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Hoag's Object Is a Galaxy Within a Galaxy Within a Galaxy (and Nobody Knows Why)

Source: livescience.com
Date: 3 December, 2019

With a perfectly symmetrical ring circling a red sphere of stars, Hoag's object is one of the prettiest mysteries in the universe.

[...]

Look closely at the serpent constellation slithering through the northern sky, and you might see a galaxy within a galaxy within a galaxy.

This cosmic turducken is known as Hoag's object, and it has befuddled stargazers since astronomer Arthur Hoag discovered it in 1950.

https://www-livescience-com.cdn.amp...ce.com/hoags-object-perfect-ring-mystery.html
 

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Some interesting news about Bennu.

THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS—NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission to sample the asteroid Bennu and return to Earth was always going to be a touch-and-go maneuver. But new revelations about its target—a space rock five times the size of a U.S. football field that orbits close to Earth—are making the mission riskier than ever. Rather than smooth plains of rubble, Bennu’s surface is a jumble of more than 200 large boulders, with scarcely enough gaps for robotic sampling of its surface grit, the spacecraft’s team reported here today at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference and in a series of Nature papers.

The $800 million spacecraft began to orbit Bennu at the start of this year, and the asteroid immediately began to spew surprises—literally. On 6 January, the team detected a plume of small particles shooting off the rock; 10 similar events followed over the next month. Rather than a frozen remnant of past cosmic collisions, Bennu is one of a dozen known “active” asteroids. “[This is] one of the biggest surprises of my scientific career,” says Dante Lauretta, the mission’s principal investigator and a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “We are seeing Bennu regularly ejecting material into outer space.” ...

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/201...activity-complicates-nasa-s-sampling-attempts

Bennu is literally exploding with news.

For the last year, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been circling a large asteroid named Bennu that regularly passes uncomfortably
close to Earth. The spacecraft has been painstakingly mapping the asteroid’s rocky surface using a suite of cameras and other instruments that will help it determine where to land next year. Once NASA selects a final landing site, OSIRIS-REx will kiss Bennu just long enough to scoop up a sample to bring back to Earth in 2023.

Many scientists expect the Bennu sample to revolutionize our understanding of asteroids, especially those that are near Earth and pose the greatest threat to life as we know it. But as detailed in a paper published today in Science, NASA has already started making surprising discoveries around this alien world. Earlier this year, the OSIRIS-REx team witnessed particles exploding from the asteroid’s surface—and it’s not sure why.

“No one has ever seen an active asteroid up close like this,” says Carl Hergenrother, an astronomer at the University of Arizona and the scientist who proposed Bennu as the target for OSIRIS-REx. “It wasn’t that long ago that the conventional wisdom was that asteroids are these dead bodies that didn’t change very much.”

In January, the navigation cameras on OSIRIS-REx captured three ejection events that each spewed about 100 centimeter-sized asteroid particles into space. The spacecraft also detected a significant number of particles already orbiting Bennu like a cloud of gnats. Their diverse orbits suggest that particle ejections are a common event on the asteroid and occur all across its surface, rather than in a few select spots. Indeed, in the year since the three ejection events that are reported today in Science, Hergenrother says OSIRIS-REx has detected several other smaller ejections. ...

https://www.wired.com/story/no-one-knows-why-rocks-are-exploding-from-asteroid-bennu/
 

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NASA ANNOUNCES FIRST RESULTS FROM PARKER SOLAR PROBE SPACECRAFT AFTER IT WAS SENT TO ‘TOUCH THE SUN’

Source: independent.co.uk
Date: 5 December, 2019

Nasa has revealed the first findings from a pioneering spacecraft sent to "touch the Sun".

The Parker Solar Probe has flown closer than ever before to our Sun and has now sent back its first data from the mission.

The car-sized spacecraft left Earth last summer and is now about 15 million miles away from the Sun.

