Category: Space

AI beats astronomers in predicting survivability of exoplanets

Artificial intelligence is giving scientists new hope for studying the habitability of planets, in a study from astronomers Chris Lam and David Kipping. Their work looks at so-called “Tatooines,” and uses machine learning techniques to calculate how likely such planets are to survive into stable orbits. The study is published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Angola loses first satellite, plans successor

Angola on Monday confirmed the premature death of its first national telecoms satellite, Angosat-1, which was launched in December and was expected to have a working life of 15 years.

Studying dwarf galaxies to get the big picture

EPFL scientists have completed the fastidious task of analyzing 27 dwarf galaxies in detail, identifying the conditions under which they were formed and how they’ve since evolved. These small-scale galaxies are perfect for studying the mechanisms of new star formation and the very first steps in the creation of the universe.

Four years of NASA NEOWISE data

NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission has released its fourth year of survey data. Since the mission was restarted in December 2013, after a period of hibernation, the asteroid- and comet-hunter has completely scanned the skies nearly eight times and has observed and characterized 29,375 objects in four years of operations. This total includes 788 near-Earth objects and 136 comets since the mission restart.

Mysterious red spots on Mercury get names – but what are they?

Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, but far from being a dull cinder of a world, it has instead turned out to be a real eye opener for geologists. Among the revelations by NASA’s MESSENGER probe, which first flew past Mercury in 2008 and orbited it between 2011 and 2015, is the discovery of a hundred or so bright red spots scattered across the globe. Now they are at last being named.

Is dark matter made of primordial black holes?

Astronomers studying the motions of galaxies and the character of the cosmic microwave background radiation came to realize in the last century that most of the matter in the universe was not visible. About 84 percent of the matter in the cosmos is dark matter, much of it located in halos around galaxies. It was dubbed dark matter because it does not emit light, but it is also mysterious: it is not composed of atoms or their usual constituents like electrons and protons.

Stars are born in loose groupings

Based on previously published data from the Gaia Mission, researchers at Heidelberg University have derived the conditions under which stars form. The Gaia satellite is measuring the three-dimensional positions and motions of stars in the Milky Way with unprecedented accuracy. Using these data, Dr. Jacob Ward and Dr. Diederik Kruijssen determined the positions, distances and speeds of a large number of young massive stars within 18 nearby loose stellar groupings. The researchers were able to demonstrate that there is no evidence whatsoever that these associations are expanding. They therefore could not have originated as a dense cluster and then expanded to their current size.