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E.g., 06/28/2017
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  • Science Ticker

    Satellite trio will hunt gravitational waves from space

    The hunt for gravitational waves is moving upward. A space-based detector called the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, or LISA, was selected as a mission in the European Space Agency’s science program, the agency announced June 20.

    LISA will consist of three identical satellites arranged in a triangle that will cartwheel through space in orbit around the sun just behind Earth. The...

    06/20/2017 - 16:58 Astronomy, Cosmology, Physics
  • News

    Eclipse watchers catch part of the sun’s surface fleeing to space

    View the video

    For the first time, researchers have watched relatively cool parcels of plasma speed away from the surface of the sun and off into space, all the while cocooned in a million-degree flare.

    Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and colleagues used a specially designed spectrometer to observe the eruption from Svalbard, Norway, during the March 2015...

    06/16/2017 - 14:57 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News

    Einstein’s light-bending by single far-off star detected

    For the first time, astronomers have seen a star outside of the solar system bend the light from another star. The measurement, reported June 7 in Austin, Texas, at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, vindicates both Einstein’s most famous theory and what goes on in the inner lives of stellar corpses.

    Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope watched as a white dwarf...

    06/07/2017 - 11:15 Astronomy
  • The –est

    Scalding hot gas giant breaks heat records

    The planet KELT 9b is so hot — hotter than many stars — that it shatters gas giant temperature records, researchers report online June 5 in Nature.

    This Jupiter-like exoplanet revolves around a star just 650 light-years away, locked in an orbit that keeps one side always facing its star. With blistering temps hovering at about 4,300o Celsius, the atmosphere on KELT 9b’s dayside is over...

    06/05/2017 - 11:00 Exoplanets, Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News

    LIGO snags another set of gravitational waves

    For a third time, scientists have detected the infinitesimal reverberations of spacetime: gravitational waves.

    Two black holes stirred up the spacetime wiggles, orbiting one another and spiraling inward until they fused into one jumbo black hole with a mass about 49 times that of the sun. Ripples from that union, which took place about 3 billion light-years from Earth, zoomed across the...

    06/01/2017 - 11:00 Physics, Astronomy
  • Context

    The first Cassini to explore Saturn was a person

    As the Cassini spacecraft plunges toward its death on Saturn, the world’s knowledge of the famous ringed planet continues to accumulate. Thanks to years of observations by the versatile probe, astronomers now know Saturn as intimately as macaroni knows cheese. But still hardly anyone outside the world of astronomy knows anything about Cassini — and I don’t mean the spacecraft, but the guy it...

    05/15/2017 - 07:00 History of Science, Astronomy
  • News

    Mars may not have been born alongside the other rocky planets

    Mars may have had a far-out birthplace.

    Simulating the assembly of the solar system around 4.56 billion years ago, researchers propose that the Red Planet didn’t form in the inner solar system alongside the other terrestrial planets as previously thought. Mars instead may have formed around where the asteroid belt is now and migrated inward to its present-day orbit, the scientists report...

    05/05/2017 - 07:00 Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • Reviews & Previews

    Read up on solar eclipses before this year’s big event

    In August, the United States will experience its first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly a century. Over the course of an hour and a half, the moon’s narrow shadow will slice across 12 states, from Oregon to South Carolina (SN: 8/20/16, p. 14). As many as 200 million people are expected to travel to spots where they can view the spectacle, in what could become one of the most...

    04/30/2017 - 08:00 Astronomy, History of Science
  • News

    No long, twisted tail trails the solar system

    The solar system doesn’t have a long, twisted tail after all.

    Data from the Cassini and Voyager spacecraft show that the bubble of particles surrounding the solar system is spherical, not comet-shaped. Observing a spherical bubble runs counter to 55 years of speculation on the shape of this solar system feature, says Tom Krimigis of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel...

    04/24/2017 - 11:00 Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    Gamma-ray evidence for dark matter weakens

    A potential sign of dark matter is looking less convincing in the wake of a new analysis.

    High-energy blips of radiation known as gamma rays seem to be streaming from the center of the Milky Way in excess. Some scientists have proposed that dark matter could be the cause of that overabundance. Particles of dark matter — an invisible and unidentified substance that makes up the bulk of...

    04/24/2017 - 09:00 Physics, Astronomy