Astronomers have measured the passing of a super-Earth in front of a bright, nearby Sun-like star using a ground-based telescope for the first time. The transit of the exoplanet 55 Cancri e is the shallowest detected from the ground yet. Since detecting a transit is the first step in analyzing a planet's atmosphere, this success bodes well for characterizing the many small planets that upcoming space missions are expected to discover in the next few years.
Two donuts of seething radiation that surround Earth, called the Van Allen radiation belts, have been found to contain a nearly impenetrable barrier that prevents the fastest, most energetic electrons from reaching Earth.
The criteria for life on other planets is the focus of the 4th Australian Exoplanet Workshop, hosted by the University of Southern Queensland this week. The first in this series on exoplanets looks at the story so far in the search for life elsewhere in the universe.
Competitors have a shot at a share of $5 million in prize money and an opportunity to participate in space exploration and technology development, to include a chance at flying their very own CubeSat to the moon and beyond as secondary payload on the first integrated flight of NASA's Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.
How do galaxies like our Milky Way form, and just how do they evolve? Are galaxies affected by their surrounding environment? An international team of researchers proposes some answers. The researchers highlight the role of the 'cosmic web' on the evolution of galaxies that took place in the distant universe, a few billion years after the Big Bang.
A short but significant 'thud' was heard by the Cometary Acoustic Surface Sounding Experiment (CASSE) as Philae made its first touchdown on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The two-second recording from space is the very first of the contact between a man-made object with a comet upon landing.
A team of scientists hope to trace the origins of gamma-ray bursts with the aid of giant space 'microphones.' Researchers are trying to work out the possible sounds scientists might expect to hear when the ultra-sensitive LIGO and Virgo detectors are switched on in 2015.
Astronomers have discovered an object in space that might be a black hole catapulted out of a galaxy. Or, according to an alternative interpretation, it might be a giant star that is exploding over an exceptionally long period of several decades. In any case, one thing is certain: This mysterious object is something quite unique, a source of fascination for physicists the world over because of its potential to provide experimental confirmation of the much-discussed gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein.
Observations with ESO's Very Large Telescope have revealed alignments over the largest structures ever discovered in the universe. A research team has found that the rotation axes of the central supermassive black holes in a sample of quasars are parallel to each other over distances of billions of light-years. Also found was that the rotation axes of these quasars tend to be aligned with the structures in the cosmic web in which they reside.
For years physicists have been looking for the universe's elusive dark matter, but so far no one has seen any trace of it. Maybe we are looking in the wrong place? Now physicists from University of Southern Denmark propose a new technique to detect dark matter.
There is ample evidence that water once flowed on the surface of ancient Mars. But that evidence is difficult to reconcile with the latest generation of climate models that suggest Mars should have been eternally icy. A new study suggest that warming and water flow on Mars were probably episodic and related to ancient volcanic eruptions.
The everyday use of a GPS device might be to find your way around town or even navigate a hiking trail, but for two physicists, the Global Positioning System might be a tool in directly detecting and measuring dark matter, so far an elusive but ubiquitous form of matter responsible for the formation of galaxies.