At a cosmologically crisp one degree Kelvin (minus 458 degrees Fahrenheit), the Boomerang Nebula is the coldest known object in the Universe - colder than the faint afterglow of the Big Bang, which is the natural background temperature of space. Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope have taken a new look at this intriguing object to learn more about its frigid properties and to determine its true shape, which has an eerily ghost-like appearance.
In an ambitious collaborative program, called The Frontier Fields, NASA's Great Observatories are teaming up to look deeper into the universe than ever before. With a boost from natural 'zoom lenses' found in space, they should be able to uncover galaxies that are as much as 100 times fainter than what the Hubble, Spitzer, and Chandra space telescopes can typically see.
Just 13 days in space may be enough to cause profound changes in eye structure and gene expression, report researchers. Their study is the first to examine eye-related gene expression and cell behavior after spaceflight.
Planets are formed in disks of gas and dust around nascent stars. Now, observations have produced a rare view of a planetary construction site in an intermediate state of evolution: Contrary to expectations, the disk around the star HD 21997 appears to contain both primordial gas left over from the formation of the star itself and dust that appears to have been produced in collisions between planetesimals.
Perimeter Institute Associate Faculty member Avery Broderick will explore how astronomers are now imaging the horizons of black holes and attaining new insights about these enigmatic monsters in the dark.
NASA's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) has made history using a pulsed laser beam to transmit data over the 239,000 miles between the moon and Earth at a record-breaking download rate of 622 megabits per second (Mbps).
Wildfire detection today is much like it was 200 years ago, relying primarily on humans to spot smoke plumes or flames. UC Berkeley experts in fires, satellites and remote sensing now say that the technology is ripe for a fire-spotting satellite that could snap images of the US West every few seconds to detect fires before they spread with few false alarms. The cost would be a fraction of the country's annual fire-fighting budget.
A newly published paper by three UC San Diego astrophysics researchers for the first time provides an explanation for the origin of three observed correlations between various properties of molecular clouds in the Milky Way galaxy known as Larson's Laws.
In preparation for its final switch-off on 23 October, mission controllers today fired Planck's thrusters to empty its fuel tanks. The burn is one of the final steps to ensure that Planck ends its hugely successful mission in a permanently safe configuration.