Scientists hope that its time there can reveal the mysteries that keep us alive, such as why the corona on the outer surface is so hot.

https://www-independent-co-uk.cdn.a...3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s
 

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ISS Sees Thunderstorm Beaming Electromagnetic Pulse Into Space, Producing Gamma Rays and 'Elves'

Source: gizmodo.com
Date: 10 December, 2019

At 8:01 p.m. on October 10, 2018, a bolt of lightning flashed inside of a storm cloud just east of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The International Space Station was passing overhead at the time, and a suite of instruments observed as the bolt produced a flash of gamma radiation—and, simultaneously, emitted a glowing ring of ultraviolet and visible light in the topmost layer of the atmosphere.

Scientists today are presenting the results of this observation, the first to capture both a terrestrial gamma ray flash, or TGF, and the visible-light component of an Elve, a dim disk of ionospheric radiation. This observation provides more evidence for the connection between lightning, the radiation produced by storms, and electromagnetic phenomena at the top of the atmosphere, while illustrating more of the wild radioactive curiosities that weather can generate.

https://gizmodo.com/iss-sees-thunderstorm-beaming-electromagnetic-pulse-int-1840342399
 

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ALMA spots most distant dusty galaxy hidden in plain sight

Source: phys.org
Date: 11 December, 2019

ALMA radio image of the dusty star-forming galaxy called MAMBO-9. The galaxy consists of two parts, and it is in the process of merging. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), C.M. Casey et al.; NRAO/AUI/NSF, B. Saxton

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have spotted the light of a massive galaxy seen only 970 million years after the Big Bang. This galaxy, called MAMBO-9, is the most distant dusty star-forming galaxy that has ever been observed without the help of a gravitational lens.

Dusty star-forming galaxies are the most intense stellar nurseries in the universe. They form stars at a rate up to a few thousand times the mass of the Sun per year (the star-forming rate of our Milky Way is just three solar masses per year) and they contain massive amounts of gas and dust. Such monster galaxies are not expected to have formed early in the history of the universe, but astronomers have already discovered several of them as seen when the cosmos was less than a billion years old. One of them is galaxy SPT0311-58, which ALMA observed in 2018.

Because of their extreme behavior, astronomers think that these dusty galaxies play an important role in the evolution of the universe. But finding them is easier said than done. "These galaxies tend to hide in plain sight," said Caitlin Casey of the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of a study published in the Astrophysical Journal. "We know they are out there, but they are not easy to find because their starlight is hidden in clouds of dust."

https://phys-org.cdn.ampproject.org...2019-12-alma-distant-dusty-galaxy-hidden.html
 

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Dark Matter May Be Source of Mysterious Gamma Radiation in Center of Milky Way

Source: scitechdaily.com/American Physical Society
Date: 12 December, 2019

An abundance of mysterious gamma radiation exists in the center of the Milky Way, called the Galactic Center GeV Excess. Previous research determined that this enigmatic radiation likely came from sources like pulsars — neutron stars that emit electromagnetic radiation.

Now, a new analysis suggests earlier studies underestimated potential dark matter’s role in the creation of the gamma radiation cluster. Scientists Rebecca Leane and Tracy Slatyer reexamined the earlier research, testing the method that previously claimed the gamma ray glow was likely from pulsars.

They found that the earlier method could potentially overlook dark matter signals, misidentifying them as pulsar signals. The results suggest that dark matter may still be contributing to gamma radiation from the Milky Way’s center.

https://scitechdaily-com.cdn.amppro...rious-gamma-radiation-in-center-of-milky-way/
 

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100 mysterious blinking lights in the night sky could be evidence of alien life... or something weird, say boffins

Source: theregister.co.uk
Date: 13 December, 2019

A hundred red objects blinking in and out of existence across Earth’s skies over the past 70 years have left scientists giddy: they believe this could be evidence of previously unseen astronomical phenomena or – and hold tight, now – alien civilizations.

The objects were scrutinized by the Vanishing & Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations (VASCO) project, led by Stockholm University in Sweden, which is on the lookout for the Milky Way’s weirdest events.

