Solar storms trigger Jupiter’s intense ‘Northern Lights’ by generating a new X-ray aurora that is eight times brighter than normal and hundreds of times more energetic than Earth’s aurora borealis, finds new UCL-led research using NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory.(more…)
The ruddy color of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is likely a product of simple chemicals being broken apart by sunlight in the planet’s upper atmosphere, according to a new analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini mission. The results contradict the other leading theory for the origin of the spot’s striking color — that the reddish chemicals come from beneath Jupiter’s clouds. (more…)
ALMA beobachtet Ezechiels „Rad im Rad” aus Staub und Gas
Wissenschaftler haben mit ALMA zum ersten Mal einen Gastrom beobachtet, der von einer massereichen äußeren Scheibe hin zu den inneren Bereichen eines Doppelsternsystems fließt. Dieser noch nie zuvor dokumentierte Vorgang könnte dafür sorgen, dass eine zweite kleinere planetenbildende Scheibe, die ansonsten vor langer Zeit verschwunden wäre, aufrecht erhalten wird. Die Hälfte aller sonnenähnlichen Sterne werden in Doppelsternsystemen geboren, was zur Folge hat, dass diese neuen Befunde massive Auswirkungen auf die Exoplanetensuche haben werden. Die Forschungsergebnisse werden am 30. Oktober 2014 in der Fachzeitschrift Nature veröffentlicht. (more…)
NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first close-up look at Neptune and its moon Triton in the summer of 1989. Like an old film, Voyager’s historic footage of Triton has been “restored” and used to construct the best-ever global color map of that strange moon. The map, produced by Paul Schenk, a scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, has also been used to make a movie recreating that historic Voyager encounter, which took place 25 years ago, on August 25, 1989. (more…)
The largest moon in our solar system, a companion to Jupiter named Ganymede, might have ice and oceans stacked up in several layers like a club sandwich, according to new NASA-funded research that models the moon’s makeup.
Previously, the moon was thought to harbor a thick ocean sandwiched between just two layers of ice, one on top and one on bottom. (more…)
Washington, D.C.—The Solar System has a new most-distant member, bringing its outer frontier into focus.
New work from Carnegie’s Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory reports the discovery of a distant dwarf planet, called 2012 VP113, which was found beyond the known edge of the Solar System. This is likely one of thousands of distant objects that are thought to form the so-called inner Oort cloud. What’s more, their work indicates the potential presence of an enormous planet, perhaps up to 10 times the size of Earth, not yet seen, but possibly influencing the orbit of 2012 VP113, as well as other inner Oort cloud objects. (more…)
One of the greatest mysteries facing humans is how life originated on Earth. Scientists have determined approximately when life began (roughly 3.8 billion years ago), but there is still intense debate about exactly how life began. One possibility has grown in popularity in the last two decades – that simple metabolic reactions emerged near ancient seafloor hot springs, enabling the leap from a non-living to a living world.
Recent research by geochemists Eoghan Reeves, Jeff Seewald, and Jill McDermott at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is the first to test a fundamental assumption of this ‘metabolism first’ hypothesis, and finds that it may not have been as easy as previously assumed. Instead, their findings could provide a focus for the search for life on other planets. The work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.(more…)
Using images from NASA’s Voyager Mission (1979) and the orbital Galileo Mission (1995), researchers have created the first global geological map of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Scientists, including Brown University geologists and students, have completed the first global geological map of Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon and the largest in the solar system. (more…)