Space

Astronomers have found evidence of a giant void that could be the largest known structure in the universe. The “supervoid” solves a controversial cosmic puzzle: it explains the origin of a large and anomalously cold region of the sky. However, future observations are needed to confirm the discovery and determine whether the void is unique.

In 2004, astronomers examining a map of the radiation leftover from the Big Bang (the cosmic microwave background, or CMB) discovered the Cold Spot, a larger-than-expected unusually cold area of the sky. The physics surrounding the Big Bang theory predicts warmer and cooler spots of various sizes in the infant universe, but a spot this large and this cold was unexpected.

Now, a team of astronomers led by Dr. Istvan Szapudi of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa may have found an explanation for the existence of the Cold Spot, which Szapudi says may be "the largest individual structure ever identified by humanity."



On Oct. 12, 2017, the asteroid 2012 TC4 is slated to whizz by Earth dangerously close.

The exact distance of its closest approach is uncertain, as well as its size.

Based on observations in October 2012 when the space rock missed our planet, astronomers estimate that its size could vary from 12 to 40 meters. The meteor that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013, injuring 1,500 people and damaging over 7,000 buildings, was about 20 meters wide.

Astronomers and planetary scientists have been waiting with bated breath for the first detailed close-up images of Ceres, the solar system’s largest asteroid. Now, with NASA’s Dawn spacecraft approaching closer each day, tantalizing new color imagery has revealed new details of the geological processes that formed Ceres.

New Horizons will soon reach Pluto, and is expected to find new moons and possibly a ring system. Could it find a moon of a moon? Or a moon with rings?

As we search for an answer, we will find out about why our Moon finds it hard keep a satellite at all, even just for a few years, and why an early satellite released by Apollo 16 unexpectedly crashed into the Moon. Also we'll chase up an intriguing puzzle about Saturn's moon Rhea.

Let's start with our own Earth / Moon system. Why is the Moon's orbit stable - and why can't our Moon have moonlets, or can it?

A team of astronomers studied the simultaneous collision of four galaxies in the galaxy cluster Abell 3827 and could trace out where the mass lies within the system and compare the distribution of the dark matter with the positions of the luminous galaxies.

Although dark matter cannot be seen, the team could deduce its location using a technique called gravitational lensing. The collision happened to take place directly in front of a much more distant, unrelated source. The mass of dark matter around the colliding galaxies severely distorted spacetime, deviating the path of light rays coming from the distant background galaxy -- and distorting its image into characteristic arc shapes.


It is galaxy season in the northern hemisphere, with Ursa Mayor at the zenith during the night and the Virgo cluster as high as it gets. And if you have ever put your eye on the eyepiece of a large telescope aimed at a far galaxy, you will agree it is quite an experience: you get to see light that traveled for tens or even hundreds of millions of years before reaching your pupil, crossing sizable portions of the universe to make a quite improbable rendez-vous with your photoreceptors. 

Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is one of the most Earthlike places in the solar system. 

It has a thick, hazy atmosphere and surface rivers, mountains, lakes and dunes, which is why the Cassini-Huygens is studying it. But sometimes new data bring new mysteries, such as the seemingly wind-created sand dunes spotted by Cassini near the moon's equator, and the contrary winds just above.

Space is always on the mind of a veteran NASA astronaut Brian Duffy. The key figure in an aerospace company Orbital ATK and a Space Shuttle commander is extremely keen on flying to space again.

The enthusiasm emanating from him for the future journeys beyond Earth, which we all patiently wait for, is heartily thrilling. In an interview with me, Duffy talks his successful astronaut career, post-NASA endeavors and his love for space.
Not all exoplanets are going to be habitable, many will be just the opposite. Astronomers have measured the temperature of the atmosphere of an exoplanet with unequaled precision and determined we won't be vacationing there any time soon. By crossing two approaches, using the HARPS spectrometer and a new way of interpreting sodium lines, researchers have been able to conclude that exoplanet HD 189733b is showing infernal atmospheric conditions, with wind speeds of more than 1,000 kilometers per hour and a temperature 3,000 degrees.