Current Astrophysics News and Events

Current Astrophysics News and Events, Astrophysics News Articles.
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Growing interest in Moon resources could cause tension, scientists find
An international team of scientists led by the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, has identified a problem with the growing interest in extractable resources on the moon: there aren't enough of them to go around. With no international policies or agreements to decide ''who gets what from where,'' scientists believe tensions, overcrowding, and quick exhaustion of resources to be one possible future for moon mining projects. The paper published today in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. (2020-11-23)

Orbits of ancient stars prompt rethink on Milky Way evolution
Theories on how the Milky Way formed are set to be rewritten following discoveries about the behaviour of some of its oldest stars. An investigation into the orbits of the Galaxy's metal-poor stars - assumed to be among the most ancient in existence - has found that some of them travel in previously unpredicted patterns. (2020-11-16)

Building blocks of life can form long before stars
An international team of scientists have shown that glycine, the simplest amino acid and an important building block of life, can form under the harsh conditions that govern chemistry in space. (2020-11-16)

History of temperature changes in the Universe revealed
How hot is the Universe today? How hot was it before? A new study by an international team of researchers, including members of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU), suggests that the mean temperature of gas in large structures of the Universe has increased about 3 times in the last 8 billion years, to reach about two million Kelvin today. (2020-11-13)

Radioactive elements may be crucial to the habitability of rocky planets
The amount of long-lived radioactive elements incorporated into a rocky planet as it forms may be a crucial factor in determining its future habitability. That's because internal heating from the radioactive decay of the heavy elements thorium and uranium drives plate tectonics and may be necessary for the planet to generate a magnetic field. Earth's magnetic field protects the planet from solar winds and cosmic rays. (2020-11-10)

Has the hidden matter of the universe been discovered?
Astrophysicists consider that around 40% of the ordinary matter that makes up stars, planets and galaxies remains undetected, concealed in the form of a hot gas in the complexe cosmic web. Today, scientists at the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale (CNRS/Université Paris-Saclay) may have detected, for the first time, this hidden matter through an innovative statistical analysis of 20-year-old data. Their findings are published on November 6, 2020 in Astronomy & Astrophysics. (2020-11-06)

Star clusters are only the tip of the iceberg
Star clusters have been part of the Imaginarium of human civilization for millennia. The brightest star clusters to Earth, like the Pleiades, are readily visible to the naked eye. A team around astronomer Stefan Meingast at the University of Vienna has now revealed the existence of massive stellar halos, termed coronae, surrounding local star clusters. The paper was published in ''Astronomy & Astrophysics''. (2020-10-15)

Anemic star cluster breaks metal-poor record
In a surprising discovery, astronomers using two Maunakea Observatories - W. M. Keck Observatory and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) - have found a star cluster in the Andromeda Galaxy that contains a record-breaking low amount of metals, calling into question the so-called 'metallicity-floor' for massive globular star clusters. (2020-10-15)

The mountains of Pluto are snowcapped, but not for the same reasons as on Earth
In 2015, the New Horizons space probe discovered spectacular snowcapped mountains on Pluto, which are strikingly similar to mountains on Earth. Such a landscape had never before been observed elsewhere in the Solar System. An international team led by CNRS scientists determined that the methane snow could only appear at the peaks of Pluto's mountains high enough to reach this enriched zone that the air contains enough methane for it to condense. (2020-10-13)

NASA's TESS creates a cosmic vista of the northern sky
Familiar stars shine, nebulae glow, and nearby galaxies tantalize in a new panorama of the northern sky assembled from 208 pictures captured by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The planet hunter imaged about 75% of the sky in a two-year-long survey and is still going strong. (2020-10-06)

Einstein's description of gravity just got much harder to beat
Astrophysicists put general relativity to a new test with black hole images. (2020-10-01)

Astrophysicist probes cosmic "dark matter detector"
A CU Boulder astrophysicist is searching the light coming from a distant, and extremely powerful celestial object, for what may be the most elusive substance in the universe: dark matter. (2020-09-29)

First study with CHEOPS data describes one of the most extreme planets in the universe
CHEOPS keeps its promise: Observations with the space telescope reveal details of the exoplanet WASP-189b - one of the most extreme planets known. CHEOPS is a joint mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Switzerland, under the aegis of the University of Bern in collaboration with the University of Geneva. (2020-09-28)

