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Preview: EurekAlert! - Space and Planetary Science

EurekAlert! - Space and Planetary Science



The premier online source for science news since 1996. A service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.



Last Build Date: Sat, 27 May 2017 14:45:01 EDT

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); All rights reserved.
 



Construction begins on the world's first super telescope

Fri, 26 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Oxford) Scientists are a step closer to understanding the inner-workings of the universe following the laying of the first stone, and construction starting on the world's largest optical and infrared telescope.With a main mirror 39 meters in diameter, the Extremely Large Telescope, is going to be, as its name suggests, enormous. Unlike any other before it, ELT is also designed to be an adaptive telescope and has the ability to correct atmospheric turbulence, taking telescope engineering to another level.



Camera on NASA's lunar orbiter survives 2014 meteoroid hit

Fri, 26 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Arizona State University) On October 13, 2014 something very strange happened to the camera aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), which normally produces beautifully clear images of the lunar surface, produced an image that was wild and jittery. From the sudden and jagged pattern apparent in the image, the LROC team determined that the camera must have been hit by a tiny meteoroid.



'Tiny clocks' crystallize understanding of meteorite crashes

Fri, 26 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Western Ontario) Scientists from Western University and the University of Portsmouth are using new imaging techniques to measure the atomic nanostructure of ancient crystal fragments at meteorite impact sites. The end goal? To understand when impacts ended and life began.



Camera on NASA's Lunar Orbiter survived 2014 meteoroid hit

Fri, 26 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Images from LRO show a brief violent movement of one of the Narrow Angle Cameras in October of 2014.



A 3-D look at the 2015 El Niño

Fri, 26 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) El Niño is a recurring climate pattern characterized by warmer than usual ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. Two back-to-back 3-D visualizations track the changes in ocean temperatures and currents, respectively, throughout the life cycle of the 2015-2016 El Niño event, chronicling its inception in early 2015 to its dissipation by April 2016.



Tornado spawning Eastern US storms examined by NASA's GPM satellite

Fri, 26 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) On Wednesday May 24, 2017, severe weather affected a large area of the eastern United States. That's when the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite passed over the area and found extremely heavy rainfall and towering clouds in the system.



NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

Fri, 26 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) On May 25, 2017, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory saw a partial solar eclipse in space when it caught the moon passing in front of the sun. The lunar transit lasted almost an hour, with the moon covering about 89 percent of the sun at the peak of its journey across the sun's face.



Engines of twingenuity: NASA's twin study investigators have a meeting of the minds

Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Johnson Space Center) NASA's Twins Study investigators met in Houston this week to discuss findings from the final data collections.



First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Leicester) Astronomers publish predictions of planetary phenomena on Jupiter that informed spacecraft's arrival.



Jupiter's complex transient auroras

Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(RIKEN) Combined observations from three spacecraft show that Jupiter's brightest auroral features recorded to date are powered by both the volcanic moon Io and interaction with the solar wind.



The big star that couldn't become a supernova

Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Ohio State University) For the first time in history, astronomers have been able to watch as a dying star was reborn as a black hole. It went out with a whimper instead of a bang.



Collapsing star gives birth to a black hole

Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Astronomers have watched as a massive, dying star was likely reborn as a black hole.



SwRI-led Juno mission to Jupiter delivers first science results

Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Southwest Research Institute) NASA's Juno mission, led by Southwest Research Institute's Dr. Scott Bolton, is rewriting what scientists thought they knew about Jupiter specifically, and gas giants in general, according to a pair of Science papers released today. The Juno spacecraft has been in orbit around Jupiter since July 2016, passing within 3,000 miles of the equatorial cloudtops.



First results from Juno show cyclones and massive magnetism

Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(American Association for the Advancement of Science) On Aug. 27, 2016, the Juno spacecraft made its first close pass around our solar system's largest planet, Jupiter, obtaining insights into its atmosphere and interior that challenge previous assumptions.



NASA's Arctic ecosystem science flights begin 

Wed, 24 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) A NASA-led effort to monitor changing Arctic and boreal ecosystems has started its second season, with the first aircraft taking flight over Alaska and Northwest Canada this month.



Discovered: Fast-growing galaxies from early universe

Wed, 24 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Carnegie Institution for Science) A team of astronomers including Carnegie's Eduardo Bañados and led by Roberto Decarli of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy has discovered a new kind of galaxy which, although extremely old -- formed less than a billion years after the Big Bang -- creates stars more than a hundred times faster than our own Milky Way.



Volunteers help ANU find star that exploded 970 million years ago, predating the dinosaurs

Wed, 24 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Australian National University) Online volunteers have helped astronomers at The Australian National University find a star that exploded 970 million years ago, predating the dinosaurs' time on Earth.



NASA sees powerful storms with advancing monsoon in Bay of Bengal

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Storms associated with the advancing monsoon in the Northern Indian Ocean's Bay of Bengal were analyzed by NASA with the GPM or Global Precipitation Measurement mission core satellite.



VLA reveals new object near supermassive black hole in famous galaxy

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(National Radio Astronomy Observatory) When astronomers took a new look at a famous galaxy with the upgraded Very Large Array, they were surprised by the appearance of a new, bright object that had not appeared in previous images.



NASA scientist parlays experience to build Ocean Worlds instrument

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) An instrument originally developed to search for organic molecules on Mars is being repurposed to potentially hunt for life on a handful of moons in the outer solar system that appear to host oceans, geysers and vents of ice volcanoes.



CAST project places new limitations on dark matter

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Freiburg) CERN research results deliver no evidence for the existence of solar axions.



Neptune: Neutralizer-free plasma propulsion

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(American Institute of Physics) Plasma propulsion concepts are gridded-ion thrusters that accelerate and emit more positively charged particles than negatively charged ones. To enable the spacecraft to remain charge-neutral, a 'neutralizer' injects electrons to exactly balance the positive ion charge in the exhaust beam, but this neutralizer requires additional power from the spacecraft. Researchers are investigating how the radio-frequency self-bias effect can be used to remove the neutralizer altogether. They report their work in this week's Physics of Plasmas.



NASA lab's life-saving work

Mon, 22 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Some NASA missions fundamentally change the world of science or help win Nobel prizes, but only one saves thousands of lives worldwide every year.



Joint UTSA-SwRI study shows how radioactive decay could support extraterrestrial life

Mon, 22 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Southwest Research Institute) In the icy bodies around our solar system, radiation emitted from rocky cores could break up water molecules and support hydrogen-eating microbes. To address this cosmic possibility, a University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) team modeled a natural water-cracking process called radiolysis. They then applied the model to several worlds with known or suspected interior oceans, including Saturn's moon Enceladus, Jupiter's moon Europa, Pluto and its moon Charon, as well as the dwarf planet Ceres.



Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

Mon, 22 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of California - Davis) There's something new to look for in the heavens, and it's called a 'synestia,' according to planetary scientists Simon Lock at Harvard University and Sarah Stewart at UC Davis. A synestia, they propose, would be a huge, spinning, donut-shaped mass of hot, vaporized rock, formed as planet-sized objects smash into each other.