Astrophysicists, faced with poring over 600 million objects, whittled down their search to just 100 by focusing on observations of objects in space that simply just disappear, or ones that have rapidly fluctuating brightness levels that vary over a 70-year time period. They hunted for the outliers by comparing data logged in the US Naval Observatory Catalogue (USNO) from the 1950s to the more modern Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) recorded in 2016.

The strangest objects flare up and dim across several orders of magnitude beyond what’s traditionally seen in other types of highly variable objects, like eclipsing binary systems or active galactic nuclei outbursts. And a few seem to have vanished, leaving the researchers puzzled.

https://www-theregister-co-uk.cdn.a...heregister.co.uk/2019/12/13/objects_in_space/
 

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Breathable atmospheres may be more common in the universe than we first thought

Source: phys.org
Date: 13 December, 2019

The existence of habitable alien worlds has been a mainstay of popular culture for more than a century. In the 19th century, astronomers believed that Martians might be using canal-based transport links to traverse the red planet. Now, despite living in an age when scientists can study planets light years from our own solar system, most new research continues to diminish the chances of finding other worlds on which humans could live. The biggest stumbling block may be oxygen—human settlers would need a high oxygen atmosphere in which to breathe.

[...]

This event-based history of how oxygen came to be so plentiful on Earth implies that we're very fortunate to be living on a high-oxygen world. If one volcanic eruption hadn't happened, or a certain type of organism hadn't evolved, then oxygen might have stalled at low levels. But our latest research suggests that this isn't the case. We created a computer model of the Earth's carbon, oxygen and phosphorus cycles and found that the oxygen transitions can be explained by the inherent dynamics of our planet and likely didn't require any miraculous events.

https://phys-org.cdn.ampproject.org...able-atmospheres-common-universe-thought.html
 

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Is there dark matter at the center of the Milky Way?

Source: phys.org
Date: 13 December, 2019

MIT physicists are reigniting the possibility, which they previously had snuffed out, that a bright burst of gamma rays at the center of our galaxy may be the result of dark matter after all.

For years, physicists have known of a mysterious surplus of energy at the Milky Way's center, in the form of gamma rays—the most energetic waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. These rays are typically produced by the hottest, most extreme objects in the universe, such as supernovae and pulsars.

Gamma rays are found across the disk of the Milky Way, and for the most part physicists understand their sources. But there is a glow of gamma rays at the Milky Way's center, known as the galactic center excess, or GCE, with properties that are difficult for physicists to explain given what they know about the distribution of stars and gas in the galaxy.

https://phys-org.cdn.ampproject.org.../phys.org/news/2019-12-dark-center-milky.html
 

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This unreal image of the Milky Way's center could rewrite galactic history

Source: cnet.com
Date: 16 December, 2019

A survey of 700,000 stars at the Milky Way's center suggests a violent outburst of star-forming activity 1 billion years ago.

A breakthrough survey of over 700,000 stars near the Milky Way's galactic center has produced one of the most stunning images of our home galaxy. Astronomers studying the massive population of stars in the "nuclear disk" at the center of the galaxy hypothesize there were two major periods of star formation in the region, contradicting earlier beliefs it was in a near-constant state of star formation.

The study, published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Dec. 16, gathered the new images using the High Acuity Wide-field K-band Imager (HAWK-I) on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, which is able to image the cosmos in near-infrared bands. That allows the astronomers to peer through much of the dense gas and debris that clouds our vision of the Milky Way's center...

[...]

The new research shows the Milky Way's early life was particularly fruitful for the nuclear disk. During the galaxy's first 5 billion years, over 80% of the galaxy's stars were born, but then it dipped into a "quiescent" state, where star formation dropped away. But a huge increase in activity occurred just 1 billion years ago, when approximately 5% of the center's stellar mass suddenly burst to life.

https://www-cnet-com.cdn.ampproject...-milky-ways-center-rewrites-galactic-history/
 

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Cosmology in crisis as evidence suggests our universe isn’t flat, it’s actually curved

Source: thenextweb.com
Date: 17 December, 2019

No matter how elegant your theory is, experimental data will have the last word. Observations of the retrograde motion of the planets were fundamental to the Copernican revolution, in which the sun replaced Earth at the centre of the solar system. And the unusual orbit of Mercury provided a spectacular confirmation of the theory of general relativity. In fact, our entire understanding of the universe is built on observed, unexpected anomalies.

