In the pre-dawn hours of Nov. 10, astrophysicist Timothy Cook and his research team will be at the Army?s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, ready to launch a NASA-funded science experiment, called IMAGER, which has been five years in the making. They will use a Black Brant IX, an 18-foot-long two-stage sounding rocket capable of carrying up to 1,200 pounds of payload into suborbital flight.
Could it be that dark matter "halos" - the huge, invisible cocoons of mass that envelop entire galaxies and account for most of the matter in the universe ? aren't completely dark after all but contain a small number of stars? Astronomers from UCLA, UC Irvine and elsewhere make a case for that.
An international team of astronomers has carried out the first three-dimensional study of a cosmic filament of dark matter. Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the team discovered that the filament, which is part of the Cosmic Web, is fuelling one of the most massive galaxy clusters in the universe, and has a length of over 60 million light years.
Jupiter, the mythical god of sky and thunder, would certainly be pleased at all the changes afoot at his namesake planet. As the planet gets peppered continually with small space rocks, wide belts of the atmosphere are changing color, hotspots are vanishing and reappearing, and clouds are gathering over one part of Jupiter, while dissipating over another.
Radar images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal some new curiosities on the surface of Saturn's mysterious moon Titan, including a nearly circular feature that resembles a giant hot cross bun and shorelines of ancient seas.
The most likely source of the water locked inside soils on the moon's surface is the constant stream of charged particles from the sun known as the solar wind, a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues have concluded.
Eight billion years ago, rays of light from distant galaxies began their long journey to Earth. On Sept. 12, that ancient starlight found its way to a mountaintop in Chile, where the newly-constructed Dark Energy Camera - the most powerful sky-mapping machine ever created - captured and recorded it for the first time.
An eggplant the size of a basketball, and a cucumber half a meter long seem, at first glance, out of this world. They are, literally. Chinese scientists have created more than 120 varieties of plants by sending seeds into space over the past 25 years.
Life is made up of a series of complex organic molecules, including sugars. A team of astronomers led by researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute, have now observed a simple sugar molecule in the gas surrounding a young star and this discovery proves that the building blocks of life were already present during planet formation.
Gravitational waves, much like the recently discovered Higgs boson, are notoriously difficult to observe. Scientists first detected these ripples in the fabric of space-time indirectly, using radio signals from a pulsar-neutron star binary system. The find, which required exquisitely accurate timing of the radio signals, garnered its discoverers a Nobel Prize. Now a team of astronomers has detected the same effect at optical wavelengths, in light from a pair of eclipsing white dwarf stars.