The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but modeling by scientists suggests that, over the eons, periodic storms of solar energetic particles may have significantly altered the properties of the soil in the moon's coldest craters through the process of sparking - a finding that could change our understanding of the evolution of planetary surfaces in the solar system.
The whirlpool galaxy M51 in a distance of approximately 30 million light years appears almost face-on and displays a beautiful system of spiral arms. A European team of astronomers observed M51 with the LOFAR Telescope in the frequency range 115-175 MHz and obtained the most sensitive galaxy image at frequencies below 1 GHz so far.
This image, captured by the Wide Field Imager at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile, shows two dramatic star formation regions in the Milky Way. The first, on the left, is dominated by the star cluster NGC 3603, located 20 000 light-years away, in the Carina-Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way. The second, is a collection of glowing gas clouds known as NGC 3576 that lies about half as far from Earth.
A new ovoid structure discovered in the Nakhla Martian meteorite is made of nanocrystalline iron-rich clay, contains a variety of minerals, and shows evidence of undergoing a past shock event from impact. Results of a broad range of analytical studies to determine the origin of this new structure and how these findings impact the field of astrobiology now have been published.
The largest catalog ever produced for stellar compositions is critical to understanding the properties of stars, how they form, and possible connections with orbiting planets. And it shows that the compositions of nearby stars aren't as uniform as once thought.
Astronomers have accurately measured - and thus confirmed the existence of - a rare intermediate-mass black hole about 400 times the mass of our sun in a galaxy 12 million light years from the Milky Way. The finding uses a technique never applied in this way before, and opens the door to new studies of these mysterious objects.
An international team of sky scholars has produced new maps of the material located between the stars in the Milky Way. The results should move astronomers closer to cracking a stardust puzzle that has vexed them for nearly a century.
A research team studied near-Earth asteroid 1950 DA and discovered that the body, which rotates so quickly it defies gravity, is held together by cohesive forces called van der Waals, never detected before on an asteroid.
NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has captured an extreme and rare event in the regions immediately surrounding a supermassive black hole. A compact source of X-rays that sits near the black hole, called the corona, has moved closer to the black hole over a period of just days.
Scientists hunting for life beyond Earth have discovered more than 1,800 planets outside our solar system, or exoplanets, in recent years, but so far, no one has been able to confirm an exomoon. Now, physicists believe following a trail of radio wave emissions may lead them to that discovery.
An international team of scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has made incredible 3D images of the ghostly atmospheres surrounding comets ISON and Lemmon. These new observations provided important insights into how and where comets forge new chemicals, including intriguing organic compounds.