Space Science News

Friday, September 6, 2013 - 23:55

The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is headed toward the moon after launching  on a Minataur V rocket Friday night from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The mission will study the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.


Friday, September 6, 2013 - 08:31

Bonn astronomers discover how the image of a distant quasar splits into multiple images by the effects of a cloud of ionized gas in our own Milky Way Galaxy. Such events were predicted as early as in the 1970s, but the first evidence for one now has come from observations performed with the telescope array VLBA and analysed in the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 19:17

Once every 30 years or so, or roughly one Saturnian year, a monster storm rips across the northern hemisphere of the ringed planet. In 2010, the most recent and only the sixth giant storm on Saturn observed by humans began stirring. It quickly grew to superstorm proportions, reaching 15,000 kilometers (more than 9,300 miles) in width and visible to amateur astronomers on Earth as a great white spot dancing across the surface of the planet.           


Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 08:52

For almost a century, the two major theories of physics have coexisted but have been irreconcilable: while Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity describes gravity and thus the world at large, quantum physics describes the world of atoms and elementary particles. Both theories work extremely well within their own boundaries; however, they break down, as currently formulated, in certain extreme regions, at extremely tiny distances, the so-called Planck scale, for example. Space and time thus have no meaning in black holes or, most notably, during the Big Bang.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 14:28

The three types of solar wind — coronal-hole-associated fast and cold wind, streamer-associated slow and hot wind, and interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) — have been differentiated by their composition and studied using ACE/SWICS observations from 1998 to 2005 (Zhao et al. GRL 2009 and ACE News #106). To continue this earlier study and to complete the picture of the near-Earth solar wind structure during the whole solar cycle, we extend this investigation to June 2011, covering the unusual solar minimum between solar cycles 23 and 24 (2007-2010) and the beginning years of solar cycle 24.


Monday, August 19, 2013 - 11:26

Researchers at MIT have discovered an Earth-sized exoplanet named Kepler 78b that whips around its host star in a mere 8.5 hours — one of the shortest orbital periods ever detected. The planet is extremely close to its star — its orbital radius is only about three times the radius of the star — and the scientists have estimated that its surface temperatures may be as high as 3,000 degrees Kelvin, or more than 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. In such a scorching environment, the top layer of the planet is likely completely melted, creating a massive, roiling ocean of lava.