Astronomy / Astrophysics

Blogs about Astronomy and Astrophysics

Illustration of the method to estimate a comet's size (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in “The Astronomical Journal” describes a research on long-period comets concluding that they’re more common than expected. A team of researchers led by James Bauer of the University of Maryland used data collected by NASA’s WISE Space Telescope to discover that those at least one kilometer (0.6 miles) across are more common than expected and are, on average, twice as large as those of the Jupiter family.

Ancient volcanic deposits on the Moon (Image courtesy Milliken lab / Brown University)

An article published in the journal “Nature Geoscience” describes a research that provides evidence of the existence of large amounts of water in ancient volcanic deposits on the Moon. Ralph E. Milliken and Shuai Li of Brown University used data collected by the Chandrayaan-1 space probe’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper Spectrometer to locate the water, perhaps formed after the collision between a planet and the primordial Earth that led to the Moon’s formation.

The possible impact area on Mars (Image MOLA Science Team)

An article published in “Geophysical Research Letters” describes a study that attributes to a gigantic meteoric impact on Mars’ northern hemisphere almost 4.5 billion years ago some of the red planet’s features. According to Stephen Mojzsis of University of Colorado Boulder and Ramon Brasser of Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan that’s the cause of the presence of rare metals, of the differences between the northern and southern hemisphere and perhaps even the existence of its two moons.

The 5 H.E.S.S. telescopes (Photo H.E.S.S., MPIK/Christian Foehr)

An article published in the journal “Physical Review Letters” describes a new interpretation of observations made with NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) observatory in Namibia. According to a team of Italian researchers led by Daniele Gaggero of the University of Amsterdam, at the center of the Milky Way there’s a kind of trap that focuses there some of the highest energy cosmic rays, the fastest particle of the galaxy.

Libya Montes (Image ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, , CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has published images of the area of the planet Mars known as Libya Montes taken by its Mars Express space probe. It’s a mountain range near the Martian equator and is one of the oldest in Mars, altered by volcanic processes and impacts but also by processes associated with the existence of rivers. In the pictures it’s possible to identify various channels and valleys, traces of the ancient water streams.