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Newswise: Capturing All That Glitters in Galaxies with NASA’s Webb
Released: 19-Jan-2022 4:40 PM EST
Capturing All That Glitters in Galaxies with NASA’s Webb
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

To understand galaxies, you have to understand how stars form. Over 100 researchers from around the world have collaborated to bring together observations of nearby spiral galaxies taken with the world’s most powerful radio, visible, and ultraviolet telescopes – and will soon add a full suite of high-resolution infrared images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. With this groundbreaking data set, astronomers will be able to study stars as they start to form within dark, dusty gas clouds, untangle when those infant stars blow away that gas and dust, and identify more mature stars that are puffing off layers of gas and dust – all for the first time in a diverse set of spiral galaxies.

Newswise: Spacecraft Enters the Sun’s Corona for the First Time in History
Released: 14-Dec-2021 12:55 PM EST
Spacecraft Enters the Sun’s Corona for the First Time in History
Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian

An instrument made by scientists and engineers at the Center for Astrophysics has helped verify that — for the first time in history — a spacecraft has entered the corona of the Sun.

Newswise: ‘Would you like a little ice with your exoplanet?’ For Earth-like worlds, that may be a tall order
Released: 10-Dec-2021 12:15 PM EST
‘Would you like a little ice with your exoplanet?’ For Earth-like worlds, that may be a tall order
University of Washington

Scientists computationally simulated more than 200,000 hypothetical Earth-like worlds all in orbit of stars like our sun, and found that about 90% of these potentially habitable hypothetical worlds lacked partial surface ice like polar caps. When partial ice is present, ice belts — permanent surface ice along the equator — were more common than ice caps.

Newswise: Hubble Gives Unprecedented, Early View of a Doomed Star's Destruction
Released: 21-Oct-2021 1:00 PM EDT
Hubble Gives Unprecedented, Early View of a Doomed Star's Destruction
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

Hubble delivered a ringside seat to a supernova in the very earliest stage of exploding, giving astronomers an unprecedented view of the first moments of a star’s spectacular death.

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Released: 14-Oct-2021 11:00 AM EDT
Hubble Finds Evidence of Persistent Water Vapor in One Hemisphere of Europa
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

Hubble Space Telescope observations of Jupiter's icy moon Europa have revealed the presence of persistent water vapor — but mysteriously, only in one hemisphere.

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11-Oct-2021 10:20 AM EDT
Strange radio waves emerge from the direction of the galactic centre
University of Sydney

A variable signal aligned to the heart of the Milky Way is tantalising scientists.

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Released: 30-Sep-2021 1:15 PM EDT
‘Planet confusion’ could slow Earth-like exoplanet exploration
Cornell University

A new Cornell study finds that next-generation telescopes used to see exoplanets could confuse Earth-like planets with other types of planets in the same solar system.

Newswise:Video Embedded hubble-shows-winds-in-jupiter-s-great-red-spot-are-speeding-up
Released: 27-Sep-2021 12:00 PM EDT
Hubble Shows Winds in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Are Speeding Up
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

The innermost lane may typically be favored to win a race, but in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the winds in its outermost “lane” are taking the lead! Only Hubble can spot these trends: The observatory acts like a storm tracker for the giant planets in our solar system every year.

Newswise: Hubble Snapshot of 'Molten Ring' Galaxy Prompts New Research
Released: 23-Sep-2021 11:00 AM EDT
Hubble Snapshot of 'Molten Ring' Galaxy Prompts New Research
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

In this image, a remote galaxy is greatly magnified and distorted by the effects of gravitationally warped space. After its public release, astronomers used the picture to measure the galaxy's distance of 9.4 billion light-years. This places the galaxy at the peak epoch of star formation in cosmic evolution.

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17-Sep-2021 11:40 AM EDT
Mars habitability limited by its small size, isotope study suggests
Washington University in St. Louis

Researchers measured the potassium isotope compositions of Martian meteorites in order to estimate the presence, distribution and abundance of volatile elements and compounds, including water, on Mars, finding that Mars has lost more potassium than Earth but retained more potassium than the Moon or the asteroid 4-Vesta; the results suggest that rocky planets with larger mass retain more volatile elements during planetary formation and that Mars and Mars-sized exoplanets fall below a size threshold necessary to retain enough water to enable habitability and plate tectonics.

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Released: 6-Sep-2021 11:30 AM EDT
Hubble Discovers Hydrogen-Burning White Dwarfs Enjoying Slow Aging
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

Astronomers using Hubble have uncovered burned-out stars that look younger than they really are. After the nuclear furnaces at their cores shut down, the stars continue burning leftover hydrogen on their surface.

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Released: 23-Aug-2021 2:35 PM EDT
Fastest Orbiting Asteroid Discovered at NOIRLab’s CTIO
NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory

Using the powerful 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera (DECam) in Chile, astronomers just ten days ago discovered an asteroid with the shortest orbital period of any known asteroid in the Solar System.

Newswise: Black hole size revealed by its eating pattern
Released: 12-Aug-2021 4:30 PM EDT
Black hole size revealed by its eating pattern
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The feeding patterns of black holes offer insight into their size, researchers report. A new study revealed that the flickering in the brightness observed in actively feeding supermassive black holes is related to their mass.

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Released: 19-Jul-2021 4:05 PM EDT
First Images from Rebooted Hubble: Astronomers Peer at Oddball Galaxies
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

These early snapshots demonstrate Hubble's return to full science operations, following correction of a computer anomaly aboard the spacecraft. Normal science observations were restarted on July 17, at 1:18 pm EDT.

Newswise:Video Embedded are-we-missing-other-earths
Released: 28-Jun-2021 2:45 PM EDT
Are We Missing Other Earths?
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)

Some exoplanet searches could be missing nearly half of the Earth-sized planets around other stars. New findings from a team using the international Gemini Observatory and the WIYN 3.5-meter Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory suggest that Earth-sized worlds could be lurking undiscovered in binary star systems, hidden in the glare of their parent stars. As roughly half of all stars are in binary systems, this means that astronomers could be missing many Earth-sized worlds.

Newswise:Video Embedded giant-comet-found-in-outer-solar-system-by-dark-energy-survey
Released: 25-Jun-2021 4:05 PM EDT
Giant Comet Found in Outer Solar System by Dark Energy Survey
NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory

A giant comet from the outskirts of our Solar System has been discovered in 6 years of data from the Dark Energy Survey. Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein is estimated to be about 1000 times more massive than a typical comet, making it arguably the largest comet discovered in modern times. It has an extremely elongated orbit, journeying inward from the distant Oort Cloud over millions of years. It is the most distant comet to be discovered on its incoming path, giving us years to watch it evolve as it approaches the Sun, though it's not predicted to become a naked-eye spectacle.

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Released: 20-May-2021 2:50 PM EDT
Not all theories can explain the black hole M87*
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

As first pointed out by the German astronomer Karl Schwarzschild, black holes bend space-time to an extreme degree due to their extraordinary concentration of mass, and heat up the matter in their vicinity so that it begins to glow.

Newswise: NASA’s Webb to Study How Massive Stars’ Blasts of Radiation Influence Their Environments
Released: 19-May-2021 10:05 AM EDT
NASA’s Webb to Study How Massive Stars’ Blasts of Radiation Influence Their Environments
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

The Orion Bar is a ridge-like feature of gas and dust that is being sculpted by the intense radiation from neighboring, hot, young stars. In reality, the Orion Bar is not really a “bar” at all. Instead, it contains a lot of structure and several distinct zones. For the first time, Webb will be able to separate and study these different zones’ physical conditions.

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Released: 13-May-2021 10:55 AM EDT
Scientists find molecular patterns that may help identify extraterrestrial life
Tokyo Institute of Technology

Scientists have begun the search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System in earnest, but such life may be subtly or profoundly different from Earth-life, and methods based on detecting particular molecules as biosignatures may not apply to life with a different evolutionary history.

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26-Apr-2021 1:35 PM EDT
Icy clouds could have kept early Mars warm enough for rivers and lakes, study finds
University of Chicago

A new study led by University of Chicago planetary scientist Edwin Kite finds Mars could have had a thin layer of icy, high-altitude clouds that caused a greenhouse effect, allowing rivers and lakes to flow.

Released: 8-Apr-2021 6:05 AM EDT
Research demonstrates that asteroid deflection can be enhanced by different neutron energies
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

A research collaboration between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Air Force Institute of Technology investigates how the neutron energy output from a nuclear device detonation can affect the deflection of an asteroid. Scientists compared the resulting asteroid deflection from two different neutron energy sources, representative of fission and fusion neutrons, allowing for side-by-side comparisons. The goal was to understand which neutron energies released from a nuclear explosion are better for deflecting an asteroid and why, potentially paving the way for optimized deflection performance.

Newswise:Video Embedded hubble-spots-double-quasars-in-merging-galaxies
Released: 6-Apr-2021 9:00 AM EDT
Hubble Spots Double Quasars in Merging Galaxies
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

Astronomers are “seeing double,” uncovering two close pairs of ancient quasars that reside at the centers of merging galaxies. These brilliant light beacons are powered by supermassive black holes feeding on material, unleashing a torrent of radiation.

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Released: 17-Mar-2021 9:00 AM EDT
Is there life on mars today and where?
SETI Institute

In a comment published today in Nature Astronomy, Dr. Nathalie Cabrol, Director of the Carl Sagan Center for Research at the SETI Institute, challenges assumptions about the possibility of modern life on Mars held by many in the scientific community.

Newswise: SuperCam sends first data back to Earth from the Perseverance Mars Rover
Released: 11-Mar-2021 11:15 AM EST
SuperCam sends first data back to Earth from the Perseverance Mars Rover
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Following the successful landing of NASA's Perseverance rover in Jezero Crater on Mars, the SuperCam operational teams at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) received the first results showing that SuperCam is in good health and giving its first impressions of the crater.

Newswise: What will ancient sedimentary rock tell us about the history of life on Mars?
Released: 22-Feb-2021 12:55 PM EST
What will ancient sedimentary rock tell us about the history of life on Mars?
Stony Brook University

The new era of space exploration features two Stony Brook University faculty members as part of the development of NASA’s Mars2020 Perseverance rover that recently landed. Distinguished Professor Scott McLennan and Associate Professor Joel Hurowitz both worked on the PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) that is attached to the arm of the rover. The PIXL is a micro-focus X-ray fluorescence instrument that rapidly measures elemental chemistry by focusing an X-ray beam to a tiny spot on the target rock or soil, analyzing the induced X-ray fluorescence. Both professors have been working on Mars missions with NASA since 2004.

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Released: 11-Feb-2021 10:00 AM EST
Hubble Uncovers Concentration of Small Black Holes
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope in their hunt for a massive black hole at the heart of the globular cluster NGC 6397 found something they weren’t expecting: a concentration of smaller black holes lurking there instead. This is a new twist on the search for intermediate-mass black holes. They are the long-sought “missing link” between supermassive black holes and stellar-mass black holes.

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Released: 10-Feb-2021 4:25 PM EST
Ceramic chips inside meteorites hint at wild days of the early solar system
University of Chicago

A new analysis of ceramic chips embedded in meteorites suggests the formation of our solar system was not as quiet and orderly as we once thought.

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Released: 27-Jan-2021 12:10 PM EST
Purported phosphine on Venus more likely to be ordinary sulfur dioxide, new study shows
University of Washington

A University of Washington-led team has revisited and comprehensively reinterpreted radio telescope observations underlying a 2019 claim of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. They report that sulfur dioxide, a common gas in the atmosphere of Venus, is likely what was detected instead of phosphine.

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14-Jan-2021 12:50 PM EST
A ‘super-puff’ planet like no other
Universite de Montreal

A Canadian-led team of astronomers discovers that the core mass of exoplanet WASP-107b is much lower than previously thought possible for a gas-giant planet.

Released: 12-Jan-2021 12:05 PM EST
New Horizons Spacecraft Answers Question: How Dark Is Space?
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

How dark is the sky, and what does that tell us about the number of galaxies in the visible universe? A team of scientists has used observations by NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt to determine the brightness of the cosmic optical background. Their result sets an upper limit to the abundance of faint, unresolved galaxies, showing that there is about twice as much optical light permeating space as can be accounted for by all known galaxies.

Newswise:Video Embedded dark-storm-on-neptune-reverses-direction-possibly-shedding-a-fragment
Released: 15-Dec-2020 3:00 PM EST
Dark Storm on Neptune Reverses Direction, Possibly Shedding a Fragment
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

A giant dark storm on Neptune heading for certain doom at the equator mysteriously halted its journey and began drifting in the opposite direction. Almost simultaneously, another smaller dark spot appeared nearby, only to vanish months later. Hubble astronomers are presenting these findings today at the Fall 2020 American Geophysical Union meeting.

Newswise:Video Embedded hubble-pins-down-weird-exoplanet-with-far-flung-orbit
Released: 10-Dec-2020 11:45 AM EST
Hubble Pins Down Weird Exoplanet with Far-Flung Orbit
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

Astronomers analyzing Hubble images of the double star, HD 106906, have discovered a planet in a huge 15,000-year-long orbit that sweeps it as far from its stellar duo as Planet Nine would be from our Sun. This is observational evidence that similarly far-flung worlds may exist around other stars. Researchers hypothesize that the planet wound up there in a game of planetary pinball where the gravitational pull of a passing star modified the orbit's shape.

