By Anton Wallner, Australian National University
Our understanding of heavy element production in supernovae, exploding stars way beyond our solar system, may need to change following some discoveries we have made looking not to the skies, but deep under our oceans.
Supernova explosions are one of the most violent events in our galaxy and are thought to produce elements essential for life such as iron and iodine but also some of the heaviest elements existing in nature.
When a star goes supernova and explodes, these heavy elements are thrown out into space as dust and debris.
Two teams of astronomers have used computer models to look back nearly 13 billion years, when the Universe was less than 10 percent its present age, to determine how quasars - extremely luminous objects powered by supermassive black holes with the mass of a billion suns - regulate the formation of stars and the build-up of the most massive galaxies.
Using a combination of data gathered from powerful radio telescopes and supercomputer simulations, the teams found that a quasar spits out cold gas at speeds up to 2000 kilometers per second, and across distances of nearly 200,000 light years - much farther than has been observed before.
Jupiter's moons are giving us a show not seen since 2013: The orbital path of the moons is tilting edge-ion to the Earth and the sun, making it possible to watch the moons pass in front of each other, an occultation, or pass through another moon's shadow, an eclipse, and even cast tiny black shadows onto Jupiter.
Geologists have discovered hidden magnetic messages from the early solar system in meteorites measured
using the PEEM-Beamline
at the BESSY II synchrotron located in The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB).
The information captures the dying moments of the magnetic field during core solidification on a meteorite parent body, providing a sneak preview of the fate of Earth's own magnetic field as its core continues to freeze.
Scientists have analyzed extraterrestrial dust hat has settled on ocean floors to determine the amount of heavy elements created by the massive explosions. The dust is thought to be from supernovae, exploding stars way beyond our solar system, and their conclusions are at odds with current theories of supernovae, in which some of the materials essential for human life, such as iron, potassium and iodine are created and distributed throughout space.
NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has been hobbled by the loss of critical guidance systems but can still find good stuff - most recently a star with three planets only slightly larger than Earth, one in the "Goldilocks" zone, a region where surface temperatures could be moderate enough for liquid water and therefore perhaps life as we know it, to exist.
EPIC 201367065, is a cool red M-dwarf star about half the size and mass of our own sun. It is 150 light years, making it among the top 10 nearest stars known to have transiting planets. The star's proximity means it's bright enough for astronomers to study the planets' atmospheres to determine whether they are like Earth's atmosphere and possibly conducive to life.
The International Astronomical Union is holding a competition to assign common names.
Astronomy clubs and other public groups may submit names. The general public will then get to vote on proposed names.
The full process is as found on the website. http://www.nameexoworlds.org/
NASA’s Dawn mission is closing in on a mysterious, unknown world in the asteroid belt.
The dwarf planet Ceres named after the Roman goddess of agriculture awaits to unlock its secrets.
So far, we’ve only had a glimpse of this enigmatic orb using the Hubble Space Telescope, so it’s more than intriguing what we will find there after Dawn’s arrival. Marc Rayman, the Mission Director and Chief Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, can't hide his contagious excitement: “Everyone should be excited by this.
A new paper believes that planets outside our solar system - exoplanets - may be a lot more agreeable to life than assumed. The astrophysicists suggest that exoplanets are more likely to have liquid water and be more habitable than we thought.
Scientists have thought that exoplanets behave in a manner contrary to that of Earth - that is they always show their same side to their star. If so, exoplanets would rotate in sync with their star so that there is always one hemisphere facing it while the other hemisphere is in perpetual cold darkness.
The new study suggests, however, that as exoplanets rotate around their stars, they spin at such a speed as to exhibit a day-night cycle similar to Earth.
According to Roscosmos an ammonia leak in the US section of the International Space Station has necessitated the evacuation of that section of the station.
From what I have read this diagram depicts where the no-go zone is.
Image courtesy of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos.