astronomy

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Jupiter's Red Spot Isn't What We Thought It Was

Researchers re-create phenomenon in lab

(Newser) - Scientists have made their own version of Jupiter's Great Red Spot in a lab, and it suggests that the spot's cause is very different from what's been postulated. An existing theory holds that the spot is the result of chemicals underneath the planet's clouds. But following... More »

Rapidly Vanishing in America: Dark Spots

In a decade, Milky Way could be visible from just 3 places

(Newser) - Even in the vastness of the American West, the glow from cities has become so bright that places with truly dark skies at night are becoming an endangered species. In the continental US, experts predict that in a decade, there will be just three areas where the sky will be... More »

Milky Way Is a 'Galactic Lightweight'

Same-sized neighbor Andromeda has twice the mass

(Newser) - If our galaxy were a boxer, it would have just slipped down a few weight classes—and would be no match for our neighbor Andromeda. New research has revealed that the Milky Way, while still mind-bogglingly vast, is only around half the weight of the Andromeda galaxy, which is about... More »

'Supermoon' Arrives Tomorrow

And for New Yorkers, it's time again for Manhattanhenge

(Newser) - Look, up in the sky. It's ... supermoon. A full moon with that somewhat inflated title arrives tomorrow. As CNN explains, a supermoon is a full moon that happens to occur when the moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit. These full moons tend to look... More »

We Got Earth's Birthday Wrong by 60M Years

Same goes for the moon, say scientists

(Newser) - The planet we're living on is about 60 million years older than previously thought. So say scientists in France who studied quartz from Australia and South Africa that dates back about 3 billion years, reports Phys.org . The ratio of gases in the quartz compared to today's ratios... More »

California Undergrad Makes Astronomy Breakthrough

No term exists for Michael Sandoval's stellar discovery

(Newser) - At just 21 years old, a California college student has made an incredible discovery: Michael Sandoval and his astrophysics professor at San Jose State have spotted what they believe is one galaxy that was swallowed up by another. The result is a dense system of stars—apparently the densest ever... More »

Amazing Simulation Shows How Universe Formed

'Dark matter' helps create accurate model, researchers say

(Newser) - It's like "flying through the universe way faster than the speed of light and watching galaxies as they are assembling," says one of the researchers who has created a stunning visual simulation of how the universe formed. The "Illlustris" model created by an international team of... More »

Tiny 'Fossil Galaxy' Could Hold Clues to Early Universe

Segue 1 apparently stopped evolving 13B years ago

(Newser) - One of our galactic neighbors, the tiny Segue 1, could be among the first galaxies ever to take shape—and it may present an opportunity for scientists to examine our universe as an infant. Segue 1's chemical composition suggests it stopped evolving some 13 billion years ago, Scientific American... More »

Moon Gets a New Birthday

Formation happened later than thought, study says

(Newser) - The cataclysmic event that formed the moon happened much later than previously believed, according to researchers who have shifted the satellite's "birthday" forward around 60 million years. New computer simulations and analysis of elements in the Earth's crust suggest that the moon formed 95 million years after... More »

Solar System First: Asteroid With Rings

'Centaur' has only rings seen outside gas giants

(Newser) - Only five bodies in the solar system are known to have rings: The gas giants Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, and Uranus—and Chariklo, a remote asteroid just 154 miles across. Astronomers say they were amazed to spot two rings made up of billion of bits of dust and ice circling the... More »

Earth Once Slammed by 'Double Impact'

Scientists: Asteroid, moon made impact at same time 458M years ago

(Newser) - Around 15% of near-Earth asteroids are binaries—an asteroid with an orbiting "moon" sometimes nearly as big as itself—but what happens when a binary slams into our planet? The answer, at least some of the time, is the creation of two huge craters, and Spanish researchers believe they... More »

Astronomers Spot Oldest Star Yet

13.6B-year-old star is in our galaxy

(Newser) - At 13.6 billion years old, a star spotted by Australian astronomers is the oldest yet found, they say. It's about 6,000 light years away from our planet—which is fairly close, the Wall Street Journal reports, and it's in our Milky Way galaxy. How do the... More »

The North Star Is Changing

Polaris getting brighter over the centuries

(Newser) - Polaris is famed for its consistency, but the North Star we see today is brighter than it was in the 1800s. In fact, if historical records are correct, the star has gotten about 2.5 times brighter over the course of the past two centuries, researcher Scott Engle tells Space.... More »

Dark Side of Moon Is ... Turquoise

Astronomers say they've seen its true color for 1st time

(Newser) - Pink Floyd fans take note: The side of the moon referred to as the "dark side" is actually turquoise, astronomers say. Researchers found that the moon's far side is lit by faint blue light reflected from Earth that becomes turquoise as it is reflected back once again, the... More »

For 2nd Time Ever, We Saw an Asteroid Before It Hit Us

And that's not the only impressive part

(Newser) - While working a solo shift on New Year's Eve, an Arizona astronomer spotted a car-sized asteroid en route to Earth. There are a few amazing things about this: 1) It's only the second time ever that an asteroid has been spotted before impact, and 2) The previous one... More »

Astronomers May Have Found a Milestone Moon

It could be the first 'exomoon' detected around an exoplanet

(Newser) - Astronomers have found plenty of Earth-like planets out there in deep space, but so far they haven't found a moon orbiting one of them. Until now, maybe. Scientists might have detected one in orbit around a planet in the constellation Sagittarius, reports Nature . If so, it's the first... More »

There's Hope for 'Comet of the Century'

ISON may have survived trip around sun after all

(Newser) - A comet that gained an earthly following because of its bright tail visible from space was initially declared dead after essentially grazing the sun. Now, there is a silver of hope that Comet ISON may have survived. New images, basically faint smudges on a screen, being analyzed today showed a... More »

'Comet of the Century' Likely Didn't Survive Sun Encounter

Scientists think ISON broke up into pieces

(Newser) - Scientists say it appears a comet from the fringes of the solar system didn't survive its close encounter with the sizzling sun. Images from NASA spacecraft showed Comet ISON approaching for its slingshot around the sun today, but nothing coming out on the other side. In a Google+ hangout,... More »

'Holiday Comet' Could Put on Dazzling Show

... or the sun could utterly destroy it on Thanksgiving

(Newser) - Stargazers might be in for a holiday treat: The comet ISON's million-year journey toward the sun will reach its climax on Thanksgiving, when it will either slingshot around the sun or be destroyed by solar radiation. If ISON survives, astronomers believe it could provide a spectacular show during December,... More »

Future Nobel? Neutrinos Discovery Heralds 'New Era for Astronomy'

They were found at the South Pole, and they're out of this world

(Newser) - Scientists at the South Pole have found visitors from outside our solar system, but instead of little green men, think "ghostly neutrino particles," in the words of Space.com . Twenty-eight of them to be exact, all detected by a special observatory called IceCube in Antarctica. Ars Technica has... More »

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