Articles about space

jupiter

By Jove! Astroboffins spot 12 new spanking moons around Jupiter

Jupiter already had the most moons in the Solar System, but now scientists have discovered twelve new ones bringing the total up to 79. They were first spotted last year by a team of astronomers originally on the hunt for the elusive Planet Nine, a hypothetical body speculated to exist beyond Neptune. Unfortunately, they …
Katyanna Quach, 17 Jul 2018
quasar_radio

Astroboffins spy the brightest quasar that lit the universe's dark ages

Scientists have spotted the brightest ancient quasar formed when the universe was less than billion years old, according to research published in The Astrophysical Journal. The newly discovered quasar, known by its not very catchy name PSO J352.4034-15.3373 or P352-15, also shoots out huge jets of plasma that appear extremely …
oumuamua

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a giant alien space cigar? Whatever it is, boffins are baffled

Pic 'Oumuamua, the odd elongated cigar-shaped interstellar object zipping through the Solar System, continues to flummox scientists. What is that thing? At first, there were a group of fantasists who believed it was an alien starship. Those claims were quickly debunked by researchers who classified it as an interstellar asteroid …
Katyanna Quach, 28 Jun 2018
GOES-16 Earth with Moon

No lie-in this morning? Thank the Moon's gravitational pull

Are you tired and grumpy after such a long day? Well, now you know what to blame: the Moon. Scientists from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Columbia University, in the US, found that days on Earth grew longer as the Moon inched further away. Some 1.4 billion years ago, a day lasted just over 18 hours, the eggheads …
Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn

NASA makes the James Webb Telescope a looker with a heart of gold

While the spaceship name Heart of Gold was taken by the late, great Douglas Adams, NASA has come up with something similar for its forthcoming space telescope. To capture incoming radiation, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will need to fend off outgoing radiation. The telescope, scheduled to launch in 2020 following several …
Autophage Engine

You've heard that pop will eat itself. Boffins have unveiled a rocket that does the same

Scottish boffins, along with colleagues in Ukraine, have developed a "self-eating" rocket engine that could affordably fling a cubesat into orbit. The solid-fuel rocket does away with heavy tanks, with the propellant itself forming much of the launcher's structure. As the engine burns its way through that structure, the rocket …
Richard Speed, 25 May 2018

EmDrive? More like BS drive: Physics-defying space engine flunks out

The "impossible" EmDrive may be just that, though don't count it out just yet. A group of German physicists at TU Dresden has tested two proposed means of propellantless propulsion – the EmDrive and Mach Effect Thrusters – and found the act of testing is what makes these arguably physics-flouting technologies appear to work. …
Thomas Claburn, 23 May 2018

Undocumented alien caught stealing orbits in our Solar System

Scientists have discovered the first “interstellar immigrant” living among our Solar System's matter. Unlike Oumuamua, the asteroid that made headlines for appearing to be a gigantic spliff or a potential alien spacecraft, asteroid (514107) 2015 BZ509, affectionately known as Bee-Zed, has been circling the Sun for some 4.5 …
Katyanna Quach, 22 May 2018
NGC_6744_LEGUS

Get an eyeful of the stunning galaxies near us in ultraviolet light

Astronomers have published the largest ultra-violet survey of the local universe, showcasing 50 active galaxies in high resolution using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The project nicknamed LEGUS (Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey) captures a whopping 39 million hot blue stars and about 8,000 star clusters within a 60 million …
Katyanna Quach, 18 May 2018
galaxy_impression

Astroboffins find most distant source of oxygen in the universe

Astrophysicists have detected the most distant signal of oxygen yet, in a galaxy more than 13 billion light years away, when the universe was less than 4 per cent of its current age. A paper published in Nature shows that the galaxy, MACS1149-JD1, was surprisingly mature enough to be forming abundant amounts oxygen at such a …
Katyanna Quach, 17 May 2018
Skylab (pic: NASA)

America's forgotten space station and a mission tinged with urine, we salute you

Two NASA anniversaries rolled around this week, but you would be forgiven for missing them. The first was the 45th anniversary of the launch of the United States' only solo Space Station, Skylab, designed to host astronauts for months at a time. The second big day, yesterday, marked 55 years since the space agency launched the …
Richard Speed, 16 May 2018

Astroboffins spy the most greedy black hole yet gobbling a Sun a day

Astronomers have spotted the greediest supermassive black hole going through the fastest growth spurt some 12 billion years ago. The humongous hole, codenamed QSO SMSS J215728.21-360215.1, is the staggering size of about 20 billion suns, and grows at a rate of 200 million suns over a million years. It has a voracious appetite …
Katyanna Quach, 15 May 2018
Milky Way photo via Shutterstock

Get over yourselves: Life in the multiverse could be commonplace

A universe containing life like ours is probably more common in the multiverse than previously thought, according to new theoretical studies. The idea of multiple universes existing in parallel has gained traction in the last few decades and boffins are throwing large chunks of computing power at the problem, testing out …
Katyanna Quach, 14 May 2018
Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. If you haven't seen it, it's about a man forced to endure reliving the same day over and over. Pic: Columbia Pictures

It's Galileo Groundhog Day! You can keep asking the same question, but it won't change the answer

As the imagined strains of Sonny and Cher’s hit "I Got You, Babe"* died down, the UK Parliament’s Exiting the European Union Committee spent a chunk of yesterday morning asking the UK space industry the same old questions. Youtube Video Patrick Norris of UK Space, Colin Paynter of Airbus and Dr Belddyn Bowen of the University …
Richard Speed, 10 May 2018
exoplanet_WASP-96b

Astroboffins spot the first perfect exoplanet free of clouds

Astronomers have discovered the first exoplanet completely devoid of clouds, according to a paper published on Monday in Nature. WASP-96b described as a “hot Saturn” for its toasty temperature of 1,300 Kelvin (1,027 degrees Celcius or 1,880 degrees Fahrenheit) and a similar mass to Saturn, is located about 980 light years away …
abell_39_planetary_nebula

The Sun will blow up into a huge, glowing bubble of gas during its death

The Sun will shed a large chunk of its mass to turn into a planetary nebula, a gigantic globe of luminous gas, as it nears the end of its life cycle. Low mass stars like the Sun will become red giants and then white dwarves when they die. Now, a paper published in Nature Astronomy predicts that in between those stages, the Sun …
NASA depiction of Mars InSight entering the Martian atmosphere. Image: NASA

Put November 26 in your diary: That’s when Mars InSight lands. Hopefully

VID NASA’s successfully launched Mars InSight, the probe it hopes will help us to understand the interior of the Red Planet and therefore a little more about how rocky planets form. Mars InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) was supposed to be on Mars already, but missed its 2016 …
Moon

Lakes on the moon? Boffins think they've found the evidence

A team of physicists have uncovered evidence that the Moon may have had liquid water on its surface at one point. The team of Japanese and German researchers probed 13 different lunar meteorites using micro-Raman spectrometry, electron microscopy, and synchrotron angle-dispersive x-ray diffraction to work out the different …

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