Huge tornadoes discovered on the Sun

Huge tornadoes discovered on the Sun

Solar tornadoes several times as wide as the Earth can be generated in the solar atmosphere, say researchers in the UK. A solar tornado was discovered using the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly telescope on board the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) satellite. A movie of the tornado will be presented at the National Astronomy Meeting 2012 in [continue reading]

Is it snowing microbes on Enceladus?

Is it snowing microbes on Enceladus?

There’s a tiny moon orbiting beyond Saturn’s rings that’s full of promise, and maybe — just maybe — microbes. In a series of tantalizingly close flybys to the moon, named “Enceladus”,  NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has revealed watery jets erupting from what may be a vast underground sea. These jets, which spew through cracks in the [continue reading]

Many Billions of Rocky Planets in the Habitable Zones around Red Dwarfs in the Milky Way

Many Billions of Rocky Planets in the Habitable Zones around Red Dwarfs in the Milky Way

A new result from ESO’s HARPS planet finder shows that rocky planets not much bigger than Earth are very common in the habitable zones around faint red stars. The international team estimates that there are tens of billions of such planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone, and probably about one hundred in the Sun’s [continue reading]

Powerhouse in the Crab Nebula

Powerhouse in the Crab Nebula

MAGIC telescopes measure the highest-energy gamma rays from a pulsar to date, calling theory into question   The pulsar at the centre of the famous Crab Nebula is a veritable bundle of energy. This was now confirmed by the two MAGIC Telescopes on the Canary island of La Palma. They observed the pulsar in the [continue reading]

New evidence that comets deposited building blocks of life on primordial Earth

New evidence that comets deposited building blocks of life on primordial Earth

New research reported yesterday at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) provides further support for the idea that comets bombarding Earth billions of years ago carried and deposited the key ingredients for life to spring up on the planet.   New research supports theories that comets striking Earth set [continue reading]

Mars' Vast Fields of Glass

Mars’ Vast Fields of Glass

The surface of Mars exhibits numerous lava flows and other signs of effusive volcanism. Although models suggest that explosive volcanism should also have produced extensive deposits, direct evidence for large-scale explosive volcanism has been scarce.A new study by Briony Horgan and James F. Bell III at Arizona State University of the mineralogy of dark regions [continue reading]