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

Ancient Planet in a Globular Cluster Core

by  NASA STScI and

: Illustration Courtesy NASA and G. Bacon (STScI) Long before our Sun and Earth ever existed, a Jupiter-sized planet formed around a sun-like star. Now, 13 billion years later, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has precisely measured the mass of this farthest and oldest known planet. The ancient planet has had a remarkable history because it has wound up in an unlikely, rough neighborhood. It orbits a peculiar pair of burned-out stars in the crowded core of a globular star cluster. The new Hubble findings close a decade of speculation and debate as to the true nature of this ancient world, which takes a century to complete each orbit. The planet is 2.5 times the mass of Jupiter. Its very existence provides tantalizing evidence that the first planets were formed rapidly, within a billion years of the Big Bang, leading astronomers to conclude that planets may be very abundant in the universe.

The planet now lies in the core of the ancient globular star cluster M4, located 5,600 light-years away in the summer constellation Scorpius. Globular clusters are deficient in heavier elements because they formed so early in the universe that heavier elements had not been cooked up in abundance in the nuclear furnaces of stars. Some astronomers have therefore argued that globular clusters cannot contain planets. This conclusion was bolstered in 1999 when Hubble failed to find close-orbiting 'hot Jupiter'-type planets around the stars of the globular cluster 47 Tucanae. Now, it seems that astronomers were just looking in the wrong place, and that gas-giant worlds orbiting at greater distances from their stars could be common in globular clusters.

It is likely that the planet is a gas giant, without a solid surface like the Earth. Because it was formed so early in the life of the universe, it probably doesn't have abundant quantities of elements such as carbon and oxygen. For these reasons, it is very improbable the planet would host life. Even if life arose on, for example, a solid moon orbiting the planet, it is unlikely to have survived the intense X-ray blast that would have accompanied the spin-up of the pulsar. Regrettably, it is unlikely that any civilization witnessed and recorded the dramatic history of this planet, which began at nearly the beginning of time itself.

A speck from a comet? Displayed in a close-up under an electron microscope, this tiny bit ofcosmic dust may be our first sample of a passing comet. Less than one-tenth of a millimeter across, the particle is composed of millions ofeven tinier crystals.
It's Dusty Out There

There is no lower limit to the size of the solid particles that move around the Sun. Small asteroids grade downward into large meteoroids and then into smaller pebbles and so on down to the tiniest pa ...
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Global mosaic of 102 Viking 1 Orbiter images of Mars taken on orbit 1,334, 22 February 1980. The images are projected into point perspective, representing what a viewer would see from a spacecraft at an altitude of 2,500 km.
Exploring The 'Red Planet'

The planet Mars, sometimes called the 'Red Planet', has been an object of study for many centuries. The distinctive reddish color of the planet led some cultures to associate Mars with bloodshed and w ...
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Hubble Space Telescope in orbit as seen from the Space Shuttle.
Big Fish

The phrase 'big fish eat little fish' may hold true when it comes to planets and stars. Perhaps as many as 100 million of the sun-like stars in our galaxy harbor close-orbiting gas giant planets like ...
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Science Quote

'If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.'

Isaac Newton

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