Cracking the Moon

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The Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms) is the largest of the lunar maria (seas) covering roughly 4 million square kilometers (about the surface area of the EU). Its wide...

Testing Relativity With Nothing

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There are two big problems with astrophysics, and they are called dark energy and dark matter. Dark energy is responsible for the accelerated expansion of the Universe. Dark matter keeps...

Are there cows on Mars?

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Obviously there are no cows on Mars but NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover detected an increase of methane in the atmosphere and organic molecules from the soil during one of...
Artist’s impression of the merger of two neutron stars. Credit: University of Warwick/Mark Garlick

Gravitational Waves Were Used To Look Inside Neutron Stars

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Last October, scientists witnessed the first neutron star collision thanks to gravitational wave observations and the subsequent use of regular telescopes. Those observations were the first step towards a...

The first measurement of an exoplanet day.

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Dutch Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope were able to measure the rotational speed of a planet outside the Solar System for the first time. Ignas Snellen and his colleagues...

Some Earths Like It Hot

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Planetary systems form from the same cloud as its parent star. As the cloud contracts under the effect of gravity, the gas acquires more angular velocity. Spinning faster it...

The Very Hungry Supermassive Black Hole

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We all get the munchies, but when you're a supermassive black hole (SMBH) your hunger might have dire consequences. And just like that an SMBH has outgrown its galaxy and jumped to the top of the heavyweight objects in the universe. About 12 billion light years from us, there is a galaxy called CID-947. It has a mass similar to our own Milky Way (about 1000 billion times the mass of the Sun) and it was only remarkable because it had an active galactic nucleus (AGN, i.e. an accreting SMBH).