Astronomy

A new Climate Model Suggests That Venus Never had Oceans

Thanks to evidence provided by missions like NASA’s Magellan spacecraft, scientists have theorized that Venus likely experienced a catastrophic resurfacing event about 500 million years ago (give or take 200 Mya). This is believed to be the reason why Venus is such a hellish place today, with an atmosphere that is 92 times as dense …

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The Early Solar System Had a Gap Where the Asteroid Belt is Today

Wind the cosmic clock back a few billion years and our Solar System looked much different than it does today. About 4.5 billion years ago, the young Sun shone much like it does now, though it was a little smaller. Instead of being surrounded by planets, it was ensconced in a swirling disk of gas …

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There are 6×10^80 Bits of Information in the Observable Universe

Since the beginning of the Digital Age (ca. the 1970s), theoretical physicists have speculated about the possible connection between information and the physical Universe. Considering that all matter is made up of information that describes the state of a quantum system (aka. quantum information), and genetic information is coded in our DNA, it’s not farfetched …

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The Large Magellanic Cloud Stole one of its Globular Clusters

Astronomers have known for years that galaxies are cannibalistic. Massive galaxies like our own Milky Way have gained mass by absorbing smaller neighbours. Now it looks like smaller galaxies like the Large Magellanic Cloud have also feasted on smaller neighbours. Astronomers have uncovered evidence that the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a dwarf satellite galaxy of …

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Lucy is off to Visit Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft is on its way. The spacecraft was launched into space on Saturday, October 16th on an Atlas 5 rocket. Its primary target is Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. Spacecraft have visited asteroids before, and even brought samples back to Earth. But Lucy is unique: it’ll visit a total of eight asteroids, including seven Jupiter …

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Something Really Wants our Attention. One Object Released 1,652 Fast Radio Bursts in 47 Days

The energetic phenomena known as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are one of the greatest cosmic mysteries today. These mysterious flashes of light are visible in the radio wave part of the spectrum and usually last only a few milliseconds before fading away forever. Since the first FRB was observed in 2007, astronomers have looked forward …

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What Are Your Options When you’ve Only Got Hours or Days to Prevent an Asteroid Impact?

Imagine a scenario where we detect an asteroid heading straight for Earth. Imagine that it will arrive in a couple of days, or worse, only a few hours. What could be done to stop it? It might be possible to protect ourselves and the planet on such short notice. But we’d have to test and …

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What’s Causing the Mysterious Radio Waves Coming From the Center of the Milky Way?

The center of the Milky Way is a mysterious place. Astronomers think there’s a supermassive black hole there, though it could be dark matter instead. The region is densely packed with stars, dominated by red giants. And because of all the dust between Earth and the galactic center, we can’t see anything with visible light, …

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Europa has Water in its Atmosphere

Since the Voyager probes passed through the Jupiter system in 1979, scientists have been intrigued and mystified by its moon Europa. Once the images these probes acquired of the moon’s icy surface returned to Earth, scientists began to speculate about the possibility of a subsurface ocean. Since then, the detection of plume activity and other …

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A Magnetic Tunnel Surrounds the Earth

What if our eyes could see radio waves? If we could, we might be able to look up into the sky and see a tunnel of rope-like filaments made of radio waves. The structure would be about 1,000 light-years long and would be about 350 light-years away. This tunnel explains two of the brightest radio …

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