Wobbling shadow of the M87 black hole
New analysis from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration reveals the behavior of the supermassive black hole in the center of the M87 galaxy across multiple years, indicating the crescent-like shadow feature appears to be wobbling. (2020-09-23)

SwRI scientist searches for stellar phosphorus to find potentially habitable exoplanets
SAN ANTONIO -- Sept. 16, 2020 -- A Southwest Research Institute scientist has identified stellar phosphorus as a probable marker in narrowing the search for life in the cosmos. She has developed techniques to identify stars likely to host exoplanets, based on the composition of stars known to have planets, and proposes that upcoming studies target stellar phosphorus to find systems with the greatest probability for hosting life as we know it. (2020-09-16)

Hubble observations suggest a missing ingredient in dark matter theories
Astronomers have discovered that there may be a missing ingredient in our cosmic recipe of how dark matter behaves. In measuring how dark matter's gravity distorts space, researchers found that small-scale concentrations of dark matter in clusters produce distortions 10 times stronger than expected. This evidence is based on observations of several massive galaxy clusters by Hubble and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. (2020-09-10)

Scientists discover a warped disc "torn apart by stars" in a triple Tatooine-like system
Pioneering new research has revealed the first direct evidence that groups of stars can tear apart their planet-forming disc, leaving it warped and with tilted rings. (2020-09-03)

Zooming in on dark matter
Cosmologists have zoomed in on the smallest clumps of dark matter in a virtual universe - which could help us to find the real thing in space. (2020-09-02)

Astrophysics: A direct view of star/disk interactions
'Nature' publication: The GRAVITY instrument developed for the Very Large Telescope in Chile probes deep into the TW Hydrae system to shape our view of accretion processes in young stars similar to the young Sun (2020-08-31)

Continuous infrared winds discovered during the eruption of a stellar mass black hole
A team of researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has detected for the first time the constant infrared emission from winds produced during the eruption of a black hole in an X-ray binary. (2020-08-27)

Hubble helps uncover the mystery of the dimming of Betelgeuse
New observations by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope suggest that the unexpected dimming of the supergiant star Betelgeuse was most likely caused by an immense amount of hot material ejected into space, forming a dust cloud that blocked starlight coming from Betelgeuse's surface. (2020-08-13)

ALMA sees most distant Milky Way look-alike
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have revealed an extremely distant and therefore very young galaxy that looks surprisingly like our Milky Way. The galaxy is so far away its light has taken more than 12 billion years to reach us: we see it as it was when the Universe was just 1.4 billion years old. It is also surprisingly unchaotic, contradicting theories that all galaxies in the early Universe were turbulent and unstable. (2020-08-12)

NASA's planet Hunter completes its primary mission
NASA's TESS has completed its primary mission, imaging about 75% of the starry sky during a two-year-long survey. TESS has found 66 new planets, nearly 2,100 candidates, and much more. (2020-08-11)

Differences between discs of active and non-active galaxies detected for the first time
A study led by researchers at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), making comparison between the discs of several pairs of spiral galaxies, active and non-active, concludes that in the discs of the former the rotational motion of the stars is of greater importance. (2020-07-31)

Cosmic tango between the very small and the very large
A new study using the theory of quantum loop cosmology accounts for two major mysteries about the large-scale structure of our universe. (2020-07-29)

Could mini-Neptunes be irradiated ocean planets?
Many exoplanets known today are ''super-Earths'', with a radius 1.3 times that of Earth, and ''mini-Neptunes'', with 2.4 Earth radii. Mini-Neptunes, which are less dense, were long thought to be gas planets, made up of hydrogen and helium. Now, scientists at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université/Cnes) have examined a new possibility, namely that the low density of mini-Neptunes could be explained simply by the presence of a thick layer of water. (2020-07-20)

Using techniques from astrophysics, researchers can forecast drought up to ten weeks ahead
Researchers at the University of Sussex have developed a system which can accurately predict a period of drought in East Africa up to ten weeks ahead. (2020-07-20)

New collection of stars, not born in our galaxy, discovered in Milky Way
Astrophysicists announced the discovery of Nyx, a new collection of 250 stars that they believe are the remnant of a dwarf galaxy that merged with the Milky Way eons ago. The research combined massive cosmological simulations and observational data from the Gaia space observatory. It required large scale supercomputers and deep learning algorithms. The team plans to explore Nyx further using ground-based telescopes. (2020-07-07)