Newswise:Video Embedded hubble-captures-unprecedented-fading-of-stingray-nebula
Released: 3-Dec-2020 10:15 AM EST
Hubble Captures Unprecedented Fading of Stingray Nebula
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

Great things take time. This is true when it comes to many processes in the universe. For example, it takes millions of years for stars—the building blocks of the universe—to form. Then, many stars last for billions of years before they die and begin to eject shells of gas that glow against the vastness of space—what we call nebulas. It can be exceedingly rare to capture some of these processes in real time. Lucky for us, it seems as if the Stingray nebula, Hen 3-1357, was destined to stand out from the crowd since its beginnings. It was dubbed the youngest known planetary nebula in 1998 after Hubble caught a rare peek at the central star’s final stages of life. Now, twenty years after its first snapshot, the Stingray nebula is capturing the attention of astronomers again for a very different reason. Images from 2016 show a nebula that has drastically faded over the last two decades. Additionally, shells of gas that surrounded the central star have changed, no longer as crisp as

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Released: 3-Dec-2020 8:15 AM EST
University of North Dakota astronomers discover source of many meteorites
University of North Dakota

Every meteoroid has a story to tell; before they flash across our sky, the celestial objects have traveled around the solar system for billions of miles and millions of years. And now, astronomers at the University of North Dakota may have found a key “origin story,” the source of 40 percent of the meteorites that fall to Earth. Those meteorites likely arose from a “cosmic crime scene” that took place in the distant past, in which an asteroid called (6) Hebe collided catastrophically with another asteroid, say Assistant Professor Sherry Fieber-Beyer and Professor Mike Gaffey of UND’s Space Studies Department.

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Released: 2-Dec-2020 2:00 PM EST
Best Region For Life on Mars Was Far Below Surface
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

The most habitable region for life on Mars would have been up to several miles below its surface, likely due to subsurface melting of thick ice sheets fueled by geothermal heat, a Rutgers-led study concludes. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, may help resolve what’s known as the faint young sun paradox – a lingering key question in Mars science.

Newswise: Hubble Catches Possible 'Shadow Play' of the Disk Around a Black Hole
Released: 19-Nov-2020 10:00 AM EST
Hubble Catches Possible 'Shadow Play' of the Disk Around a Black Hole
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

This Hubble image of a disk of material feeding a monster black hole in nearby galaxy IC 5063 may be casting its shadow into space. The shadow is interspersed with bright rays that extend across the galaxy. This unique effect offers insight into the structure of the disk.

Newswise: The solar system took less than 200,000 years to form
11-Nov-2020 5:10 PM EST
The solar system took less than 200,000 years to form
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

A long time ago – roughly 4.5 billion years – our sun and solar system formed over the short time span of 200,000 years. That is the conclusion of a group of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists after looking at isotopes of the element molybdenum found on meteorites.

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Released: 12-Nov-2020 10:00 AM EST
NASA's Hubble Sees Unexplained Brightness from Colossal Explosion
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

Following up on an enormous gamma ray burst detected by Swift in May, Hubble astronomers believe they've viewed the glow of a kilonova, the aftermath of a colossal explosion caused by the merger of two neutron stars that formed a magnetar. The near-infrared emission seen by Hubble was 10 times brighter than predicted.

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Released: 6-Nov-2020 1:10 PM EST
Astronomers discover clues that unveil the mystery of fast radio bursts
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)

Fast radio bursts, or FRBs - powerful, millisecond-duration radio waves coming from deep space outside the Milky Way Galaxy - have been among the most mysterious astronomical phenomena ever observed.

Newswise: NASA’s Webb To Examine Objects in the Graveyard of the Solar System
Released: 28-Oct-2020 10:05 AM EDT
NASA’s Webb To Examine Objects in the Graveyard of the Solar System
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

In the distant reaches of the solar system lies a region called the Kuiper Belt. Beyond the orbit of Neptune, this ring of icy bodies is left over from the early days of planet formation. NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will examine an assortment of these objects shortly after its launch in 2021.

