sep 222012
Peering Into Coronal Prominence Cavities

  The Sun’s atmosphere dances. Giant columns of solar material – made of gas so hot that many of the electrons have been scorched off the atoms, turning it into a form of magnetized matter we call plasma – leap off the Sun’s surface, jumping and twisting. Sometimes these prominences of solar material, shoot off, [continue reading]

aug 092012
Lots of Dark Matter Near the Sun

  Astronomers at the University of Zürich and the ETH Zürich, together with other international researchers, have found large amounts of invisible “dark matter” near the Sun. Their results are consistent with the theory that the Milky Way Galaxy is surrounded by a massive “halo” of dark matter, but this is the first study of [continue reading]

aug 032012
On Evaporating Super-Earths it's Raining Pebbles

  Simulations of the vaporization of Earth-like planets tell planet-hunting astronomers what to look for in the atmospheres of candidate super-Earths. Scientists at Washington University have simulated the atmospheres of hot Earth-like planets, such as CoRoT-7b, shown here in an artist’s conception. CoRoT-7b orbits so close to its star that its starward side is an [continue reading]

mei 302012
Rosetta flyby uncovers complex history of asteroid Lutetia

  The long and tumultuous history of asteroid (21) Lutetia is revealed by a comprehensive analysis of the data gathered by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft when it flew past this large main-belt asteroid on 10 July 2010. New studies have revealed the asteroid’s surface morphology, composition and other properties in unprecedented detail. In particular, extensive studies [continue reading]

mei 252012
OSIRIS-REx Scientists Measure Yarkovsky Effect

  Scientists with the asteroid sample return mission, OSIRIS-REx *), have measured the mass and orbit of their destination asteroid, 1999 RQ36, with great accuracy. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will visit asteroid 1999 RQ36 and take a sample of pristine material and return it to Earth for analysis in 2023. Scientists with the University of Arizona-led asteroid [continue reading]