Tag Archives: Astronomy

A Giant Gravity Wave Has Been Found in Venus’ Clouds

The 6,200-mile-long structure was observed by Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft and is believed to be created by mountains on the surface of Venus. Venus is wrapped in thick clouds of sulfuric acid that swirl around the planet at 225 mph, but not everything in the atmosphere is moving.

On Dec. 7, 2015, during its very first orbit around Venus, Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft discovered a mammoth, bow-shaped structure in the upper atmosphere that remained oddly fixed over a mountainous region known as the western highlands of Aphrodite. Continue reading A Giant Gravity Wave Has Been Found in Venus’ Clouds

Faraway Star Is Roundest Natural Object Ever Seen

A star 5,000 light-years from Earth is the closest thing to a perfect sphere that has ever been observed in nature, a new study reports.

Stars, planets and other round celestial bodies bulge slightly at their equators due to centrifugal force. Generally speaking, the faster these objects spin, the greater the force, and the larger the bulge.  Continue reading Faraway Star Is Roundest Natural Object Ever Seen

Weird Deep Space X-Ray Flashes Stump Astronomers

The X-ray emissions were discovered by chance beyond the Milky Way and no one really knows what is causing them. Jimmy Irwin wasn’t looking to get a paper published in Nature when he gave three of his University of Alabama undergraduate students an assignment.

He told them to comb through archived Chandra and XMM-Newton telescope data for examples of bright X-ray emissions coming from galaxies beyond the Milky Way. The catch was to find examples emanating from globular cluster galaxies, a type of very old galaxy. Continue reading Weird Deep Space X-Ray Flashes Stump Astronomers

Moon Shares Encounter with Saturn Tonight

I’m always being asked by those who have just purchased a telescope when and where they can see the planet Saturn.

Saturn, of course, is one of the most impressive objects visible in a telescope, chiefly due to its magnificent ring system. It is usually stated that Saturn is the most beautiful sight in the sky and if you have ever seen a photograph of it you will find that such a judgement is difficult to argue with. There is absolutely nothing else like it to be seen anywhere. Continue reading Moon Shares Encounter with Saturn Tonight

Baby Star’s ‘Placenta’ Precisely Measured for the First Time

It is well known that as a massive cloud of gas collapses under its own gravity, baby stars may form. The intense gravitational collapse kicks off fusion processes that begin the coalescence of more matter that feeds into a newborn star. Though the general process is fairly well understood, the details are not. Continue reading Baby Star’s ‘Placenta’ Precisely Measured for the First Time

ALMA Spies Baby Stars’ Planetary Workshops

Planetary formation remains one of the biggest puzzles in modern astronomy. Although we know that the vast majority of stars possess systems of planets — from tiny Mercury-sized rocky worlds to massive gas giants that would dwarf Jupiter — mysteries remain as to how material accretes to form small planetoids and how long it takes for these planetary embryos to plump-up into what we would consider to be planets. Continue reading ALMA Spies Baby Stars’ Planetary Workshops