Now our new paper, published in Nature Astronomy, has come to a conclusion that may unleash a crisis in cosmology – if confirmed. We show that the shape of the universe may actually be curved rather than flat, as previously thought – with a probability larger than 99 percent. In a curved universe, no matter which direction you travel in, you will end up at the starting point – just like on a sphere. Though the universe has four dimensions, including time.

https://thenextweb.com/syndication/...s-our-universe-isnt-flat-its-actually-curved/
 

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Astrophysicists Developed a New Theory to Explain ‘Dark Energy’

Source: Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University/scitechdaily.com
Date: 24 December, 2019

The fact that our Universe is expanding was discovered almost a hundred years ago, but how exactly this happens, scientists realized only in the 90s of the last century, when powerful telescopes (including orbital ones) appeared and the era of exact cosmo.

International Journal of Modern Physics has published an article by the IKBFU Physics and Mathematics Institute Artyom Astashenok and the Institute’s MA student Alexander Teplyakov. The article refers to the issue of the “Dark Enegry” and an assumption is made that the Universe has borders.

Artyom Astashenok told:

“The fact that our Universe is expanding was discovered almost a hundred years ago, but how exactly this happens, scientists realized only in the 90s of the last century, when powerful telescopes (including orbital ones) appeared and the era of exact cosmology began. In the course of observations and analysis of the data obtained, it turned out that the Universe is not just expanding, but expanding with acceleration, which began three to four billion years after the birth of the Universe.”

For a long time, it was believed that space is filled with ordinary matter — stars, planets, asteroids, comets and highly rarefied intergalactic gas. But, if this is so, then accelerated expansion is contrary to the law of gravity, which says that bodies are attracted to each other. Gravitational forces tend to slow down the expansion of the universe, but cannot accelerate it.

Artyom Astashenok says:

“And then the idea was born that the Universe is filled for the most part not with ordinary matter, but with some “dark energy,” which has special properties. No one knows what is it and how it works, so it named “Dark Energy” as something unknown. And 70% of the Universe consists of this Energy.”

There are many theories of what the “Dark Energy” is, and the IKBFU scientists presented their own theory.

“The so-called Casimir effect (named after the Dutch physicist Hendrik Casimir), which consists in the fact that two metal plates placed in a vacuum are attracted to each other, has long been known. It would seem that this cannot be, because there is nothing in the vacuum. But in fact, according to quantum theory, particles constantly appear and disappear there, and as a result of their interaction with plates, which indicate certain boundaries of space (which is extremely important), a very small attraction occurs. And there is an idea according to this, approximately the same thing happens in space. Only this leads, on the contrary, to additional repulsion, which accelerates the expansion of the Universe. That is, there is essentially no “Dark Energy,” but there is a manifestation of the boundaries of the Universe. This, of course, does not mean that it ends somewhere, but some kind of complex topology can take place. You can draw an analogy with the Earth. After all, it also has no boundaries, but it is finite. The difference between the Earth and the Universe is that in the first case we are dealing with two-dimensional space, and in the second — with three-dimensional.”

https://scitechdaily-com.cdn.amppro...eveloped-a-new-theory-to-explain-dark-energy/
 

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Just don't say 'Betelgeuse' 3 times in a row and we'll be OK.
As a slight aside, I'd grown up thinking it was pronounced 'bettelgewz' and was quite surprised when I found out, years ago, that it was pronounced 'beetlejuice'. But I flatly refuse to pronounce it as that because it just sounds silly to me. So I carry on with the pronunciation I prefer :)
 

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May be of interest.

