Heavens

EGS8p7: The farthest galaxy ever detected

EGS8p7: The farthest galaxy ever detected

A team of researchers that has spent years searching for the earliest objects in the universe now reports the detection of what may be the most distant galaxy ever found. In an article published August 28, 2015 in Astrophysical Journal Letters, Adi Zitrin, a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Scholar in Astronomy, and Richard Ellis--who recently retired after 15 years on the Caltech faculty and is now a professor of astrophysics at University College, London--describe evidence for a galaxy called EGS8p7 that is more than 13.2 billion years old.

The universe itself is about 13.8 billion years old.

Human exceptionalism: Earth's mineralogy unique in the cosmos

Human exceptionalism: Earth's mineralogy unique in the cosmos

New research predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere in the cosmos. Minerals form from novel combinations of elements. These combinations can be facilitated by both geological activity, including volcanoes, plate tectonics, and water-rock interactions, and biological activity, such as chemical reactions with oxygen and organic material.

Dead galaxies in Coma Cluster may be packed with dark matter, according to simulation

Dead galaxies in Coma Cluster may be packed with dark matter, according to simulation

Galaxies in a cluster roughly 300 million light years from Earth could contain as much as 100 times more dark matter than visible matter, according to an Australian study. The research used computer simulations to study galaxies that have fallen into the Coma Cluster, one of the largest structures in the Universe in which thousands of galaxies are bound together by gravity.

Gaia14aae: amateur astronomers spot one in a billion star

Gaia14aae: amateur astronomers spot one in a billion star

An international team of researchers, with the assistance of amateur astronomers, have discovered a unique binary star system: the first known such system where one star completely eclipses the other. It is a type of two-star system known as a Cataclysmic Variable, where one super dense white dwarf star is stealing gas from its companion star, effectively 'cannibalising' it.

Venus may have active volcanoes

Venus may have active volcanoes

An international team of scientists has found some of the best evidence yet that Venus, Earth's nearest neighbor, is volcanically active.

In combing through data from the European Space Agency's Venus Express mission, the scientists found transient spikes in temperature at several spots on the planet's surface. The hotspots, which were found to flash and fade over the course of just a few days, appear to be generated by active flows of lava on the surface.

Celestial butterfly emerges from its dusty cocoon

Celestial butterfly emerges from its dusty cocoon

Some of the sharpest images ever made with ESO's Very Large Telescope have, for the first time, revealed what appears to be an ageing star giving birth to a butterfly-like planetary nebula. These observations of the red giant star L2 Puppis, from the ZIMPOL mode of the newly installed SPHERE instrument, also clearly showed a close stellar companion. The dying stages of stars continue to pose astronomers with many riddles, and the origin of such bipolar nebulae, with their complex and alluring hourglass figures, doubly so.

Quenched glasses, asteroid impacts, and ancient life on Mars

Quenched glasses, asteroid impacts, and ancient life on Mars

Quenched glasses formed by asteroid impacts can encapsulate and preserve biological material for millions of years on Earth, and can also serve as a substrate for microbial life. These impact glasses are thus an important target to search for signs of ancient life on Mars, but until now they have not been definitively detected on the martian surface.

In this study, Kevin Cannon and John Mustard used orbital remotely sensed data to investigate spectral signatures of geologic units on Mars that were formed during impacts (impactites).

Kepler-452b is sure to be hyped as Earth's bigger cousin

An international team of astronomers from NASA's Kepler mission have announced the discovery of a near-Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star. Dr. Daniel Huber from the University of Sydney's School of Physics is part of the team which made the discovery with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

The planet, named Kepler-452b is 60 percent larger than Earth, and orbits a Sun-like star with an orbital period of 385 days.

We're not alone, mathematically, but the universe may be less crowded than we think

There may be far fewer galaxies further out in the Universe then might be expected, suggests a new study based on simulations conducted using the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, with resulting data transferred to SDSC Cloud at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, for future analysis.

What does the Milky Way weigh?

What if your doctor told you that your weight is somewhere between 100 and 400 lbs.? With any ordinary scale every patient can do better at home. Yet, one patient can't: the Milky Way. Even though today we peer deeper into space than ever before, our home galaxy's weight is still unknown to about a factor of four. Researchers at Columbia University's Astronomy Department have now developed a new method to give the Milky Way a more precise physical checkup.