news 2014


Astronomy/Space Science

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Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 23.12.2014
Making the most of a shitty situation
The distinctive "fecal prints" of microbes potentially provide a record of how Earth and life have co-evolved over the past 3.5 billion years as the planet's temperature, oxygen levels, and greenhouse gases have changed. But, despite more than 60 years of study, it has proved difficult, until now, to "read" much of the information contained in this record.

Physics - Astronomy / Space Science - 19.12.2014
Origin of polar auroras revealed
Origin of polar auroras revealed
Researchers from UCL, University of Southampton and Cambridge University together with ESA and NASA have uncovered the origin of a colourful display in the night sky called 'theta aurora', explaining for the first time how auroras at high-latitudes form. Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the sun's effect on Earth, but many aspects of these spectacular displays are still poorly understood.

Astronomy / Space Science - 18.12.2014
Kepler Proves It Can Still Find Planets
Kepler Proves It Can Still Find Planets
To paraphrase Mark Twain, the report of the Kepler spacecraft's death was greatly exaggerated. Despite a malfunction that ended its primary mission in May 2013, Kepler is still alive and working. The evidence comes from the discovery of a new super-Earth using data collected during Kepler's "second life." "Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Kepler has been reborn and is continuing to make discoveries.

Environment - Astronomy / Space Science - 15.12.2014
Migrating ’supraglacial’ lakes could trigger future Greenland ice loss
Predictions of Greenland ice loss and its impact on rising sea levels may have been greatly underestimated, according to scientists at the University of Leeds. The finding follows a new study, which is published today , in which the future distribution of lakes that form on the ice sheet surface from melted snow and ice – called supraglacial lakes – have been simulated for the first time.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 12.12.2014
Researchers use real data rather than theory to measure the cosmos
Researchers use real data rather than theory to measure the cosmos
For the first time researchers have measured large distances in the Universe using data, rather than calculations related to general relativity. A research team from Imperial College London and the University of Barcelona has used data from astronomical surveys to measure a standard distance that is central to our understanding of the expansion of the universe.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 10.12.2014
First Rosetta results raise questions on origin of Earth’s oceans
ANN ARBOR-Earth's oceans may not have come mostly from comets smashing into the planet and melting billions of years ago. That's according to the Rosetta mission's first results, which poke holes in the prevailing theory of how we got our water. An instrument designed and built, in part, at the University of Michigan took the measurements that led to the findings.

Astronomy / Space Science - Life Sciences - 09.12.2014
How Does Space Travel Affect Organ Development?
How Does Space Travel Affect Organ Development?
Berkeley Lab experiment, scheduled to go aboard the International Space Station, will explore the effects of weightlessness and low-dose radiation. The crew of the International Space Station will soon be joined by 180 mice from Berkeley Lab. Their mission: help scientists learn how space travel affects the immune system, organ development, and reproduction across generations.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 08.12.2014
Is There Intelligent Life in the Universe? 5 Questions with Astrobiologist Caleb Scharf
Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th century Polish astronomer and mathematician, wasn't the first to suggest that the Earth wasn't the center of the universe—the idea originated with the ancient Greeks—but he was the first to prove it with a mathematical theorem. By doing so he upended the notion that Earth is unique, giving rise to the idea that there might be life on other planets.

Astronomy / Space Science - 04.12.2014
Finding infant Earths and potential life just got easier
Finding infant Earths and potential life just got easier
Among the billions and billions of stars in the sky, where should astronomers look for infant Earths where life might develop? New research from Cornell University's Institute for Pale Blue Dots shows where - and when - infant Earths are most likely to be found. The paper by Blue Dots research associate Ramses M. Ramirez and director Lisa Kaltenegger, "The Habitable Zones of Pre-Main Sequence Stars," is forthcoming in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Astronomy / Space Science - 04.12.2014
Professor Iwan Williams on his role in the Rosetta comet mission
The world was enraptured last month as the Rosetta mission's Philae lander made its historic landing on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. QMUL's Professor Iwan Williams had more reason than most to be interested, as he was one of a team of investigators working the CONSERT instrument that is part of the mission.