The variation in Betelgeuse's brightness was described in 1836 by Sir John Herschel, when he published his observations in Outlines of Astronomy. From 1836 to 1840, he noticed significant changes in magnitude when Betelgeuse outshone Rigel in October 1837 and again in November 1839.[25] A 10-year quiescent period followed; then in 1849, Herschel noted another short cycle of variability, which peaked in 1852. Later observers recorded unusually high maxima with an interval of years, but only small variations from 1957 to 1967. The records of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) show a maximum brightness of 0.2 in 1933 and 1942, and a minimum of 1.2, observed in 1927 and 1941.[26][27] This variability in brightness may explain why Johann Bayer, with the publication of his Uranometria in 1603, designated the star alpha as it probably rivaled the usually brighter Rigel (beta).[28] From Arctic latitudes, Betelgeuse's red colour and higher location in the sky than Rigel meant the Inuit regarded it as brighter, and one local name was Ulluriajjuaq "large star".[29]

Wikipedia
 

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Darkest Galaxies in the Universe Provide New Clues on Dark Matter

Source: SciTechDaily
Date: 2 January, 2020

A study by Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) provides important information on its composition and on its interaction with luminous matter.

They are called low-surface-brightness galaxies and it is thanks to them that important confirmations and new information have been obtained on one of the largest mysteries of the cosmos: dark matter. “We have found that disc galaxies can be represented by a universal relationship. In particular, in this study we analyzed the so-called Low-Surface-Brightness (LSB) galaxies, a particular type of galaxy with a rotating disc called this way because they have a low-density brightness “says Chiara di Paolo, astrophysicist at SISSA and lead author of a study recently published in MNRAS together with Paolo Salucci (astrophysicist at SISSA) and Erkurt Adnan (Istanbul University).

The researchers analyzed the speed at which the stars and gases that compose the galaxies subject matter of the study rotate, noting that the LSBs also have a very homogenous behavior. This result consolidates several clues on the presence and behavior of dark matter, opening up new scenarios on its interactions with bright matter.

https://scitechdaily-com.cdn.amppro...he-universe-provide-new-clues-on-dark-matter/
 

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We May Finally Understand the Moments Before the Big Bang

Physicists may have solved a decades-long mystery about how our universe came to be.

Source: livescience.com
Date : 11 November, 2019

There's a hole in the story of how our universe came to be. First, the universe inflated rapidly, like a balloon. Then, everything went boom.

But how those two periods are connected has eluded physicists. Now, a new study suggests a way to link the two epochs.

In the first period, the universe grew from an almost infinitely small point to nearly an octillion (that's a 1 followed by 27 zeros) times that in size in less than a trillionth of a second. This inflation period was followed by a more gradual, but violent, period of expansion we know as the Big Bang. During the Big Bang, an incredibly hot fireball of fundamental particles — such as protons, neutrons and electrons — expanded and cooled to form the atoms, stars and galaxies we see today.

The Big Bang theory, which describes cosmic inflation, remains the most widely supported explanation of how our universe began, yet scientists are still perplexed by how these wholly different periods of expansion are connected. To solve this cosmic conundrum, a team of researchers at Kenyon College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Netherlands' Leiden University simulated the critical transition between cosmic inflation and the Big Bang — a period they call "reheating."

https://www.livescience.com/physicists-model-reheating-universe.html
 

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We May Finally Understand the Moments Before the Big Bang

The article states:

"During the Big Bang, an incredibly hot fireball of fundamental particles — such as protons, neutrons and electrons — expanded and cooled to form the atoms, stars and galaxies we see today".

Where did those fundamental particles come from?

Just wondered... :btime:
 

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We May Finally Understand the Moments Before the Big Bang

The article states:

"During the Big Bang, an incredibly hot fireball of fundamental particles — such as protons, neutrons and electrons — expanded and cooled to form the atoms, stars and galaxies we see today".

Where did those fundamental particles come from?

Just wondered... :btime:
Maybe something to do with Heisenberg's uncertainty principle ie the particles may have just winked into existence - but no-one is certain.
 
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