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Telescope

Space

Earth picks up asteroid traveling companion

An asteroid dubbed 2016 HO3 has recently been discovered that, whilst technically in orbit around the sun, is also spinning in its own merry dance around the Earth. Somewhere between 120 ft (40 m) and 300 ft (100 m) in size, our little travelling partner is estimated to have been in step with our orbit for about a hundred years now, and will continue to do so for at least many hundreds more. Too far away to be identified as a satellite to our planet, it is stable enough at the moment to be seen as a near-Earth companion body. Read More

Space

Essential feature of life detected outside our solar system

A molecule that exhibits a specific property associated with all life on Earth has been discovered in interstellar space for the first time. Displaying the quality of chirality, or "handedness", this molecule has a distinct one-way molecular geometry found only in biological building blocks like amino acids, proteins, and enzymes. This discovery may help provide answers to the origins of homochirality, whereby all a substance's molecules are of the same chiral form, and why it appears so important for biology.Read More

Space

Can an Earth-sized telescope show us what a black hole looks like?

With a gravitational pull so great not even light can escape, it's impossible to directly observe a black hole. But scientists have created a new algorithm that may allow astronomers to generate the first full image of a black hole. Using data collected from a connected array of radio telescopes around the world, the algorithm effectively turns the Earth into a gigantic radio telescope with a resolution factor more than a thousand times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.Read More

Space

Three newly discovered exoplanets prime candidates in search for life elsewhere in the Universe

Using a telescope especially designed to hunt exoplanets, a team of astronomers working at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered three planets orbiting a dwarf sun, just 40 light-years from Earth. According to the researchers, all three worlds are potentially habitable given their sizes and temperatures, and may be the best possibilities yet in the search for life beyond our solar system.
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Space

Breakthrough Listen Initiative starts sharing "search for ET" data

The first batch of data from a US$100 million effort to find signs of intelligent life beyond Earth has been released for public access. The Breakthrough Listen Initiative began making observations in January using the Green Bank Radio Telescope in West Virginia and Lick Observatory's Automated Planet Finder in California, and has posted what it's gathered so far on its website.Read More

Space

Black hole weighing 17 billion suns found in "cosmic backwater"

Black holes are a bit like celebrities — the larger they are, the more activity they have swirling about them. It came as some surprise then, when two NASA telescopes spied a supermassive black hole in a relatively quiet neighborhood of the universe. The gravity gobbler has the weight of 18 billion of our suns and is found in a giant elliptical galaxy that should have a much more impressive bulge of stars near its center for a black hole of that size.Read More

Space

Solar activity sparks powerful X-ray aurorae on Jupiter

Solar activity can prompt a massive increase in the intensity of Jupiter's polar aurorae, according to a new study drawing on data collected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Charged particles from a powerful solar storm were observed creating an impressive light show as they struck the Jovian planet in October 2011.Read More

Space

Charge injection device boosts chances of detecting Earth-like planets near bright stars

The quest to find small, Earth-like exoplanets isn't just a matter of pointing an exceptionally powerful telescope towards a star, as one may do to observe moons orbiting a planet. Apart from resolving images adequately in relation to the enormous distances involved, the glare from a distant sun often washes out the image of anything but the largest of planetary bodies in its vicinity. To help combat this problem, researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) have developed a new type of astronomical camera that can detect the faint reflections of distant worlds near bright stars many millions of times better than that possible with an ordinary telescope. Read More

Space

Unknown galaxies discovered lurking behind the Milky Way

In recent radio telescope studies, many hundreds of previously undiscovered galaxies have been found to exist in an area in which an enormous magnetic abnormality known as the "Great Attractor" is located. The new research may help shed light on why our galaxy, along with hundreds of thousands of others, is being inextricably pulled in that direction.Read More

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