Astronomy / Space Science - Computer Science / Telecom - 01.12.2014
Ground-Based Detection of Super-Earth Transit Paves Way to Remote Sensing of Small Exoplanets
Ground-Based Detection of Super-Earth Transit Paves Way to Remote Sensing of Small Exoplanets
Astronomers have measured the passing of a super-Earth in front of a bright, nearby Sun-like star using a ground-based telescope for the first time. The transit of the exoplanet 55 Cancri e is the shallowest detected from the ground yet. Since detecting a transit is the first step in analyzing a planet's atmosphere, this success bodes well for characterizing the many small planets that upcoming space missions are expected to discover in the next few years.

Physics - Astronomy / Space Science - 26.11.2014
Plasma shield
High above Earth's atmosphere, electrons whiz past at close to the speed of light. Such ultrarelativistic electrons, which make up the outer band of the Van Allen radiation belt, can streak around the planet in a mere five minutes, bombarding anything in their path. Exposure to such high-energy radiation can wreak havoc on satellite electronics, and pose serious health risks to astronauts.

Astronomy / Space Science - 26.11.2014
Telescopes hint at neutrino beacon at the heart of the Milky Way
Correlating X-ray emissions from Sagittarius A, a massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way shown above, with IceCube Neutrino Observatory data, UW researchers have seen hints that the black hole is emitting neutrinos. Image: NASA Identifying the sources of high-energy neutrinos - ghostly but potentially information-rich particles believed to be generated by some of the most violent objects in the sky - is near the top of many an astrophysicist's bucket list.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 18.11.2014
Gravity may have saved the universe after the Big Bang, say researchers
Gravity may have saved the universe after the Big Bang, say researchers
New research by a team of European physicists could explain why the universe did not collapse immediately after the Big Bang. Studies of the Higgs particle - discovered at CERN in 2012 and responsible for giving mass to all particles - have suggested that the production of Higgs particles during the accelerating expansion of the very early universe (inflation) should have led to instability and collapse.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 17.11.2014
Discovery of the World’s Oldest Water
A Lancaster University scientist has helped discover the oldest water yet found on Earth, important for understanding life on Earth and Mars. The record-breaking discovery, made under the Timmins mine in Ontario, was featured in the journal. Dr Greg Holland, of Lancaster Environment Centre, along with scientists from Manchester University and two Canadian universities have found pockets of water that have been isolated from the outside world for more than 1.5 billion years.

Astronomy / Space Science - 13.11.2014
Mars has macroweather too
Mars has macroweather too
But weather forecasting on the Red Planet is likely to be even trickier than on Earth Mars has the same three-part pattern of atmospheric conditions as Earth, finds a new study by researchers at UCL and McGill University. This includes weather, which changes day-to-day due to constant fluctuations in the atmosphere; climate, which varies over decades and a third regime called macroweather, which describes the relatively stable regime between weather and climate.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 13.11.2014
Mars, too, has macroweather
Weather, which changes day-to-day due to constant fluctuations in the atmosphere, and climate, which varies over decades, are familiar. More recently, a third regime, called "macroweather," has been used to describe the relatively stable regime between weather and climate. A new study by researchers at McGill University and UCL finds that this same three-part pattern applies to atmospheric conditions on Mars.

Life Sciences - Astronomy / Space Science - 10.11.2014
World’s brightest scientists gather at Stanford
Stanford hosted the second annual Breakthrough Prize Symposium to celebrate the biggest advances in physics, life sciences and mathematics, and to discuss strategies for generating funding and excitement for basic research. The payoff of fundamental research is often far from scientists' minds. For instance, the GPS in smartphones would not be possible without Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, which he published in 1916.

Astronomy / Space Science - 10.11.2014
Stripping galaxies of interstellar gas could shut down star formation, researchers say
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue. Stripping galaxies of interstellar gas could shut down star formation, researchers say Scientists have observed in precise detail the stripping of gas from a distant galaxy as they seek to understand what shuts down star formation in galaxy clusters.

Astronomy / Space Science - 10.11.2014
Galileo satellite set for new orbit
First comet panoramic Rosetta's lander Philae has returned the first panoramic image from the surface of a comet. The view, unprocessed, as it has been captured by the CIVA-P imaging system, shows a 360 view around the point of final touchdown. The three feet of Philae's landing gear can be seen in some of the frames.
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