A peculiar class of meteorites has offered scientists new clues about when the planet Jupiter took shape and wandered through the solar system. Scientists have theorized for years now that Jupiter probably was not always in its current orbit, which is about five astronomical units from the sun (Earth's distance from the sun is one astronomical unit). One line of evidence suggesting a Jovian migration deals with the size of Mars. Mars is much smaller than planetary accretion models predict. One explanation for that is that Jupiter once orbited much closer to the sun than it does now. During that time, it would have swept up much of the material needed to create supersized Mars.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
What will happen to Earth when, in a few billion years’ time, the Sun is a hundred times bigger than it is today? Using the most powerful radio telescope in the world, an international team of astronomers has set out to look for answers in the star L2 Puppis. Five billion years ago, this star was very similar to the Sun as it is today.
A professional astrophysicist and an amateur astronomer have teamed up to reveal surprising details about an unusual millisecond pulsar (MSP) binary system comprising one of the fastest-spinning pulsars in our Galaxy and its unique companion star. Their observations, to be published in the Astrophysical Journal in December, are the first to identify “star spots” on an MSP’s companion star. Plus, the observations show that the companion has a strong magnetic field, and provide clues into why pulsars in some MSP binaries switch on and off.
Magnetic Reconnection Research Sheds Light on Explosive Phenomena in Astrophysics and Fusion Experiments
Scientists are closer than ever to unraveling a process called magnetic reconnection that triggers explosive phenomena throughout the universe. Solar flares, northern lights and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt cell phone service and black out power grids are all set off by magnetic field lines that converge, break apart and violently reconnect in ways that are not fully understood.
Friday, December 9, 2016
Japan’s sixth H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), also known as “Kounotori” (“White Stork” in Japanese) has successfully launched atop an H-IIB booster carrying essential cargo for the International Space Station (ISS). The rocket lifted off on Friday, Dec. 9, at 10:26 p.m. Japan Standard Time (13:26 GMT / 8:26 a.m. EST) from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center.
He was the first American to ride fire to orbit – and the last of his Project Mercury brothers to pass beyond the veil. John Herschel Glenn, a NASA astronaut and former senator from Ohio, died on December 8, 2016. He was 95. He leaves behind a legacy of space exploration that extends 36 years.
A recently discovered galaxy is undergoing an extraordinary boom of stellar construction, revealed by a group of astronomers led by University of Florida graduate student Jingzhe Ma using NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory. The galaxy known as SPT 0346‐52 is 12.7 billion light years from Earth, seen at a critical stage in the evolution of galaxies about a billion years after the Big Bang.