Space Science News

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.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 10:55

With the help of asteroseismic data obtained by the CoRoT space telescope, scientists were able to determine the interior rotation of a Sun-like star – and characterise an exoplanet. Their calculations show that the star rotates about 2.3 times faster than the Sun, with the axis of rotation inclined at 30 degrees to our line of sight. The star, HD52265, is located more than 90 light years away in the constellation of Monoceros.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 07:18

Recent observations from April this year of the galactic centre have revealed that parts of the in-falling gas cloud, which was detected in 2011, have already swung past the black hole at the heart of our Milky Way. Due to the tidal force of the gravity monster, the gas cloud has become further stretched, with its front moving now already 500 km/s faster than its tail. The findings confirm earlier predictions: the cloud will come so close to the black hole in the course of the next year that it will be completely torn apart.


Monday, July 8, 2013 - 11:51

A normally staid University of Chicago scientist has stunned many of his colleagues with his radical solution to a 135-year-old mystery in cosmochemistry. As a cosmochemist, the University of Chicago’s Lawrence Grossman reconstructs the sequence of minerals that condensed from the solar nebula, the primordial gas cloud that eventually formed the sun and planets.


Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 16:04

An international team of researchers including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn have detected burst of radio waves that appear to have originated billions of light years away - when the Universe was just 6 to 9 billion years old. The researchers are still baffled about the origins of these emissions. In the future, they intend to use these flashes to probe the intergalactic space.


Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 14:51

Since the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts in in the Earth's upper atmosphere in 1958, space scientists have believed that these belts consisted of two doughnut-shaped rings of highly charged particles — an inner ring of high-energy electrons and energetic positive ions, and an outer ring of high-energy electrons.