Physics & Astronomy News

<p>ESA Astronauts training in terrestrial lava tubes in Lanzarote during the PANGEA 2016 course. Credit: ESA/L. Ricci</p>
Lava Tubes: Human Habitats on the Moon and Mars?
Lava tubes, underground caves created by volcanic activity, could provide protected habitats large enough to house streets on Mars or even towns on the Moon.
<p>PR Image heic1715a</p>

<p>The binary asteroid 288P (artist’s impression)</p>
Hubble Discovers a Unique Type of Object in the Solar System
Astronomers have observed the intriguing characteristics of an unusual type of object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

<p>Professor Kyoung Jin Choi (left) and Yeon Soo Jung (right) are examining a wearable TEG. As shown right, the output voltage of the W-STEG attached to clothes was measured to be 52.3 mV.</p>
Wearable Solar Thermoelectric Generator
UNIST has introduced a new advanced energy harvesting system, capable of generating electricity by simply being attached to clothes, windows, and outer walls of a building.
<p>How Gravity Can Bend Starlight</p>

<p>This illustration reveals how the gravity of a white dwarf star warps space and bends the light of a distant star behind it.</p>

<p>White dwarfs are the burned-out remnants of normal stars. The Hubble Space Telescope captured images of the dead star, called Stein 2051 B, as it passed in front of a background star. During the close alignment, Stein 2051 B deflected the starlight, which appeared offset by about 2 milliarcseconds from its actual position. This deviation is so small that it is equivalent to observing an ant crawl across the surface of a quarter from 1,500 miles away. From this measurement, astronomers calculated that the white dwarf's mass is roughly 68 percent of the sun's mass.</p>

<p>Stein 2051 B resides 17 light-years from Earth. The background star is about 5,000 light-years away. The white dwarf is named for its discoverer, Dutch Roman Catholic priest and astronomer Johan Stein.</p>
Observation confirms Einsteins general theory of relativity.
Astronomers have used NASA Hubble Space Telescope to repeat a century-old test of Einsteins general theory of relativity

Gravitational Wave Kicks Monster Black Hole Out of Galactic Core
Astronomers have uncovered a supermassive black hole that has been propelled out of the center of a distant galaxy by what could be the awesome power of gravitational waves.
Milky Way-like Galaxies in Early Universe Embedded in 'Super Halos'
By harnessing the extreme sensitivity of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have directly observed a pair of Milky Way-like galaxies seen when the universe was only eight percent of its current age.
Finding the 'Ghost Particles' Might be More Challenging
Results from the NEOS experiment on sterile neutrinos differ partly from the theoretical expectations.

Science Facts

A Giant X-Ray Machine

by Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center and

: Image Image Courtesy NASA/U. Hamburg/J.Ness et al The first clear detection of X-rays from the giant, gaseous planet Saturn has been made with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Chandra's image shows that the X-rays are concentrated near Saturn's equator, a surprising result since Jupiter's X-ray emission is mainly concentrated near the poles. Existing theories cannot easily explain the intensity or distribution of Saturn's X-rays. Chandra observed Saturn for about 20 hours in April of 2003. The spectrum, or distribution with energy of the X-rays, was found to be very similar to that of X-rays from the Sun. The observed 90 megawatts of X-ray power from Saturn's equatorial region is roughly consistent with previous observations of the X-radiation from Jupiter's equatorial region. This suggests that both giant, gaseous planets reflect solar X-rays at unexpectedly high rates. Further observations of Jupiter will be needed to test this possibility.

The weak X-radiation from Saturn's south-polar region presents another puzzle (the north pole was blocked by Saturn's rings during this observation). Saturn's magnetic field, like that of Jupiter, is strongest near the poles. X-radiation from Jupiter is brightest at the poles because of auroral activity due to the enhanced interaction of high-energy particles from the Sun with its magnetic field. Since spectacular ultraviolet polar auroras have been observed to occur on Saturn, Ness and colleagues expected that Saturn's south pole might be bright in X-rays. It is not clear whether the auroral mechanism does not produce X-rays on Saturn, or for some reason concentrates the X-rays at the north pole.

The same team detected X-radiation from Saturn using the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton Observatory. Although these observations could not locate the X-rays on Saturn's disk, the intensity of the observed X-rays was very similar to what was found with Chandra and consistent with a marginal detection of X-rays from Saturn reported in 2000 using the German Roentgensatellite (ROSAT).

The Sun’s Corona

The White-Light Corona - The Corona is the Sun's outer atmosphere. It is visible during total eclipses of the Sun as a pearly white crown surrounding the Sun. The corona displays a variety of features ...
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Comet Borrelly as Seen By Deep Space 1
Stars With Long Hair

Throughout history, people have been both awed and alarmed by comets, stars with 'long hair' that appeared in the sky unannounced and unpredictably. We now know that comets are dirty-ice leftovers fro ...
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Nuclides & Isotopes

An atom that has an unbalanced ratio of neutrons to protons in the nucleus seeks to become more stable. The unbalanced or unstable atom tries to become more stable by changing the number of neutrons a ...
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Science Quote

'Beauty is a harmonious relation between something in our nature and the quality of the object which delights us.'

Blaise Pascal

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