‘Ring of fire’ solar eclipse for South America and southern Africa

February 24, 2017

Astronomers say a spectacular ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse Sunday will regale skygazers in South America and southern Africa, with seafarers in the nearby Atlantic getting a front-row view too. The eclipse—during which the Sun will all but disappear as the Moon crosses its path—will be most visible in a 100km (62m) band cutting through Chile, Argentina, Angola, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A so-called annular solar eclipse occurs…


The fiery descents of cosmic dust bubble parachutes

February 24, 2017

Scientists have discovered that bubbles acting like parachutes are deployed by some cosmic dust particles on their entry into Earth’s atmosphere, preventing them from burning up. This is the conclusion of a new study carried out by a researcher from Imperial College London. Cosmic dust particles originate from events such the arrival of comets in the inner solar system and collisions between asteroids, which pulverises them into dust. Some make…


The brightest pinning pulsar has been found

February 22, 2017

ESA’s XMM-Newton has found the spinning remains of a once-massive star – a pulsar – that is a thousand times brighter than previously thought possible. The pulsar is also the most distant of its kind ever detected, with its light travelling 50 million light-years before being detected by XMM-Newton. Pulsars are spinning, magnetised neutron stars that sweep regular pulses of radiation in two symmetrical beams across the cosmos. If suitably…


NASA discover possible dark matter tie in neighbor galaxy Andromeda

February 22, 2017

A signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter has been found by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of light, produced by the universe’s most energetic phenomena. They’re common in galaxies…


Black hole could be imaged for the first time

February 21, 2017

The first image of a black hole could be created by a team of researchers from around the world. The project is the result of collaboration between teams manning radio receivers around the world and a team at MIT that will assemble the data from the other teams and hopefully create an image. The project has been ongoing for approximately 20 years as project members have sought to piece together…


NASA plans for an Earth-independent future in space

February 17, 2017

NASA has selected proposals for the creation of two multi-disciplinary, university-led research institutes that will focus on the development of technologies critical to extending human presence deeper into our solar system. The new Space Technology Research Institutes (STRIs) created under these proposals will bring together researchers from various disciplines and organizations to collaborate on the advancement of cutting-edge technologies in bio-manufacturing and space infrastructure, with the goal of creating and…


Start your search for a whole new world with NASA

February 16, 2017

NASA is inviting the public to help search for possible undiscovered worlds in the outer reaches of our solar system and in neighboring interstellar space. A new website, called Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, lets everyone participate in the search by viewing brief movies made from images captured by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. The movies highlight objects that have gradually moved across the sky. “There are just over…


Scientists observe first star with a heart-beat

February 15, 2017

A star has been found pulsing in response to its orbiting planet for the first time. MIT astronomers observed the star, which goes by the name, HAT-P-2. Being about 400 light years from Earth, the star is circled by a gas giant measuring eight times the mass of Jupiter – one of the most massive exoplanets known today. The planet, named HAT-P-2b, tracks its star in a highly eccentric orbit,…


Cluster spits out stars like never before

February 14, 2017

Astronomers observe black hole producing cold, star-making fuel from hot plasma jets and bubbles. Consisting of 1,000 galaxies, and being located 5.7 billion light years away from Earth, the Phoenix cluster holds a massive galaxy at its center, which appears to be spitting out stars at a rate of about 1,000 per year. Most other galaxies in the universe are far less productive, squeaking out just a few stars each…


Database of over 1,000 stars can help find new exoplanets

February 13, 2017

The largest collection of observations made with a technique called radial velocity, which is used for hunting exoplanets, has been released by a team of MIT researchers and led by the Carnegie Institution for Science. The search for planets beyond our solar system is gaining some new recruits. The huge dataset, taken over two decades by the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, is now available to the public, along with…