Newswise:Video Embedded astronomers-are-bulging-with-data
Released: 27-Oct-2020 2:30 PM EDT
Astronomers are Bulging with Data
NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory

For the first time, over 250 million stars in our galaxy’s bulge have been surveyed in near-ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared light, opening the door for astronomers to reexamine key questions about the Milky Way’s formation and history. Using ultraviolet data, and with 450,000 individual images, the team was able to measure the chemical composition of tens of thousands of stars spanning a large area of the bulge. The vast dataset can be explored in spectacular detail in this image.

Released: 21-Oct-2020 11:30 AM EDT
Smile, wave: Some exoplanets may be able to see us, too
Cornell University

Three decades after Cornell astronomer Carl Sagan suggested that Voyager 1 snap Earth’s picture from billions of miles away – resulting in the iconic Pale Blue Dot photograph – two astronomers now offer another unique cosmic perspective: Some exoplanets – planets from beyond our own solar system – have a direct line of sight to observe Earth’s biological qualities from far, far away.

Newswise: Evidence of Broadside Collision With Dwarf Galaxy Discovered in Milky Way
Released: 20-Oct-2020 10:30 AM EDT
Evidence of Broadside Collision With Dwarf Galaxy Discovered in Milky Way
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Astrophysicists announced today that a 3-billion year old merger between a dwarf galaxy and the Milky Way produced a series of telltale shell-like formations of stars in the vicinity of the Virgo constellation, the first such “shell structures” to be found in the Milky Way.

Newswise:Video Embedded simulations-show-webb-telescope-can-reveal-distant-galaxies-hidden-in-quasars-glare
Released: 14-Oct-2020 10:05 AM EDT
Simulations Show Webb Telescope Can Reveal Distant Galaxies Hidden in Quasars’ Glare
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

A new theoretical study examines how well NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, slated for launch in 2021, will be able to separate the light of host galaxies from the bright central quasar. The researchers find that Webb could detect host galaxies that existed just 1 billion years after the big bang.

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Released: 5-Oct-2020 12:40 PM EDT
Looking Sharp: Most Detailed Image Yet of Famous Stellar Nursery
NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory

Astronomers using the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, have captured the western wall of the Carina Nebula in unprecedented detail in a compelling image released today. The image reveals a number of unusual structures in the nebula. The exquisite detail revealed in the image is in part due to a technology known as adaptive optics, which resulted in a ten-fold improvement in the sharpness of the research team’s observations.

Newswise: Hubble Captures Crisp New Portrait of Jupiter's Storms
Released: 17-Sep-2020 1:10 PM EDT
Hubble Captures Crisp New Portrait of Jupiter's Storms
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

More massive than all the other planets combined, Jupiter truly is the king of our solar system. The swirling clouds, arranged in colorful, banded structures, change from year to year. The rich colors are produced by trace compounds in Jupiter’s predominantly hydrogen/helium atmosphere. Hurricane-force winds propel these clouds, and upwelling currents are ablaze with lightning bolts far more powerful than those seen on Earth. The Hubble Space Telescope serves as a “weather satellite” for monitoring Jupiter’s stormy weather. The iconic Great Red Spot, a storm big enough to swallow Earth, shows that it’s shrinking a little in the Hubble images, but it still dominates the entire southern atmosphere, plowing through the clouds like a cargo ship. Hubble astronomers patiently wait to get close-up snapshots as Earth make its nearest annual approach to Jupiter – an astronomical alignment called an opposition, when Jupiter is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun.

11-Sep-2020 3:25 PM EDT
Research reveals an enormous planet quickly orbiting a tiny, dying star
University of Wisconsin-Madison

MADISON – Thanks to a bevy of telescopes in space and on Earth — and even a pair of amateur astronomers in Arizona — a University of Wisconsin–Madison astronomer and his colleagues have discovered a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting at breakneck speed around a distant white dwarf star.

Newswise: Engineers developing high-speed light detectors for closer look at the sun
Released: 14-Sep-2020 4:15 PM EDT
Engineers developing high-speed light detectors for closer look at the sun
University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame researchers will use data from the new high-speed light detectors to determine the temperature of the sun’s lower atmosphere, measure the spectrum of solar flares and gain a better understanding of the role magnetic fields play in solar flare generation.

Newswise: Hints of life on Venus
Released: 14-Sep-2020 4:05 PM EDT
Hints of life on Venus
Royal Astronomical Society

n international team of astronomers, led by Professor Jane Greaves of Cardiff University, today announced the discovery of a rare molecule - phosphine - in the clouds of Venus. On Earth, this gas is only made industrially, or by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments.

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