Heavens

Solar storm analysis carried out by an army of citizen scientists has helped researchers devise a new and more accurate way of forecasting when Earth will be hit by harmful space weather.
Scientists at the University of Reading added analysis carried out by members of the public to computer models designed to predict when coronal mass ejections (CMEs) - huge solar eruptions that are harmful to satellites and astronauts - will arrive at Earth.

An international team of researchers has found that some of the oldest terrain on Venus, known as tesserae, have layering that seems consistent with volcanic activity. The finding could provide insights into the enigmatic planet's geological history.

This latest image of Jupiter, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope on 25 August 2020, was captured when the planet was 653 million kilometres from Earth. Hubble's sharp view is giving researchers an updated weather report on the monster planet's turbulent atmosphere, including a remarkable new storm brewing, and a cousin of the Great Red Spot changing colour -- again. The new image also features Jupiter's icy moon Europa.

With almost two decades of mid-infrared (IR) imaging from the largest observatories around the world including the Subaru Telescope, a team of astronomers was able to capture the spiral motion of newly formed dust streaming from the massive and evolved binary star system Wolf-Rayet (WR) 112. Massive binary star systems, as well as supernova explosions, are regarded as sources of dust in the Universe from its early history, but the process of dust production and the amount of the ejected dust are still open questions.

An international team of astronomers detected phosphine (PH3) in the atmosphere of Venus. They studied the origin of phosphine, but no inorganic processes, including supply from volcanos and atmospheric photochemistry can explain the detected amount of phosphine. The phosphine is believed to originate from unknown photochemistry or geochemistry, but the team does not completely reject the possibility of biological origin. This discovery is crucial to examine the validity of phosphine as a biomarker.

A planet observed crossing in front of, or transiting, a low-mass star has been determined to be about the size of Jupiter. While hundreds of Jupiter-sized planets have been discovered orbiting larger sun-like stars, it is rare to see these planets orbiting low-mass host stars and the discovery could help astronomers to better understand how these giant planets form.

As missions like NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, TESS and Kepler continue to provide insights into the properties of exoplanets (planets around other stars), scientists are increasingly able to piece together what these planets look like, what they are made of, and if they could be habitable or even inhabited.

New Haven, Conn. -- The universe's funhouse mirrors are revealing a difference between how dark matter behaves in theory and how it appears to act in reality.

Dark matter is the invisible glue that keeps stars bound together inside a galaxy. It makes up most of a galaxy's mass and creates an invisible scaffold that tethers galaxies to form clusters.

Dark matter does not emit, absorb, or reflect light. It does not interact with any known particles. Its presence is known only through its gravitational pull on visible matter in space.

One-hundred million light years away from Earth, an unusual supernova is exploding.

That exploding star -- which is known as "supernova LSQ14fmg" -- was the faraway object discovered by a 37-member international research team led by Florida State University Assistant Professor of Physics Eric Hsiao. Their research, which was published in the Astrophysical Journal, helped uncover the origins of the group of supernovae this star belongs to.

Jupiter's moons are hot.

Well, hotter than they should be, for being so far from the sun. In a process called tidal heating, gravitational tugs from Jupiter's moons and the planet itself stretch and squish the moons enough to warm them. As a result, some of the icy moons contain interiors warm enough to host oceans of liquid water, and in the case of the rocky moon Io, tidal heating melts rock into magma.

Astronomers have discovered that there may be a missing ingredient in our cosmic recipe of how dark matter behaves.

They have uncovered a discrepancy between the theoretical models of how dark matter should be distributed in galaxy clusters, and observations of dark matter's grip on clusters.

Observations by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have found that something may be missing from the theories of how dark matter behaves. This missing ingredient may explain why researchers have uncovered an unexpected discrepancy between observations of the dark matter concentrations in a sample of massive galaxy clusters and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed in clusters.

The Earth's magnetic field is trapping high energy particles. When the first satellites were launched into space, scientists led by James Van Allen unexpectedly discovered the high energy particle radiation regions, which were later named after its discoverer Van Allen Radiation Belts. Visualized, these look like two donut-shaped regions encompassing our planet.

Sunspots are darker regions which often appear on the Sun's surface. They are caused by strong concentrations of magnetic field, and can be as big as the Earth, or even much bigger.

In January 2019, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was orbiting asteroid Bennu when the spacecraft's cameras caught something unexpected: Thousands of tiny bits of material, some just the size of marbles, began to bounce off the surface of the asteroid--like a game of ping-pong in space. Since then, many such particle ejection events have been observed at Bennu's surface.

OSIRIS-REx is an unprecedented effort to investigate what makes up asteroids like Bennu and how they move through space. But, as those leaping particles show, the mission has already delivered a few surprises.