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More than ten years ago, astronomers made a discovery that has puzzled them ever since – supermassive black holes appeared to have popped up soon after the start of the Universe. It is thought to take billions of years for supermassive black holes to form, but at least 20 of them were spotted at the dawn of the Universe, just 800 million years after the Big Bang. A team of researchers from Dublin City University, Columbia University, Georgia Tech, and the University of Helsinki, have now used computer simulations to attempt to solve the mystery. The results, published today, say a black hole can grow quickly if the galaxy it is in stops forming stars.


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Few things have so forcefully driven home the wonder, and fragility, of life as that iconic image of Earth set against the vast expanse of space. And so of course it appears among the 225 photos in Apollo VII – XVII, the stunning photo book Dutch designer Simon Phillipson wrote with designers Floris Heyne, Joel Meter and Delano Steenmeijer.


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These raw, unprocessed images of Saturn's tiny moon, Pan, were taken on March 7, 2017, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The flyby had a close-approach distance of 24,572 kilometers (15,268 miles). These images are the closest images ever taken of Pan and will help to characterize its shape and geology.


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Astronomers have peered back more than 13 billion light years to find a huge mass of glowing stars – the most distant galaxy ever found to contain cosmic dust. The discovery gives us a completely new look at when the very first stars were 'born' and could reveal more about how the Universe expanded.


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Speaking at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop conference in Washington, director of Nasa’s Planetary Science Division James Green said scientists from the space agency have proposed a plan to shield Mars from the Sun’s rays through an artificial magnetic field around the planet. Without a protective magnetic field, anyone living on the Red Planet would have to protect themselves from the harmful radiation from the Sun that we, on Earth, are shielded from. Green described the idea as involving a “magnetic shield” launched in a stable orbit between Mars and the Sun. It would be made of a large electric circuit powerful enough to generate an artificial magnetic field.


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ESA - European Space Agency share a great video of the annular solar eclipse took place over South America and Africa.


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A link between the amount of material that can be seen spewing out of a black hole, and the brightness of the black hole itself has been identified for the first time. Michael Parker from Cambridge University was studying distant galaxies to learn about a poorly understood phenomenon of black holes when he stumbled across this unique feature around the active galactic nuclei AGN IRAS 13224−3809.


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Anybody who longs to see an alien world up close got an exciting gift last year. In August, researchers reported the discovery of a potentially habitable, Earth-sized planet orbiting the Sun’s closest stellar neighbour — Proxima Centauri, a mere 1.3 parsecs, or 4.22 light years, away.


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At the heart of our galaxy, a vast black hole is devouring matter from the dust clouds that surround it. Little by little, expanses of interstellar material are being swallowed up by this voracious galactic carnivore that, in the process, has reached a mass that is 4m times that of our sun.


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NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.


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SpaceX has launched the first private rocket from the same historic site that saw some of NASA's greatest space missions, then landed a booster nearby in a resounding success. The California-based company's Falcon 9 rocket launched a robotic Dragon cargo capsule toward the International Space Station today (Feb. 19) at 9:39 a.m. EST (1439 GMT) from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center — the same pad that once hosted Apollo moon missions and space shuttle launches.


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Churchill ponders the conditions that make for a habitable world, and on considering the vast number of stars perhaps circled by alien planets, comes to the conclusion that the answer to the essay’s title question, Are We Alone in the Universe?, was surely a resounding “no”.


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A new dataset released by the Carnegie Institution for Science and MIT includes around 61,000 measurements of 1,600 nearby stars. The information, which was collected by Hawaii’s W.M. Keck Observatory over the course of two decades, is being released in an effort to crowdsource the search for additional planets.


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A beautiful, shining comet flying through the sky is a rare thing. But this week it's not even going to be the rarest. Friday night wll in fact see that comet – a green, shining light followed by a purple trail, known as 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková – joined by a bright, shining full "snow moon" and a lunar eclipse, all at the same time.


