The question of whether Titan can retain its thick, organic atmosphere for the rest of its lifetime could hinge on how efficiently methane molecules were packed inside water “crates” during a period of the moon’s formation.
Dr Vasili Dimitrov, who spoke at the European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam, said, “If Titan runs out of methane and loses its ‘veil’, it will become a completely different type of astrophysical body. Methane drives the chemical reactions in Titan’s atmosphere but, because it’s so highly reactive and therefore short-lived, it must be replenished. We need to find out just how much methane is stored in the primordial reserve in Titan’s interior at a level where it can escape to the surface.
Yes, the sun has its own magical tune and if you want to hear it, click below. Even more interesting, the earth dances in rhythm.
David Thomson and Louis Lanzerotti, team members of the HISCALE experiment on board Ulysses, together with colleagues Frank Vernon, Marc Lessard and Lindsay Smith have proven that sounds generated deep inside the Sun cause the Earth to shake and vibrate in sympathy. They show that distinct, isolated tones, predicted to be generated by pressure and gravity waves in the Sun, are present in a wide variety of terrestrial systems.
Using statistical analysis they have discovered the same distinct tones emitted by the Sun in seismic data here on Earth.
The chemical fingerprint of a burned-out star indicates that Earth-like planets may not be rare in the universe and could give clues to what our solar system will look like when our sun dies and becomes a white dwarf star some five billion years from now.
Astronomers from UCLA report that a white dwarf star known as GD 362, which is surrounded by dusty rings similar to those of Saturn, has been contaminated by a large asteroid that left more than a dozen observable chemical elements in the white dwarf's atmosphere. Such an observation is unprecedented in astronomy.
Astronomers have discovered a chaotic scene unlike any witnessed before in a cosmic “train wreck” between giant galaxy clusters. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and optical telescopes revealed a dark matter core that was mostly devoid of galaxies, which may pose problems for current theories of dark matter behavior.
"These results challenge our understanding of the way clusters merge," said Dr. Andisheh Mahdavi of the University of Victoria, British Columbia.
NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer has spotted an amazingly long comet-like tail behind a star streaking through space at supersonic speeds. The star, named Mira after the Latin word for "wonderful," has been a favorite of astronomers for about 400 years. It is a fast-moving, older star called a red giant that sheds massive amounts of surface material.
The space-based Galaxy Evolution Explorer scanned the popular star during its ongoing survey of the entire sky in ultraviolet light. Astronomers then noticed what looked like a comet with a gargantuan tail. In fact, material blowing off Mira is forming a wake 13 light-years long, or about 20,000 times the average distance of Pluto from the sun.
Recent probes inside comets show it is overwhelmingly likely that life began in space, according to a new paper by Cardiff University scientists.
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and colleagues at the University’s Centre for Astrobiology have long argued the case for panspermia - the theory that life began inside comets and then spread to habitable planets across the galaxy. A recent BBC Horizon documentary traced the development of the theory.
Now the team claims that findings from space probes sent to investigate passing comets reveal how the first organisms could have formed.
Enthusiastic observers were rewarded by a nice display of the Perseid meteor shower that was visible at its best in the night between 12 and 13 August 2007. We present glimpses of the spectacle and the scientific rewards of staying up all night.
The comet Swift-Tuttle orbits the Sun with a period of about 130 years. Whenever the comet comes close to the Sun in its orbit, it ejects a stream of dust particles, which are then distributed along its orbit. When the Earth passes through their path - a regular occurrence every August - we see a meteor shower, a fabulous spectacle for viewers on Earth.
If you can get away from the city lights this weekend, conditions are perfect to view the annual Perseid Meteor shower that is expected to peak Sunday night and into Monday morning, August 12th and 13th. Because we will be experiencing a new moon this weekend, there will be no moonlight to interfere with the spectacular show as meteors streak across the sky.
The space shuttle Endeavour and its seven-member crew lifted off at 6:36 p.m. EDT Wednesday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The astronauts are on their way to the International Space Station for an assembly mission, designated STS-118.
"This is serious business we're in here," said Endeavour's Commander Scott Kelly to the shuttle launch director shortly before lift off. "I'm proud of your team for getting Endeavour ready to go fly. I'm also proud of my crew and the rest of the astronaut office for the competence and professionalism and consistently making something that is incredibly difficult look easy."
Kelly then added, "We'll see you in a couple of weeks, and thanks for loaning us your space shuttle."
The new planet was identified by astronomers looking for transiting planets – that is, planets that pass in front of their home star – using a network of small automated telescopes in Arizona, California, and the Canary Islands. TrES-4 was discovered less than half a degree (about the size of the full Moon) from the team’s third planet, TrES-3.
"TrES-4 is the largest known exoplanet," said Georgi Mandushev, Lowell Observatory astronomer and the lead author of the paper announcing the discovery. "It is about 70 percent bigger than Jupiter, the Solar System’s largest planet, but less massive, making it a planet of extremely low density. Its mean density is only about 0.2 grams per cubic centimeter, or about the density of balsa wood!