Space

Undefined matter under the envelope of "dark matter" makes up over 80% of the universe - but it has never been directly detected.

But the search is on to narrow it down and a new paper has computationally set limits to the properties of one of the particles which might be identified as dark matter: axions. Due to the high temperature inside stars, photons can turn into axions that escape to the exterior, carrying energy with them.

The simulation indicates that the emission of axions can significantly diminish the time for the central combustion of helium, the so called HB (Horizontal Branch) phase: the energy taken by axions is compensated with the energy provided by nuclear combustion, which leads to a much faster consumption of helium. 
A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form can metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth.

This hypothetical cell membrane, modeled by a team of researchers, is composed of small organic nitrogen compounds and capable of functioning in liquid methane temperatures of 292 degrees below zero - necessary for a harsh, cold world - specifically Titan, the giant moon of Saturn, a planetary body awash with seas not of water, but of liquid methane, Titan could harbor methane-based, oxygen-free cells.

3753 Cruithne's wacky orbit around the Sun. Image: YouTube, CC BY-SA

We all know and love the moon. We’re so assured that we only have one that we don’t even give it a specific name.

It is the brightest object in the night sky, and amateur astronomers take great delight in mapping its craters and seas.

To-date, it is the only other heavenly body with human footprints.

Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, and NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will arrive at this dwarf planet on March 6, 2015. Pluto is the largest object in the Kuiper belt, and NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will arrive at this dwarf planet on July 15, 2015.
What is hiding in the large disk of gas and dust encircling the 20 million-year-old star Beta Pictoris?  In 1984 Beta Pictoris was the very first star discovered to be surrounded by a bright disk of dust and debris. Since then, Beta Pictoris has been an object of intense scrutiny with Hubble and ground-based telescopes.
Plumes that reached over 100 miles above the surface of Mars, reported by citizen scientist astronomers in March and April 2012, continue to puzzle scientists. In the past, similar events had been seen, but only up to around 50 miles.  

The features developed in less than 10 hours, covering an area of up to 1000 x 500 kilometers, and remained visible for around 10 days, changing their structure from day to day. None of the spacecraft orbiting Mars saw the features because of their viewing geometries and illumination conditions at the time but citizen scientists and their telescopes did. 

Jupiter’s icy moon Europa puzzles astrobiologists and sparks the imagination of extraterrestrial life seekers.

It is believed that the moon has a subsurface ocean of liquid water, where life could possibly be similar to microbial life forms on Earth.

The likely presence of liquid water has ignited persisting calls to send a probe there. Currently NASA and ESA plan their own missions to the potentially habitable moon. Europa Clipper mission has just got approved for $30 million in the 2016 NASA budget and ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) is scheduled for launch in 2022.

Most people don't realize it, but the majority of stars in our galaxy arrive in pairs. These fraternal twins tend to be somewhat equal partners when it comes to mass, but in a quest to find mismatched star pairs called extreme mass-ratio binaries, astronomers have discovered a new class of binary stars: One star is fully formed while the other is still in its infancy.

The Planck collaboration has released data from four years of observation by the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Planck spacecraft. The aim of the Planck mission is to study the Cosmic Microwave Background, the light left over from the Big Bang.

The measurements, taken in nine frequency bands, were used to map not only the temperature of the radiation but also its polarization - a property of light like color or direction of propagation - which provides additional information about the very early Universe, around 380,000 years old, and our Galaxy's magnetic field.