Some 4.567 billion years ago, our solar system?s planets spawned from an expansive disc of gas and dust rotating around the sun. While similar processes are witnessed in younger solar systems throughout the Milky Way, the formative stages of our own solar system were believed to have taken twice as long to occur. Now, new research lead by the Centre for Star and Planet Formation at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, suggests otherwise. Indeed, our solar system is not quite as special as once believed.
NASA's car-sized rover, Curiosity, has taken significant steps toward understanding how Mars may have lost much of its original atmosphere. Learning what happened to the Martian atmosphere will help scientists assess whether the planet ever was habitable. The present atmosphere of Mars is 100 times thinner than Earth's.
The most-distant, super-luminous supernovae found to date have been observed by an international team, including Raymond Carlberg of the University of Toronto's Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics. The stellar explosions would have occurred at a time when the universe was much younger and probably soon after the Big Bang.
Solar systems with life-bearing planets may be rare if they are dependent on the presence of asteroid belts of just the right mass, according to a study by Rebecca Martin, a NASA Sagan Fellow from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and astronomer Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.
Astronomers using data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have made the most accurate measurement of starlight in the universe and used it to establish the total amount of light from all the stars that have ever shone, accomplishing a primary mission goal.
Globular star clusters are among the oldest objects in the Universe, and NGC 6362 cannot hide its age in this picture. The many yellowish stars in the cluster have already run through much of their lives and become red giant stars. But globular clusters are not static relics from the past - some curious stellar activities are still going on in these dense star cities.
The surface of the giant asteroid Vesta is weathering in a way that appears to be completely different from any other asteroid yet visited, according to new data recorded by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. This new type of space weathering suggests that there's something about Vesta - perhaps its mineral composition or its position in the solar system - that makes its surface environment fundamentally different from other asteroids studied thus far.
Millions of years ago fire and water forged the gypsum rocks locked in at Cuatro Ciénegas, a Mexican valley similar to the Martian crater where NASA's Rover Curiosity roams. A team of researchers have now analysed the bacterial communities that have survived in these inhospitable springs since the beginning of life on Earth.
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.