White dwarfs reveal new insights into the origin of carbon in the universe
A new analysis of white dwarf stars supports their role as a key source of carbon in galaxies. Every carbon atom in the universe was created by stars, but astrophysicists still debate which types of stars are the primary source of the carbon in our galaxy. Some studies favor low-mass stars that blew off their envelopes in stellar winds and became white dwarfs, while others favor massive stars that eventually exploded as supernovae. (2020-07-06)

NASA's TESS delivers new insights into an ultrahot world
KELT-9 b is one of the hottest planets known. New measurements from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) have enabled astronomers to greatly improve their understanding of this bizarre world. (2020-06-30)

Excess neutrinos and missing gamma rays?
A new model points to the coronoe of supermassive black holes at the cores of active galaxies to help explain the excess neutrinos observed by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. (2020-06-30)

Super-Earths discovered orbiting nearby red dwarf
The nearest exoplanets to us provide the best opportunities for study, including searching for evidence of life outside the Solar System. In research led by the University of Göttingen, the RedDots team of astronomers detected a system of super-Earth planets orbiting the nearby star Gliese 887, the brightest red dwarf star in the sky. The newly discovered super-Earths lie close to the red dwarf's habitable zone, where water can exist in liquid form. Results appeared in Science. (2020-06-25)

Astronomers detect regular rhythm of radio waves, with origins unknown
Astronomers detect a regular pattern of radio bursts from 500 million light years away. (2020-06-17)

Why pulsars shine bright: A half-century-old mystery solved
Pulsars act like stellar lighthouses, shooting beams of radio waves from their magnetic poles. The cause of those beams has remained a mystery for more than 50 years. Now, a team of researchers suspects that they've finally identified the mechanism responsible: Newborn particles interact with the stars' powerful electromagnetic fields, generating intense radio emissions, the team's simulations suggest. The discovery could aid projects that rely on pulsar emissions, such as studies of gravitational waves. (2020-06-15)

Viewing the topology of thermonuclear reaction in nuclear landscape from the network perspective
Nucleosynthesis is a complicated process in astrophysics. By constructing a directed, un-weighted, multilayer nuclear reaction network, which consisted of all nuclides and reactions within the JINA REACLIB database, researchers in Shanghai have investigated important topological features as well as identified the most frequent reaction patterns of the interconnections that occurred amongst the different nuclides in nuclear landscape, i.e. motif structures of nuclear reactions. (2020-06-08)

Astronomers predict bombardment from asteroids and comets in another planetary system
The planetary system around star HR8799 is remarkably similar to our Solar System. A research team led by astronomers from the University of Groningen and SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research has used this similarity to model the delivery of materials by asteroids, comets and other minor bodies within the system. Their simulation shows that the four gas planets receive material delivered by minor bodies, just like in our Solar System. (2020-05-29)

Mergers between galaxies trigger activity in their core
Active galactic nuclei (AGNs) play a major role in galaxy evolution. Astronomers from the University of Groningen and SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research have now used a record-sized sample of galaxies to confirm that galaxy mergers have a positive effect on igniting AGNs. They were able to compile about ten times more images of merging galaxies than previous studies by using a machine-learning algorithm. The results were published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. (2020-05-28)

Astronomers see 'cosmic ring of fire,' 11 billion years ago
Astronomers have captured an image of a super-rare type of galaxy -- described as a 'cosmic ring of fire' -- as it existed 11 billion years ago. (2020-05-25)

Powerful new AI technique detects and classifies galaxies in astronomy image data
Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have developed a powerful new computer program called Morpheus that can analyze astronomical image data pixel by pixel to identify and classify all of the galaxies and stars in large data sets from astronomy surveys. Morpheus is a deep-learning framework that incorporates a variety of artificial intelligence technologies developed for applications such as image and speech recognition. (2020-05-12)

An eclipsing binary millisecond pulsar discovered by FAST
Using the data obtained by the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), a research team led by Professor PAN Zhichen and Prof. LI Di from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) discovered an eclipsing binary millisecond pulsar in Globular Cluster (GC) Messier 92 (M92). (2020-04-24)

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