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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: Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:45:01 EST

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



UTSW finds likely cause -- and potential prevention -- of vision deterioration in space

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(UT Southwestern Medical Center) Vision deterioration in astronauts who spend a long time in space is likely due to the lack of a day-night cycle in intracranial pressure. But using a vacuum device to lower pressure for part of each day might prevent the problem, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers said.



NASA's Aqua satellite sees Tropical Depression 01W ending near Southern Vietnam

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) NASA's Aqua satellite provided a visible-light image of Tropical Depression 01W as it headed toward southern Vietnam for a brief landfall on Jan. 16. By Jan. 17 the depression had dissipated.



A tale of two pulsars' tails: Plumes offer geometry lessons to astronomers

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Penn State) Like cosmic lighthouses sweeping the universe with bursts of energy, pulsars have fascinated and baffled astronomers since they were first discovered 50 years ago. In two studies, international teams of astronomers suggest that recent images from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory of two pulsars -- Geminga and B0355+54 -- may help shine a light on the distinctive emission signatures of pulsars, as well as their often perplexing geometry.



ALMA starts observing the sun

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(ESO) New images taken with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile have revealed otherwise invisible details of our sun, including a new view of the dark, contorted center of a sunspot that is nearly twice the diameter of the Earth. The images are the first ever made of the sun with a facility where ESO is a partner. The results are an important expansion of the range of observations that can be used to probe the physics of our nearest star.



Lessons learned when commercialization of a new soft robot fails

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News) Commercializing a new, innovative product is often the greatest challenge across the research and development landscape, as is evident in the failed attempt to bring jamming-based robotic gripper technology to market. The company developing the VERSABALL® tells the story of its demise and the valuable lessons learned in a compelling article published in Soft Robotics.



Presumed young star turns out to be a galactic senior citizen

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Ruhr-University Bochum) 49 Lib, a relatively bright star in the southern sky, is twelve billion years old rather than just 2.3 billion. For many decades, researchers were stumped by conflicting data pertaining to this celestial body, because they had estimated it as much younger than it really is. Determining its age anew, astronomers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum have now successfully resolved all inconsistencies. Dr. Klaus Fuhrmann and Professor Dr. Rolf Chini published their results in the Astrophysical Journal.



Inception of the last ice age

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(CAGE - Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment) A new model reconstruction shows in exceptional detail the evolution of the Eurasian ice sheet during the last ice age. This can help scientists understand how climate and ocean warming can effect the remaining ice masses on Earth.



Galaxy murder mystery

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research) Across the universe, galaxies are being killed and the question scientists want answered is, what's killing them?New research published today by a global team of researchers, based at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, seeks to answer that question. The study reveals that a phenomenon called ram-pressure stripping is more prevalent than previously thought, driving gas from galaxies and sending them to an early death by depriving them of the material to make new stars.



Study tracks 'memory' of soil moisture

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) SMAP's first year of observational data has now been analyzed and is providing some significant surprises that will help in the modeling of climate, forecasting of weather, and monitoring of agriculture around the world.



NASA's Terra Satellite sees a spark of life in former Tropical Depression 01W's remnants

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) NASA's Terra satellite recently analyzed the remnant low pressure area previously known as Tropical Depression 01W in infrared light as it showed a spark of new activity.



NASA analyzes heavy rainfall over Southern Thailand

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Widespread flooding has recently caused the deaths of dozens of people in southern Thailand. Frequent and persistent downpours have resulted in record rainfall totals and NASA calculated rainfall over the region from Jan. 5 to Jan. 12, 2017.



Hubble gazes into a black hole of puzzling lightness

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) The beautiful spiral galaxy visible in the center of the image is known as RX J1140.1+0307, a galaxy in the Virgo constellation imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and it presents an interesting puzzle. At first glance, this galaxy appears to be a normal spiral galaxy, much like the Milky Way.



Giant Middle East dust storm caused by a changing climate, not human conflict

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Princeton University, Engineering School) Researchers have concluded that the most likely cause of a giant dust storm that struck the Middle East in 2015 was climate and unusual weather rather than conflict.



