultures explained eclipses

How ancient cultures explained eclipses

On August 21, a total solar eclipse was visible across parts of the United States.As the Earth and moon sweep through space in their annual journey around the sun, the three bodies align in such a way that the Earth passes into the shadow of the moon. Observers then witness a sun that is gradually covered and uncovered by the moon’s disk – a spectacular celestial event.

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There could be snow on Mars – here’s how that’s possible

There could be snow on Mars – here’s how that’s possible

Given that there are ambitious plans to colonise Mars in the near future, it is surprising how much we still have to learn about what it would be like to actually live on the planet. Take the weather, for instance. We know there are wild fluctuations in Mars’s climate – and that it is very windy and at times cloudy (though too cold and dry for rainfall). But does it snow? Might settlers on Mars be able to see the red planet turn white? A new study surprisingly suggests so.

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From the edge of the Solar System, Voyager probes are still talking to Australia after 40 years

From the edge of the Solar System, Voyager probes are still talking to Australia after 40 years

This month marks 40 years since NASA launched the two Voyager space probes on their mission to explore the outer planets of our Solar System, and Australia has been helping the US space agency keep track of the probes at every step of their epic journey.

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Another Nearby Red Dwarf Star System, Another Possible Exoplanet Discovered!

Another Nearby Red Dwarf Star System, Another Possible Exoplanet Discovered!

In the past few years, there has been no shortages of extra-solar planets discoveries which orbit red dwarf stars. In 2016 and 2017 alone,  astronomers announced the discovery of a terrestrial (i.e. rocky) planet around Proxima Centauri (Proxima b), a seven-planet system orbiting TRAPPIST-1, and super-Earths orbiting the nearby stars of LHS 1140 (LHS 1140b), and GJ 625 (GJ 625b).

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The most distant massive galaxy observed to date provides insight into the early universe

The most distant massive galaxy observed to date provides insight into the early universe

In their pursuit of learning how our Universe came to be, scientists have probed very deep into space (and hence, very far back in time). Ultimately, their goal is to determine when the first galaxies in our Universe formed and what effect they had on cosmic evolution. Recent efforts to locate these earliest formations have probed to distances of up to 13 billion light-years from Earth – i.e. about 1 billion years after the Big Bang.

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Large Asteroid to Safely Pass Earth on Sept. 1

Large Asteroid to Safely Pass Earth on Sept. 1

Asteroid Florence, a large near-Earth asteroid, will pass safely by Earth on Sept. 1, 2017, at a distance of about 4.4 million miles, (7.0 million kilometers, or about 18 Earth-Moon distances). Florence is among the largest near-Earth asteroids that are several miles is size; measurements from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and NEOWISE mission indicate it’s about 2.7 miles (4.4 kilometers) in size.  

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Gravitational lensing provides rare glimpse into interiors of black holes

Gravitational lensing provides rare glimpse into interiors of black holes

The observable Universe is an extremely big place, measuring an estimated 91 billion light-years in diameter. As a result, astronomers are forced to rely on powerful instruments to see faraway objects. But even these are sometimes limited, and must be paired with a technique known as gravitational lensing. This involves relying on a large distribution of matter (a galaxy or star) to magnify the light coming from a distant object.

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Supermassive Black Holes Feed on Cosmic Jellyfish

Supermassive Black Holes Feed on Cosmic Jellyfish

Observations of “Jellyfish galaxies” with ESO’s Very Large Telescope have revealed a previously unknown way to fuel supermassive black holes. It seems the mechanism that produces the tentacles of gas and newborn stars that give these galaxies their nickname also makes it possible for the gas to reach the central regions of the galaxies, feeding the black hole that lurks in each of them and causing it to shine brilliantly. The results appeared today in the journal Nature.

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NASA plans to send CubeSat to Venus to unlock atmospheric mystery

NASA plans to send CubeSat to Venus to unlock atmospheric mystery

From space, Venus looks like a big, opaque ball. Thanks to its extremely dense atmosphere, which is primarily composed of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, it is impossible to view the surface using conventional methods. As a result, little was learned about its surface until the 20th century, thanks to development of radar, spectroscopic and ultraviolet survey techniques.

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Scientists Improve Brown Dwarf Weather Forecasts

Scientists Improve Brown Dwarf Weather Forecasts

Dim objects called brown dwarfs, less massive than the Sun but more massive than Jupiter, have powerful winds and clouds -- specifically, hot patchy clouds made of iron droplets and silicate dust. Scientists recently realized these giant clouds can move and thicken or thin surprisingly rapidly, in less than an Earth day, but did not understand why.

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Potentially Habitable, Tidally-Locked Exoplanets May Be Very Common, Say New Study

Potentially Habitable, Tidally-Locked Exoplanets May Be Very Common, Say New Study

Studies of low-mass, ultra-cool and ultra-dim red dwarf stars have turned up a wealth of extra-solar planets lately. These include the discoveries of a rocky planet orbiting the closest star to the Solar System (Proxima b) and a seven-planet system just 40 light years away (TRAPPIST-1). In the past few years, astronomers have also detected candidates orbiting the stars Gliese 581, Innes Star, Kepler 42, Gliese 832, Gliese 667, Gliese 3293, and others.

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NASA reignites program for nuclear thermal rockets

NASA reignites program for nuclear thermal rockets

In its pursuit of missions that will take us back to the Moon, to Mars, and beyond, NASA has been exploring a number of next-generation propulsion concepts. Whereas existing concepts have their advantages – chemical rockets have high energy density and ion engines are very fuel-efficient – our hopes for the future hinge on us finding alternatives that combine efficiency and power.

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The sun’s core rotates four times faster than its surface – here’s why it matters

The sun’s core rotates four times faster than its surface – here’s why it matters

My favourite science news is the stuff that changes the way I think about the world and our place in the universe. Many dinosaurs were covered in feathers; there’s a planet in the habitable zone around the nearest star in the night sky; the universe is expanding faster and faster but no one yet knows why.

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Cosmic census says there could be 100 million black holes in our galaxy alone

Cosmic census says there could be 100 million black holes in our galaxy alone

In January of 2016, researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) made history when they announced the first-ever detection of gravitational waves. Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and operated by Caltech and MIT, LIGO is dedicated to studying the waves predicted by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativityand caused by black hole mergers.

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