Astronomy News

Courtesy of Science Daily

Welcome to Sea and Sky's Astronomy News. Here you can find links to the latest space news headlines on the topic of astronomy. Click on any yellow title below to view the full news article. The news article will open in a new browser window. Simply close the browser window when you are finished reading the article to return to the news article listing. You can use the "Click for More" link to go to a page with more news headlines.


Astronomy News -- ScienceDaily
Updated : Thu, 05 May 2016 00:41:53 EDT

Star with different internal driving force than the sun
A star like the sun has an internal driving in the form of a magnetic field that can be seen on the surface as sunspots. Now astrophysicists have observed a distant star in the constellation Andromeda with a different positioning of sunspots and this indicates a magnetic field that is driven by completely different internal dynamics.
Publ.Date : Wed, 04 May 2016 14:11:25 EDT

Second strongest shock wave found in merging galaxy clusters
Astronomers have discovered the second-strongest merger shock in clusters of galaxies ever observed.
Publ.Date : Wed, 04 May 2016 12:22:08 EDT

Planet Nine: A world that shouldn't exist
Earlier this year scientists presented evidence for Planet Nine, a Neptune-mass planet in an elliptical orbit 10 times farther from our Sun than Pluto. Since then theorists have puzzled over how this planet could end up in such a distant orbit. New research examines a number of scenarios and finds that most of them have low probabilities. Therefore, the presence of Planet Nine remains a bit of a mystery.
Publ.Date : Tue, 03 May 2016 13:15:06 EDT

Three potentially habitable worlds found around nearby ultracool dwarf star
Astronomers have discovered three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the Solar System. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a tiny and dim star.
Publ.Date : Mon, 02 May 2016 11:14:27 EDT

Unique fragment from Earth's formation returns after billions of years in cold storage
Astronomers have found a unique object that appears to be made of inner solar system material from the time of Earth's formation, billions of years ago. Observations show that C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS) is the first object to be discovered on a long-period cometary orbit that has the characteristics of a pristine inner solar system asteroid. It may help understanding how the solar system formed.
Publ.Date : Fri, 29 Apr 2016 19:28:02 EDT

Winds a quarter the speed of light spotted leaving mysterious binary systems
Astronomers have observed two black holes in nearby galaxies devouring their companion stars at an extremely high rate, and spitting out matter at a quarter the speed of light.
Publ.Date : Thu, 28 Apr 2016 10:28:51 EDT

Are we alone? Setting some limits to our planet's uniqueness
Are humans unique and alone in the vast universe? This question -- summed up in the famous Drake equation -- has for a half-century been one of the most intractable and uncertain in science. But a new article shows that the recent discoveries of exoplanets combined with a broader approach to the question makes it possible to assign a new empirically valid probability to whether any other advanced technological civilizations have ever existed.
Publ.Date : Thu, 28 Apr 2016 09:53:39 EDT

Possible extragalactic source of high-energy neutrinos
Nearly 10 billion years ago in a galaxy known as PKS B1424-418, a dramatic explosion occurred. Light from this blast began arriving at Earth in 2012. Now, an international team of astronomers have shown that a record-breaking neutrino seen around the same time likely was born in the same event.
Publ.Date : Thu, 28 Apr 2016 09:49:24 EDT

Rare transit of Mercury to take place on 9 May
On 9 May there will be a rare transit of Mercury, when the smallest planet in our Solar System will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun. The last time this happened was in 2006, and the next two occasions will be in 2019 and 2032. During the transit, which takes place in the afternoon and early evening in the UK, Mercury will appear as a dark silhouetted disk against the bright surface of the Sun.
Publ.Date : Wed, 27 Apr 2016 15:12:10 EDT

Hubble discovers moon orbiting the dwarf planet Makemake
Peering to the outskirts of our solar system, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a small, dark moon orbiting Makemake, the second brightest icy dwarf planet -- after Pluto -- in the Kuiper Belt.
Publ.Date : Tue, 26 Apr 2016 14:49:20 EDT

