Space

What exactly is cometary globule CG4? 

That's still a bit of a mystery. Despite the name, it has nothing to do with comets. In 1976, several elongated comet-like objects were discovered in pictures taken with the UK Schmidt Telescope in Australia. Because of their appearance, and despite any connection with comets, they became known as cometary globules. They were all located in a huge patch of glowing gas called the Gum Nebula. They had dense, dark, dusty heads and long, faint tails, which were generally pointing away from the Vela supernova remnant located at the center of the Gum Nebula. Although these objects are relatively close by, it took astronomers a long time to find them as they glow very dimly and are therefore hard to detect.
The first radar images of asteroid 2004 BL86, which made its closest approach today at 8:19 a.m. PST - a distance of only 745,000 miles (3.1 times the distance from Earth to the moon) - reveal that it even has its own small moon.

The closeness did not take anyone by surprise. Asteroid 2004 BL86 was discovered on Jan. 30, 2004, by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) survey in White Sands, New Mexico and its trajectory is well understood. Monday's flyby was the closest approach the asteroid will make to Earth for at least the next 200 year and is the closest a known asteroid this size will come to Earth until asteroid 1999 AN10 flies past us in 2027.
Astronomers have discovered a ring system eclipsing the very young Sun-like star J1407.

And it is huge, much larger and heavier than the ring system of Saturn. The ring system, the first of its kind to be found outside our solar system, was discovered in 2012 and the new data analysis shows that it consists of over 30 rings, each of them tens of millions of kilometers in diameter.

There are gaps in the rings, which indicate that satellites ("exomoons") may have formed.


Ten years ago, on Jan. 14, 2005, some orange-y image, showing an alien scenery with lots of pebbles in the horizon, was at the center of ESA scientists’ attention.

The snapshot of a distant world’s landscape was truly amazing. It was Saturn’s moon Titan with an orange surface seen through the lens of ESA’s Huygens lander, an exciting one-of-a-kind experience for European scientists as they can proudly say:

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.