Possible link between dark matter and primordial black holes
A new theory has provided a possible link between dark matter and an ancient yet to be discovered population of black holes. Dark matter is now widely thought to be some form of massive exotic particle. An intriguing alternative view is that dark matter is made of black holes formed during the first second of our universe’s existence, known as primordial black holes.
Martian mega tsunamis
Astronomers studying the northern lowlands of Mars have found evidence of two massive mega-tsunamis which inundated the region. The findings are based on new geologic mapping of the red planet’s northern plains which found vast sedimentary deposits that were likely put there by two mega-tsunami events.
Space weather linked to mysterious Martian plumes
Mysterious clouds seen appearing suddenly in the martian atmosphere may be linked to space weather. Amateur astronomers were the first to report an unusual cloud-like plume in 2012 that topped-out high above the surface of Mars at an altitude around 250 km.
Galileo satellite launch
A Russian Roscosmos Soyuz rocket has blasted off from the European Space Agency’s Kourou space port in French Guiana carrying two new Galileo navigation satellites into orbit. The launch brings Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system constellation halfway to completion. Once complete the Galileo satellite navigation system will consist of 24 satellites plus spares, providing a civilian managed alternative to the American GPS, Russian Glonass and Chinese Beidou satellite navigation systems.
Redesigned Antares rolls out onto the launch pad for the first time
Orbital Sciences have rolled out their new improved Antares rocket as preparations continue for the launch vehicle’s return to flight status following a spectacular crash and burn failure just seconds after launch in 2014
Jovian moon has Earth like ocean
Scientists have concluded that the oceans on Jupiter’s ice moon Europa are far more Earth like than previously thought. Deep ocean hydrothermal vents are increasingly being seen as potential cradles for the creation of life on Earth. The new NASA research suggests that the necessary balance of chemical energy for life could also exist in the sub-surface oceans of Europa.
New micrometeorite study sheds light on Earth’s early atmosphere
A new study of the oldest micrometeorites ever found has discovered that Earth’s ancient atmosphere had similar oxygen levels to the air we breathe today. The new findings contradict existing evidence showing that early Earth had extremely low oxygen levels until the appearance of photosynthetic organisms.
Indian space shuttle launched
India has carried out a successful test flight of its new prototype space shuttle. The flight is the first step in the Indian Space Research Organization’s program to develop a two stage to orbit reusable delta winged space plane.
Mars in Opposition
On May 30th the red planet Mars will be just 75,317,299.2 kilometres from Earth – the closest it’s been in eleven years. The close encounter comes just days after Mars was in opposition -- the point it the red planet’s orbit when it was directly opposite the Earth from the Sun.
The largest solar system body without a name
A new study has found that a previously identified object in the Kuiper belt qualifies as the largest unnamed body in the solar system. The revised measurement of 2007 OR10 shows its significantly larger than previously thought – only about one-third smaller than Pluto -- and about a hundred kilometres larger than the dwarf planet Makemake.
First direct observation of magnetic reconnection
Spacecraft have for the first time flown through the heart of a magnetic reconnection event -- the process that controls Earth's space weather and geomagnetic storms. The NASA probes intercepted the magnetic reconnection event at the boundary where Earth's magnetic field lines meet the field lines coming from the Sun.
China’s new super dish radio telescope to be ready this year
Construction of a giant half kilometre wide radio telescope dish in China is expected to be completed this year. The massive new telescope is being built with help from the CSIRO in a natural basin in the landscape of southwestern China.
Space Station hit by space debris
Space debris has impacted the International Space Station gouging out a tiny crater in the window of the orbiting outposts observation cupola. The impact produced a 7 millimetre circular chip on one of the cupola’s quad layered fused-silica and borosilicate-glass windows.
Space Station set’s a record
On Monday May 16, the International Space Station celebrated it’s 100,000th orbit of the Earth. That’s some 4,254,046,974 kilometres -- which is the same as ten round trips to Mars -- or a mission to Neptune the most distant planet – for now at least -- in the solar system.
Hints of an unexpected new particle getting stronger
There’s growing evidence supporting the possible discovery of a new sub atomic particle at the Large Hadron Collider. If confirmed, the discovery would dramatically change the standard model of particle physics – sciences understanding of the universe at its most elemental level.
