Moon's Formation a Hit-and-Run Scenario

Moon’s Formation a Hit-and-Run Scenario

  A new theory of lunar formation suggests Earth was the victim of a hit-and-run incident — and that the culprit may still be at large. Computer simulations suggest a large, fast-moving body impacted the Earth to create the Moon. The origin of the Moon is one of the more important problems for planetary geologists and [continue reading]

The Brightest Stars Have a Close Companion

The Brightest Stars Have a Close Companion

A new study using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) has shown that most very bright high-mass stars, which drive the evolution of galaxies, do not live alone. Almost three-quarters of these stars are found to have a close companion star, far more than previously thought. Surprisingly most of these pairs are [continue reading]

Distant Planetary System is Just as 'Neat' as Ours

Distant Planetary System is Just as ‘Neat’ as Ours

  Researchers measure the orientation of a multiplanet system and find it very similar to our own Solar System. In this artist interpretation, the planet Kepler-30c is transiting one of the large starspots that frequently appear on the surface of its host star. The authors used these spot-crossing events to show that the orbits of [continue reading]

Two Solar System Puzzles Solved

Two Solar System Puzzles Solved

  Comets and asteroids preserve the building blocks of our Solar System and should help explain its origin. But there are unsolved puzzles. For example, how did icy comets obtain particles that formed at high temperatures, and how did these refractory particles acquire rims with different compositions? Carnegie’s theoretical astrophysicist Alan Boss and cosmochemist Conel [continue reading]

Mars Orbiter Repositioned to Phone Home Mars Landing

Mars Orbiter Repositioned to Phone Home Mars Landing

  NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft has successfully adjusted its orbital location to be in a better position to provide prompt confirmation of the August landing of the Curiosity rover. NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft passes above Mars’ south pole in this artist’s concept. The spacecraft has been orbiting Mars since October 24, 2001. Image credit: NASA/JPL [continue reading]

A Pulsar with a Tremendous Hiccup

A Pulsar with a Tremendous Hiccup

  Scientists discover a young and energetic neutron star with an unusually irregular rotation   Pulsars are superlative cosmic beacons. These compact neutron stars rotate about their axes many times per second, emitting radio waves and gamma radiation into space. Using ingenious data analysis methods, researchers from the Max Planck Institutes for Gravitational Physics and [continue reading]