Two million years ago a supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy erupted in an explosion so immensely powerful that it lit up a cloud 200,000 light years away, a team of researchers led by the University of Sydney has revealed.
Responding to a space exploration roadmap recently released by NASA and the International Space Exploration Coordination Group that calls for robotic and human missions to near-Earth asteroids, the Moon and Mars, Srilanth Saripalli argues that most of the arguments in favor of manned space exploration are based on near-sighted assumptions about emerging developments in robotics.
Since the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts, scientists believed these belts consisted of two rings of highly charged particles. In February, scientists reported the discovery of a previously unknown third radiation ring - a narrow ring that briefly circled the Earth for a month. UCLA space scientists have successfully modeled and explained the unprecedented behavior of this third ring, and show that its energetic particles are driven by very different physics than the others.
Since 2000, the four identical satellites of the Cluster quartet have been probing Earth's magnetosphere in three dimensions. This week, two of them made their closest-ever approach, just 4 km, enabling valuable data to be acquired with unprecedented detail.
Data from NASA's Curiosity rover has revealed the Martian environment lacks methane. This is a surprise to researchers because previous data reported by U.S. and international scientists indicated positive detections.
A team of astronomers has discovered enormous arms of hot gas in the Coma cluster of galaxies by using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton. These features, which span at least half a million light years, provide insight into how the Coma cluster has grown through mergers of smaller groups and clusters of galaxies to become one of the largest structures in the universe held together by gravity.
Researchers at EU-funded project AEROFAST ('Aerocapture for future space transportation') have successfully simulated a flight manoeuvre in which a space vehicle uses a planet's atmosphere to slow itself down.
On 16-17 September 2013 a scientific meeting in Geneva entitled 10 Years of Science with HARPS celebrated a decade of full operation of the High-Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) - the world's foremost planet hunter. The meeting paid tribute to the extraordinary scientific results HARPS has provided and the unrivalled window it opens onto one of the most exciting areas of current astronomical science - the search for and characterisation of planets around other stars.
The glowing jumble of gas clouds visible in this new image make up a huge stellar nursery nicknamed the Prawn Nebula. Taken using the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile, this may well be the sharpest picture ever taken of this object. It shows clumps of hot new-born stars nestled in among the clouds that make up the nebula.