Kepler Mission Announces Largest Collection of Planets Ever Discovered
NASA's planet hunting Kepler space telescope has verified 1,284 new planets -- the single largest finding of planets so far. The announcement more than doubles the total number of confirmed planets discovered by Kepler and provides the strongest evidence yet that most stars have planetary systems.
Earth’s Mantle causing the planet’s surface to move up and down like a yo-yo
A new study has found convection in the Earth’s mantle is causing the planet’s surface to constantly move up and down by hundreds of metres in geologically short time scales of just a million years. A report in the journal Nature-Geoscience, claims the wave-like movements of the mantle are occurring at an order of magnitude faster than previously thought.
Dragon splash down
A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship has successfully splashed down in the North Pacific Ocean carrying more than 1680 kilograms of returned scientific experiments and samples from the International Space Station. The capsule’s cargo included experiments on long duration human spaceflight needed for manned missions to Mars.
KIC mystery not solved but it’s most likely not aliens
For months the tabloids have been speculating about the strange goings on around a distant star which could be providing the first scientific evidence of life – intelligent life – beyond Earth. At the centre of the speculation is that the mysterious star KIC 8462852. Hundreds of uneven, unnatural-looking dips have appeared in the star’s light curve which are difficult to explain through normal astronomical actions.
Flying Observatory Detects Atomic Oxygen in Martian Atmosphere
A new study of atomic oxygen in the Martian atmosphere has discovered that levels have dropped dramatically over the last forty years. Atomic oxygen has a significant impact on the red planet’s atmosphere, because it affects how other gases escape the planet.
A rare celestial spectacle as Mercury transits the Sun
In a celestial spectacle lasting some seven and a half hours, sky watchers were mesmerized as Mercury -- looking like a tiny black dot -- slowly crossed in front of the blazing disk of the Sun as seen from Earth. The rare astronomical event -- known as a transit -- only occurs about 13 times in a century.
SpaceX nails another mission
SpaceX has successfully placed a Japanese communications satellite into orbit -- and successfully returned the rocket’s main booster stage back to the surface for eventual refurbishment and for reuse. The 70 metre tall Falcon 9 rocket carrying the JCSAT 14 communications satellite blasted off from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida with its 9 Merlin 1D first stage engines lighting up the night sky with a fiery orange trail with 1.5 million pounds of thrust.
Discovery of the best targets yet in the search for life beyond our solar system
Astronomers have discovered three planets with sizes and temperatures similar to Earth -- and which they are now describing as the best targets found so far in the search for life beyond our solar system. The planetary trio were found orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star about forty light years from Earth in the constellation of Aquarius the water carrier.
Monster supermassive black hole forms out of galactic collision
A monster black hole almost 4 billion times the mass of the Sun has been discovered forming out of a mammoth collision involving three merging spiral galaxies. The new findings are providing scientists with fresh insights into galactic evolution and the growth of supermassive black holes.
Nearby massive star explosion equaled detonation of 100 million Suns
Astronomers have discovered that a giant star in a nearby galaxy that went supernova 30 million years ago -- exploded with the power of 100 million Sun’s – making it one of the most powerful explosions in our cosmic neighborhood in recent years. The mega blast of supernova 2013ej in the spiral galaxy M74 in the constellation Pisces in 2013 blew stellar material out from the star at ten thousand kilometres per second -- equivalent to 36 million kilometres an hour.
Subscribe at audioBoom; iTunes; Stitcher; Pocketcasts; Podbean; Podcast Addict; Player FM; Tuner Radio or any good podcatcher app.
For more follow me on Facebook; twitter (@stuartgary) or my blog on Tumblr.
#astronomy #space #science
Galaxy Clusters Reveal Information About Dark Energy
A new study has confirmed that the properties of a mysterious force called dark energy which will determine the ultimate fate of the universe have not changed for billions of years. The findings support the idea that dark energy is best explained by Albert Einstein’s “cosmological constant,” and is equivalent to the energy of empty space.
Back from the deep freeze
Astronomers have discovered a unique comet that appears to have formed in the inner solar system and was then flung out into the deep freeze of the far outer reaches of the solar system, from where it has now returned. This comet could therefore provide important clues about the environment in which the Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago.
Starshot interstellar space ship
Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has teamed up with Russian entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and physicist Yuri Milner to promote a plan to send a spacecraft to another star system within a generation. The target will be our nearest stellar neighbour Alpha Centauri 4.3 light-years or 39.9 trillion kilometres away.
The show notes for SpaceTime with Stuart Gary podcast