Venus express probe reveals the planet's mysterious night side

Venus express probe reveals the planet's mysterious night side

Venus’ atmosphere is as mysterious as it is dense and scorching. For generations, scientists have sought to study it using ground-based telescopes, orbital missions, and the occasional atmospheric probe. And in 2006, the ESA’s Venus Express mission became the first probe to conduct long-term observations of the planet’s atmosphere, which revealed much about its dynamics.

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Hubble spots pitch black hot Jupiter that 'eats light'

Hubble spots pitch black hot Jupiter that 'eats light'

The study of extra-solar planets has revealed discoveries that have confounded expectations and boggled the mind! Whether it’s Super-Earths that become diamond planets, multiple rocky planets orbiting closely together, or “Hot Jupiters” with traces of gaseous metal in their atmospheres, there’s been no shortage of planets out there for which there is no comparison here in the Solar System.

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Cassini crashes: it’s time for a new mission to explore the possibility of life on Saturn’s moons

Cassini crashes: it’s time for a new mission to explore the possibility of life on Saturn’s moons

NASA’s Cassini mission has made its “death plunge” into the swirling clouds of Saturn after 20 years of exploring the planet and its moons. It’s been amazingly successful, making headlines with groundbreaking discoveries throughout its journey. But today the headlines are more like obituary notices, looking back at the mission’s spectacular achievements.

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New DNA evidence proves that women could become viking-warriors

New DNA evidence proves that women could become viking-warriors

Viking culture might have been a bit more progressive than you would initially think. There seems to have been no such thing as a glass ceiling for women as their archaeological findings prove that women could be found in the higher ranks on the battlefield. One of the most well-known graves from the viking age, a mid-10th century grave in Swedish Viking town Birka provided enough evidence for archaeologists to come to this conclusion. 

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Inferno World with Titanium Skies - ESO’s VLT makes first detection of titanium oxide in an exoplanet!

Inferno World with Titanium Skies - ESO’s VLT makes first detection of titanium oxide in an exoplanet!

Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have detected titanium oxide in an exoplanet atmosphere for the first time. This discovery around the hot-Jupiter planet WASP-19b exploited the power of the FORS2 instrument. It provides unique information about the chemical composition and the temperature and pressure structure of the atmosphere of this unusual and very hot world. The results appear today in the journal Nature.

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Three possible super-earths discovered around nearby sun-like star!

Three possible super-earths discovered around nearby sun-like star!

Since it was launched in 2009, NASA’s Kepler mission has continued to make important exoplanet discoveries. Even after the failure of two reaction wheels, the space observatory has found new life in the form of its K2 mission. All told, this space observatory has detected 5,017 candidates and confirmed the existence of 2,494 exoplanets using the Transit Method during its past eight years in service.

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Galaxies swell due to explosive action of new stars

Galaxies swell due to explosive action of new stars

In 1926, famed astronomer Edwin Hubble developed his morphological classification scheme for galaxies. This method divided galaxies into three basic groups – Elliptical, Spiral and Lenticular – based on their shapes. Since then, astronomers have devoted considerable time and effort in an attempt to determine how galaxies have evolved over the course of billions of years to become these shapes.

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Health Check: is margarine actually better for me than butter?

Health Check: is margarine actually better for me than butter?

Only 20 years ago butter was the public villain – contributing to raised cholesterol levels and public concern over an increased risk of heart disease. Now this public perception seems to have been reversed, and reality cooking shows seem to use butter in every recipe. But what has caused this shift in perceptions and is it based on scientific evidence?

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Cassini conducts a final flyby of Titan before crashing into Saturn

Cassini conducts a final flyby of Titan before crashing into Saturn

When the Cassini spacecraft arrived around Saturn on July 1st, 2004, it became the fourth space probe to visit the system. But unlike the Pioneer 11 and Voyager 1 and 2 probes, the Cassini mission was the first to establish orbit around the planet for the sake of conducting long-term research. Since that time, the spacecraft and its accompanying probe – the Huygens lander – have revealed a startling amount about this system.

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Hurricanes may be getting more severe – do we need a whole new category to describe them?

Hurricanes may be getting more severe – do we need a whole new category to describe them?

There’s been a devastating trail of destruction and flooding along the east Atlantic coast in the last few weeks following Hurricane Harvey and now Hurricane Irma. The latter, currently moving across Florida, is the strongest sustained hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic outside the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

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When the world is not enough: how to find another planet to live on

When the world is not enough: how to find another planet to live on

The seafaring explorers of the 16th century famously found many new homes for humanity in faraway, unknown corners of the world. While it may seem that such colonisation has since ground to a halt, some have argued it is only a matter of time before humans start moving to “exoplanets” in foreign star systems. But how close are we to such an expansion?

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Gravitational waves will let us see inside stars as supernovae happen

Gravitational waves will let us see inside stars as supernovae happen

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 ago, has opened up new avenues of research for cosmologists and astrophysicists. Since that time, more detections have been made, all of which were said to be the result of black holes merging.

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Explorers probe hidden continent of Zealandia

Explorers probe hidden continent of Zealandia

Zealandia made global headlines earlier this year when scientists announced that it counts as a new continent. Now it is coming under closer scientific scrutiny. We are currently halfway through an expedition to drill into this vast underwater plateau of continental crust, and we can already reveal that Zealandia’s geography changed more dramatically and more recently than anyone had thought.

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Unexpected solar flare is also the largest in twelve years

Unexpected solar flare is also the largest in twelve years

The past summer has been a pretty terrible time in terms of weather. In addition to raging fires in Canada’s western province of British Columbia, the south-eastern United States has been pounded by successive storms and hurricanes – i.e. Tropical Storm Emily and Hurricanes Franklin, Gert, Harvey and Irma. As if that wasn’t enough, solar activity has also been picking up lately, which could have a serious impact on space weather.

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Exoplanet-hunting aliens could be looking at earth right now

Exoplanet-hunting aliens could be looking at earth right now

In the past few decades, the search for extra-solar planets has turned up a wealth of discoveries. Between the many direct and indirect methods used by exoplanet-hunters, thousands of gas giants, rocky planets and other bodies have been found orbiting distant stars. Aside from learning more about the Universe we inhabit, one of the main driving forces behind these efforts has been the desire to find evidence of Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (ETI).

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The orbit of earth will be hiding earth 2.0

The orbit of earth will be hiding earth 2.0

In the hunt for extra-solar planets, astronomers and enthusiasts can be forgiven for being a bit optimistic. In the course of discovering thousands of rocky planets, gas giants, and other celestial bodies, is it too much to hope that we might someday find a genuine Earth-analog? Not just an “Earth-like” planet (which implies a rocky body of comparable size) but an actual Earth 2.0?

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Chinese astronomers spot two new hypervelocity stars

Chinese astronomers spot two new hypervelocity stars

Most stars in our galaxy behave predictably, orbiting around the center of the Milky Way at speeds of about 100 km/s (62 mi/s). But some stars achieve velocities that are significantly greater, to the point that they are even able to escape the gravitational pull of the galaxy. These are known as hypervelocity stars (HVS), a rare type of star that is believed to be the result of interactions with a supermassive black hole (SMBH).

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