As part of the PlanetS National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR), astronomers have come to measure the temperature of the atmosphere of an exoplanet with unequalled precision, by crossing two approaches.
While no one yet knows what's needed to build a habitable planet, it's clear that the interplay between the sun and Earth is crucial for making our planet livable - a balance between a sun that provides energy and a planet that can protect itself from the harshest solar emissions.
In one of the most comprehensive multi-observatory galaxy surveys yet, astronomers find that galaxies like our Milky Way underwent a stellar 'baby boom', churning out stars at a prodigious rate, about 30 times faster than today.
The Hubble Space Telescope has imaged a set of enigmatic quasar ghosts - ethereal green objects which mark the graves of these objects that flickered to life and then faded. The eight unusual looped structures orbit their host galaxies and glow in a bright and eerie goblin-green hue. They offer new insights into the turbulent pasts of these galaxies.
Some physicists have argued that black holes are the ultimate vault, sucking in information and then evaporating without leaving behind any clue as to what they once contained. A new study shows this perspective may be wrong. The research finds that information is not lost once it has entered a black hole, and presents explicit calculations showing how information is, in fact, preserved.
A team of scientists has a new explanation for the planet Mercury's dark, barely reflective surface. They suggest that a steady dusting of carbon from passing comets has slowly painted Mercury black over billions of years.
Stars form when gravity pulls together material within giant clouds of gas and dust. But gravity isn't the only force at work. Both turbulence and magnetic fields battle gravity, either by stirring things up or by channeling and restricting gas flows, respectively. New research focusing on magnetic fields shows that they influence star formation on a variety of scales, from hundreds of light-years down to a fraction of a light-year.
When galaxy clusters collide, their dark matters pass through each other, with very little interaction. Deepening the mystery, a study by scientists at EPFL and the University of Edinburgh challenges the idea that dark matter is composed of particles.
Astronomers using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory have found that dark matter does not slow down when colliding with each other. This means that it interacts with itself even less than previously thought. Researchers say this finding narrows down the options for what this mysterious substance might be.
If you could jump a spaceship out past Mars and Jupiter to Saturn, pass by its rings and somehow park on the planet's gaseous surface, how long would your day be there? This question, surprisingly, has not been precisely answered until now.