Monday, June 17, 2019

The Atmosphere of a New Ultra Hot Jupiter Is Analyzed

Ultra hot Jupiter MASCARA-2B/KELT-20b -- Artist's impression.Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC).

The combination of observations made with the CARMENES spectrograph on the 3.5m telescope at Calar Alto Observatory (Almería), and the HARPS-N spectrograph on the National Galileo Telescope (TNG) at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma) has enabled a team from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and from the University of La Laguna (ULL) to reveal new details about this extrasolar planet, which has a surface temperature of around 2000 K.

Astrophysicist Announces Her Discovery that Could Rewrite Story of How Galaxies Die

This artist conception depicts an energetic quasar that has cleared the center of the galaxy of gas and dust, and the winds are now propagating it to the outskirts. Soon, there will be no gas and dust left, and only a luminous blue quasar will remain. Credit: Michelle Vigeant.

At the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in St. Louis, Missouri, Allison Kirkpatrick, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Kansas, will announce her discovery of "cold quasars" -- galaxies featuring an abundance of cold gas that still can produce new stars despite having a quasar at the center -- a breakthrough finding that overturns assumptions about the maturation of galaxies and may represent a phase of every galaxy's lifecycle that was unknown until now.

Rare ‘Superflares’ Could One Day Threaten Earth

An artist's depiction of a superflare on an alien star. (Credit: NASA, ESA and D. Player)

Astronomers probing the edges of the Milky Way have in recent years observed some of the most brilliant pyrotechnic displays in the galaxy: superflares. These events occur when stars, for reasons that scientists still don’t understand, eject huge bursts of energy that can be seen from hundreds of light years away. Until recently, researchers assumed that such explosions occurred mostly on stars that, unlike Earth’s, were young and active.

The Sun May Have a Dual Personality, Simulations Suggest

Sunspots appear on the surface of Earth's sun. (Credit: NASA/SDO)

Researchers at CU Boulder have discovered hints that humanity’s favorite star may have a dual personality, with intriguing discrepancies in its magnetic fields that could hold clues to the sun’s own “internal clock.”

Saturn’s Moon Mimas, a Snowplough in the Planet’s Rings

10 million years ago, Saturn’s moons moved inwards, opening up the Cassini Division.  In 40 million years’ time, the moons will have moved out far enough for it to close up again. © Cassini, Dante, Baillié and Noyelles

The Solar System’s second largest planet both in mass and size, Saturn is best known for its rings. These are divided by a wide band, the Cassini Division, whose formation was poorly understood until very recently. Now, researchers from the CNRS, the Paris Observatory – PSL and the University of Franche-Comté have shown that Mimas, one of Saturn’s moons, acted as a kind of remote snowplough, pushing apart the ice particles that make up the rings.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Citizen Scientists Re-tune Hubble’s Galaxy Classification

The Hubble Tuning Fork illustrated with images of nearby galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Credit Karen Masters, Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers have helped to overturn almost a century of galaxy classification, in a new study using data from the longstanding Galaxy Zoo project. The new investigation, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, uses classifications of over 6000 galaxies to reveal that “well known” correlations between different features are not found in this large and complete sample.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

A New Candidate for Dark Matter and a Way to Detect It

Two theoretical physicists at the University of California, Davis, have a new candidate for dark matter, and a possible way to detect it. They presented their work June 6 at the Planck 2019 conference in Granada, Spain, and it has been submitted for publication.

Mass Anomaly Detected Under the Moon’s Largest Crater

This false-color graphic shows the topography of the far side of the Moon. The warmer colors indicate high topography and the bluer colors indicate low topography. (Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Arizona) The South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin is shown by the shades of blue. The dashed circle shows the location of the mass anomaly under the basin.

A mysterious large mass of material has been discovered beneath the largest crater in our solar system — the Moon’s South Pole-Aitken basin — and may contain metal from an asteroid that crashed into the Moon and formed the crater, according to a Baylor University study.