Sunday, 26 October 2014

Astronomers Find Two Families of Comets Around Beta Pictoris

A French team of astronomers has discovered that two families of exocomets orbit the nearby star Beta Pictoris. The researchers used the HARPS instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile to make the most complete census of comets around another star ever created. "The expansive statistics of the comets that we observed with HARPS and the high quality of the instrument allowed us to distinguish two groups of detections," Flavien Kiefer of the Paris Institute of Astrophysics, lead author of the new study told "We found that these two groups were physically different and thus composed distinct families." The research was presented in a paper entitled "Two families of exocomets in the Beta Pictoris system" which is published in the journal Nature on Oct. 23.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Hidden Star Formation Found in a Protocluster

Astronomers have used the APEX telescope to probe a huge galaxy cluster that is forming in the early Universe and revealed that much of the star formation taking place is not only hidden by dust, but also occurring in unexpected places. The Spiderweb Galaxy (formally known as MRC 1138-262) and its surroundings have been studied for twenty years, using ESO and other telescopes, and is thought to be one of the best examples of a protocluster in the process of assembly, more than ten billion years ago. This is the first time that a full census of the star formation in such an object has been possible. "To obtain a full census requires a lot of observing time at a broad range of telescopes using different techniques. As the observing time is very expensive and hard to obtain, this can only be done in a few very carefully selected regions, such as the proto-cluster surrounding the Spiderweb Galaxy," Carlos De Breuck, APEX project scientist at ESO, and a co-author of the new study told

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Dark Matter Half What We Thought, Scientists Say

A new measurement of dark matter in the Milky Way has revealed there is half as much of the mysterious substance as previously thought. Australian astronomers used a method developed almost 100 years ago to discover that the weight of dark matter in our own galaxy is 800 billion times the mass of the Sun. They probed the edge of the Milky Way, looking closely, for the first time, at the fringes of the galaxy about 5 million trillion kilometres from Earth. Astrophysicist Dr Prajwal Kafle, from The University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, said we have known for a while that most of the Universe is hidden. “Stars, dust, you and me, all the things that we see, only make up about 4 per cent of the entire Universe,” he said. “About 25 per cent is dark matter and the rest is dark energy.”

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Polish Astronomers Discover Young Stellar Bridge in the Magellanic Clouds

Polish astronomers from the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) have discovered a young stellar bridge, that forms a continuous connection between the Magellanic Clouds. This finding is based on number density maps for stellar populations found in data gathered by OGLE. This is the most extensive optical survey of this region up to date. “We find that the young population is present mainly in the western half of the Magellanic Bridge area (MBR), which, together with the newly discovered young population in the eastern Bridge, form a continuous stream of stars connecting both galaxies along,” the researchers write in a paper published on Oct. 1. “The young population distribution is clumped, with one of the major densities close to the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), and the other, fairly isolated and located approximately midway between the Clouds, which we call the OGLE island.” The Magellanic Clouds comprise of two galaxies: the Large (LMC) and the Small Magellanic Cloud and are the closest to the Milky Way pair of interacting galaxies. The Clouds have always been of special interest to astronomers and they continue to play a significant role in our understanding of the Universe.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Legacy of Science

Since the dawn of time, man has interacted with the environment. Observation without interaction is and always was a logical impossibility. Questions ensue; answers have not always been forthcoming, although they do emerge through incremental shifts and the occasional bout of sudden inspiration. Scientists and researchers look for answers every day. It is the very pervading core and deļ¬nition of our vocation; much like that of a Philosopher. We pursue an almost primal need to understand the universe and thereby make people’s lives easier.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Put away the rattle of weapons in outer space!

NASA wants to be independent from the Russian Soyuz rocket. It is to be expected, says Judith Hartl. Political conflict in Ukraine, just accelerate the adoption of such a decision.

The announcement did not come suddenly. It was clear that the American space agency NASA has to announced a new space flights. Because it is obvious that there is gap since Shuttle flights are suspended 2011. As time went on, the astronauts to get to space station ISS, there are still only a Russian Soyuz rocket.

Dependable powerful device, which almost never failed. Technical difficulties, unlike the vulnerable and changing American shuttles, almost none. While it may be narrow and uncomfortable, the Soyuz is valid for the safest taxi in space. However, for each flight, NASA astronaut on had to set aside $ 50 million.

It was therefore a matter of days will appear more modern and more spacious alternative. In the middle of 2012, the head of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Jan Verner said he could not imagine that the private rocket company SpaceX and Boeing - which until now exclusively used for the transport of food to the ISS - rearrange the spacecraft.

Strained relationship

The political relationship between the United States and Russia in 2012 was harmonious cooperation in space was narrow, collegial and friendly. If that were so, and more, Americans would no doubt give themself more time, until they start making spacecraft.

But times have changed dramatically. Because of the crisis in Ukraine, the tone between the United States and Russia became rougher. Unfortunately, in the universe. Therefore, the announcement of the American NASA, again wants to fly with their rockets, should be seen in a political context.

Already in April, NASA was almost entirely cut off cooperation with Russia, in addition to the international space station. Now that private companies should help to get NASA out of the impasse. Technically they can do it, there is no doubt. SpaceX and Boeing have already been successfully transported to space things. In the meantime, many NASA engineers working for the two companies. But I happen to have some things that attract the attention of:

In late August, in Texas during testing exploded a rocket. After the accident, the CEO of SpaceX wrote on Twitter that the rockets are too complicated. And they are. To drive people into space, they have to be very, very safe. This takes time and NASA must provide it to companies. Testing must be continued without haste. For the life of astronauts should not be questioned because of the current political strife and vanity.

Responsible would have to ask themselves how far they want to go with the escalation of the conflict and the rattle of weapons. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, advised the United States to send astronauts to ISS with trampoline. On the other hand, the head of NASA believes that the world's leading nation in space exploration should not be dependent on any other country. But now it is. As well as Russia. One nation in the future will not be able to explore the universe itself. The best proof of this was the great work together Europeans, Russians and Americans on the international space station ISS. And to Mars can only join forces to arrive. And with all due respect: the best astronauts are also cosmonauts.  

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Researcher Advances a New Model for Dark Matter

Orange waves and blue rays represent the effect of quantum evaporation. Credit: University of Kansas / KU News Service
Astrophysicists believe that about 80 percent of the substance of our universe is made up of mysterious “dark matter” that can’t be perceived by human senses or scientific instruments. “Dark matter has not yet been detected in a lab. We infer about it from astronomical observations,” said Mikhail Medvedev, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Kansas, who has just published breakthrough research on dark matter that merited the cover of Physical Review Letters, the world’s most prestigious journal of physics research. Medvedev proposes a novel model of dark matter, dubbed “flavor-mixed multicomponent dark matter.” “Dark matter is some unknown matter, most likely a new elementary particle or particles beyond the Standard Model,” Medvedev said. “It has never been observed directly, but it reveals itself via gravity it produces in the universe. There are numerous experiments around the world aimed at finding it directly.”

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