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Astronomers have, for the first time, witnessed a comet-like object being ripped apart and scattered across the atmosphere of a white dwarf. It has been dubbed Halley's Comet's 'big brother' because the destroyed object had a similar chemical composition but was significantly more massive than its famous counterpart.


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On 28 January, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started an inaugural in-space evaluation of their junk-removing cable technology. A 700-metre-long metal cable was fitted to an unmanned spacecraft called Kounotori 6, which was on its way back to Earth after delivering supplies to the International Space Station. The cable was meant to unfurl from the spacecraft, at which point an electric current would pass along its length. The idea was that the current would interact with the Earth’s magnetic field, creating a drag that pulled the spacecraft out of orbit. The spacecraft would then tumble into our atmosphere and become incinerated.


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Saturn's rings appear as bright waves against a black sky in detailed new pictures from the Cassini spacecraft, which made its closest pass by the icy debris in years. The rings of Saturn are visible even in a small telescope from Earth, and they are embedded with icy particles ranging from dust- to house-size chunks.


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Despite how extreme the idea sounds, theories about the Universe being an illusion or a hologram aren't new. Now, researchers claim to have found evidence towards proving this hypothesis. A team of theoretical physicists at the University of Southampton believes it has found signs our Universe is an illusion by studying the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – radiation left over from the Big Bang.


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Between 1969 and 1972, 12 astronauts left footprints on the moon. But according to new research, our planet has been sending another sign of life to the lunar surface for billions of years: oxygen. And even though an estimated 4 trillion trillion trillion atoms of oxygen have become embedded in the lunar soil in the last 2.4 billion years or so, that won’t make settling the moon any easier.


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Tim Peake, the first British astronaut to stay on the International Space Station (ISS), is heading back to space. In a surprise announcement during an event at the Science Museum, Peake revealed he would return to the ISS with the European Space Agency. The British astronaut only returned from orbit in June 2016.


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The commercial space industry pushes a particular brand of optimism. Its urge to inspire manifests as soaring soundtracks to three-minute mission-promo videos, press releases with words like “humanity,” and slick graphics of spacecraft that don’t exist yet but could any day now. In the particular case of asteroid mining, business leaders are selling a future in which materials plucked from space rocks make up for Earth’s shortfalls and support a thriving civilization.


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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft is currently orbiting Jupiter, taking some spectacular images as it studies the gas giant’s atmosphere. The spacecraft is making its next close pass to the planet on February 2nd, and the agency is asking the public to help it figure out where to point one of its cameras next. Juno will approach Jupiter’s North Pole and will swing south, ending the flyby below the South Pole and will take pictures using JunoCam, a visible-light camera. NASA noted that the spacecraft is limited “by the amount of onboard data storage” is has onboard, so it has to be picky with what it takes pictures of. The mission planners have opened up a voting system for the public to help select what pictures they will take, and will open up voting during upcoming flybys as well.


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On Saturday, SpaceX triumphantly returned to flight after an accident last September. The company launched 10 Iridium satellites into an orbit 625km above the Earth's surface, and, as a bonus, SpaceX also demonstrated its increasing mastery of rocket landings by bringing the first stage booster back to a drone ship off the California coast. SpaceX has now successfully landed seven rockets back on Earth.


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Astronomers studying a binary star system about 1,800 light years from the Sun say they are increasingly confident that the two stars will merge into a luminous red nova in about five years. At its brightest, the spectacular explosion produced by this nova could reach an apparent magnitude of about 2.0, akin to a bright star in the night sky, making it visible even from most urban areas.


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On December 30, the White House quietly released its Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy, a 25-page document outlining the United States’ plans in the event that a giant asteroid is found to be on a collision course with Earth. Among the priorities outlined by the strategy are improving Near-Earth Object (NEO) detection, developing methods for deflecting asteroids, and developing interagency emergency procedures in the event of an NEO impact.




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27. January - 05:43

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Astronomietag 2010


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Komet Hyakutake 1996


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