How the darkness and the cold killed the dinosaurs

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)) 66 million years ago, the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs started the ascent of the mammals, ultimately resulting in humankind's reign on Earth. Climate scientists now reconstructed how tiny droplets of sulfuric acid formed high up in the air after the well-known impact of a large asteroid and blocking the sunlight for several years, had a profound influence on life on Earth.



New Caltech instrument poised to image the cosmic web

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(California Institute of Technology) A Caltech team has designed and built a new imaging spectrograph to map streams of gas that feed forming galaxies.



Blended galaxies

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Iowa) Galaxies are merging all the time, even our own galaxy, the Milky Way. But how these mergers occur isn't entirely clear. University of Iowa astrophysicist Hai Fu will use a National Science Foundation grant to find and characterize supermassive black holes associated with merging galaxies.



The moon is older than scientists thought, UCLA-led research team reports

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of California - Los Angeles) he moon is much older than some scientists believe, a UCLA-led research team reports in the journal Science Advances Jan. 11. Their precise analysis of zircons bought to Earth by Apollo 14 astronauts reveals the moon is at least 4.51 billion years old and probably formed only about 60 million years after the birth of the solar system -- 40 to 140 million years earlier than recently thought.



NASA sees Pineapple Express deliver heavy rains, flooding to California

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) California which has long been suffering through a strong, multi-year drought, is finally beginning to see some much needed relief as a result of a recent series of storms that are part of a weather pattern known as the 'Pineapple Express.'



Farthest stars in Milky Way might be ripped from another galaxy

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) The 11 farthest known stars in our galaxy are located about 300,000 light-years from Earth, well outside the Milky Way's spiral disk. New research by Harvard astronomers shows that half of those stars might have been ripped from another galaxy: the Sagittarius dwarf. Moreover, they are members of a lengthy stream of stars extending one million light-years across space, or 10 times the width of our galaxy.



Our galaxy's black hole is spewing out planet-size 'spitballs'

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) Every few thousand years, an unlucky star wanders too close to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The black hole's powerful gravity rips the star apart, sending a long streamer of gas whipping outward. That would seem to be the end of the story, but it's not. New research shows that not only can the gas gather itself into planet-size objects, but those objects then are flung throughout the galaxy in a game of cosmic 'spitball.'



Looking for life in all the right places -- with the right tool

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(American Chemical Society) Researchers have invented a range of instruments from giant telescopes to rovers to search for life in outer space, but so far, these efforts have yielded no definitive evidence that it exists beyond Earth. Now scientists have developed a new tool that can look for signs of life with 10,000 times more sensitivity than instruments carried on previous spaceflight missions. Their report appears in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry.



Struggle to escape distant galaxies creates giant halos of scattered photons

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Royal Astronomical Society) Astronomers led by David Sobral and Jorryt Matthee, of the Universities of Lancaster in the UK and Leiden in the Netherlands have discovered giant halos around early Milky Way type galaxies, made of photons (elementary particles of light) that have struggled to escape them. The team reports its findings in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.



Next-generation optics offer the widest real-time views of vast regions of the sun

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(New Jersey Institute of Technology) A groundbreaking new optical device, developed at NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) to correct images of the Sun distorted by multiple layers of atmospheric turbulence, is providing scientists with the most precisely detailed, real-time pictures to date of solar activity occurring across vast stretches of the star's surface.



Hubble captures 'shadow play' caused by possible planet

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Searching for planets around other stars is a tricky business. They're so small and faint that it's hard to spot them. But a possible planet in a nearby stellar system may be betraying its presence in a unique way: by a shadow that is sweeping across the face of a vast pancake-shaped gas-and-dust disk surrounding a young star.



Springer partners with the Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Springer) Springer, one of the leading publishers in the fields of science, technology and medicine, will launch the new journal of the Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IEECAS) -- Aerosol Science and Engineering (ASE) -- as of January 2017. It will be published quarterly by Springer both electronically and in print. The journal joins Springer's Chinese Library of Science, a collection of more than 90 high-quality Chinese research journals.