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Tag Archives: Astronomy

A.I. Finds a New Way to Build Multiple-Star Systems

A false-color image of NGC 6334 from multiple telescopes. The area is believed to be a hotspot of furious star birth. Credit: S. Willis (CfA+ISU); ESA/Herschel; NASA/JPL-Caltech/ Spitzer; CTIO/NOAO/AURA/NSF Over over 50% of high mass stars reside in multiple star systems. But due to their complex orbital interactions, physicists have a difficult time understanding just how stable and long-lived these ...

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Astronomers use Earthquakes to Understand Glitches on Neutron Stars

Simulation of a possible quadrupole magnetic field configuration for a pulsar with hot spots in only the southern hemisphere. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center A team of astronomers have used a model of earthquakes to understand glitches in the timing of pulsars. Their results suggest that pulsars may have interiors that are far stranger than can be imagined. Pulsars ...

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How Can We Know if We’re Looking at Habitable exo-Earths or Hellish exo-Venuses?

The differences between Earth and Venus are obvious to us. One is radiant with life and adorned with glittering seas, and the other is a scorching, glowering hellhole, its volcanic surface shrouded by thick clouds and visible only with radar. But the difference wasn’t always clear. In fact, we used to call Venus Earth’s sister planet. Can astronomers tell exo-Earths ...

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This Binary System is Destined to Become a Kilonova

Kilonovae are extraordinarily rare. Astronomers think there are only about 10 of them in the Milky Way. But they’re extraordinarily powerful and produce heavy elements like uranium, thorium, and gold. Usually, astronomers spot them after they’ve merged and emitted powerful gamma-ray bursts (GRBs.) But astronomers using the SMARTS telescope say they’ve spotted a kilonova progenitor for the first time. A ...

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Don’t Bother Trying to Destroy Rubble Pile Asteroids

The asteroids in our Solar System are survivors. They’ve withstood billions of years of collisions. The surviving asteroids are divided into two groups: monolithic asteroids, which are intact chunks of planetesimals, and rubble piles, which are made of up fragments of shattered primordial asteroids. It turns out there are far more rubble pile asteroids than we thought, and that raises ...

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The Outer Solar System Supplied a Surprising Amount of Earth’s Water

In a recent study published in Science, a team of researchers at Imperial College London examined 18 meteorites containing the volatile element zinc to help determine their origin, as it has been long hypothesized that Earth’s volatiles materials, including water, were derived from asteroids closer to our home planet. However, their results potentially indicate a much different origin story. Credit: ...

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Astronomers Find 25 Fast Radio Bursts That Repeat on a Regular Basis

Like Gravitational Waves (GWs) and Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs), Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are one of the most powerful and mysterious astronomical phenomena today. These transient events consist of bursts that put out more energy in a millisecond than the Sun does in three days. While most bursts last mere milliseconds, there have been rare cases where FRBs were found repeating. ...

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Does Failing to Detect Aliens Mean We’ll Never Be Contacted?

Image of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Parkes radio telescope taken in 1969. (Credit: CSIRO; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.) In a recent paper submitted to The Astronomical Journal in November 2022, a scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne quantifies how the Earth has not heard a radio signal from ...

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It’s Already Hard Enough to Block a Single Star’s Light to See its Planets. But Binary Stars? Yikes

Detecting exoplanets was frontier science not long ago. But now we’ve found over 5,000 of them, and we expect to find them around almost every star. The next step is to characterize these planets more fully in hopes of finding ones that might support life. Directly imaging them will be part of that effort. But to do that, astronomers need ...

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