Nearby massive star explosion 30 million years ago equaled detonation of 100 million suns
A giant star that exploded 30 million years ago in a galaxy near Earth had a radius prior to going supernova that was 200 times larger than our sun, say astrophysicists. The massive explosion, Supernova 2013ej, was one of the closest to Earth in recent years. Comprehensive analysis of the exploding star's light curve and color spectrum found its sudden blast hurled material outward at 10,000 kilometers a second.
Publ.Date : Tue, 26 Apr 2016 14:49:10 EDT

Cassini explores a methane sea on Titan
A new study finds that a large sea on Saturn's moon Titan is composed mostly of pure liquid methane, independently confirming an earlier result. The seabed may be covered in a sludge of carbon- and nitrogen-rich material, and its shores may be surrounded by wetlands.
Publ.Date : Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:46:15 EDT

Light echoes give clues to planet nursery around star
For the first time, astronomers used echoes of light to determine the distance from a star to the inner wall of its surrounding planet-forming disk of dust and gas. Being able to exactly pinpoint the inner edge of such disks is a big step forward in understanding the evolution of planetary systems.
Publ.Date : Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:01:12 EDT

Mars' surface revealed in unprecedented detail
The surface of Mars -- including the location of Beagle-2 -- has been shown in unprecedented detail by scientists using a revolutionary image stacking and matching technique. Exciting pictures of the Beagle-2 lander, the ancient lakebeds discovered by NASA's Curiosity rover, NASA's MER-A rover tracks and Home Plate's rocks have been released by the researchers who stacked and matched images taken from orbit, to reveal objects at a resolution up to five times greater than previously achieved.
Publ.Date : Tue, 26 Apr 2016 10:13:07 EDT

Dark matter does not contain certain axion-like particles
Researchers are getting closer to corner light dark-matter particle models. Observations can rule out some axion-like particles in the quest for the content of dark matter.
Publ.Date : Fri, 22 Apr 2016 11:53:20 EDT

Cosmic beacons reveal the Milky Way's ancient core
Astronomers have discovered that the central 2000 light years within the Milky Way Galaxy hosts an ancient population of stars. These stars are more than 10 billion years old and their orbits in space preserve the early history of the formation of the Milky Way. For the first time the team kinematically disentangled this ancient component from the stellar population that currently dominates the mass of the central Galaxy.
Publ.Date : Fri, 22 Apr 2016 07:54:25 EDT

Microscopic 'clocks' time distance to source of galactic cosmic rays
Most of the galactic cosmic rays reaching Earth come from nearby clusters of massive stars, according to new observations from NASA's ACE spacecraft. The distance between the cosmic rays' point of origin and Earth is limited by the survival of a radioactive isotope of iron, Fe-60, which has a half life of 2.6 million years. These tiny clocks indicate there was a source within spitting distance of Earth within the past few million years.
Publ.Date : Thu, 21 Apr 2016 14:57:53 EDT

Bubble Nebula looks like a gigantic cosmic soap bubble
A new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image captures in stunning clarity what looks like a gigantic cosmic soap bubble. The object, known as the Bubble Nebula, is in fact a cloud of gas and dust illuminated by the brilliant star within it. The vivid new portrait of this dramatic scene wins the Bubble Nebula a place in the exclusive Hubble hall of fame.
Publ.Date : Thu, 21 Apr 2016 11:28:29 EDT

Mice flown in space show nascent liver damage, research shows
In a discovery with implications for long-term spaceflight and future missions to Mars, researchers have found that mice flown aboard the space shuttle Atlantis returned to Earth with early signs of liver disease.
Publ.Date : Wed, 20 Apr 2016 15:14:19 EDT

Merging black holes, gravitational waves provide new insight into how the universe works
On Sept. 14, waves of energy traveling for more than a billion years gently rattled space-time in the vicinity of Earth. The disturbance, produced by a pair of merging black holes, was captured by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) facilities in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana. This event marked the first-ever detection of gravitational waves and opens a new scientific window on how the universe works.
Publ.Date : Tue, 19 Apr 2016 18:27:49 EDT