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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: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 02:45:01 EDT

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



NASA finds very heavy rainfall in Hurricane Maria

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) NASA looked into Hurricane Maria and found that powerful convective storms within the hurricane were dropping heavy rainfall.



Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) NASA's Hubble Space Telescope helped an international team of astronomers find that an unusual object in the asteroid belt is, in fact, two asteroids orbiting each other that have comet-like features. These include a bright halo of material, called a coma, and a long tail of dust.



Hubble discovers a unique type of object in the Solar System

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(ESA/Hubble Information Centre) With the help of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, a German-led group of astronomers have observed the intriguing characteristics of an unusual type of object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter: two asteroids orbiting each other and exhibiting comet-like features, including a bright coma and a long tail. This is the first known binary asteroid also classified as a comet. The research is presented in a paper published in the journal Nature today.



NASA gets an infrared view of large Tropical Storm Jose

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Satellite imagery shows that Jose is a large storm, with a large reach. NASA's Aqua satellite captured cloud top temperatures of Tropical Storm Jose that revealed the strongest storms were in the northeastern part of the tropical cyclone but the storm is so large that it is causing dangerous ocean conditions from Bermuda to the US East coast.



Scientists propose new concept of terrestrial planet formation

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(The University of Hong Kong) A team of scientists from NASA, Hampton University and the University of Hong Kong propose a new way of understanding the cooling and transfer of heat from terrestrial planetary interiors and how that affects the generation of the volcanic terrains that dominate the rocky planets.



Aligning the primary mirror segments of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope with light

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston used light waves to align the James Webb Space Telescope's mirror segments to each other, so they act like a single, monolithic mirror in the cryogenic cold of the center's iconic Chamber A.



Is the Milky Way an 'outlier' galaxy? Studying its 'siblings' for clues

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Yale University) The most-studied galaxy in the universe -- the Milky Way -- might not be as 'typical' as previously thought, according to a new study. Early results from the Satellites Around Galactic Analogs (SAGA) Survey indicate that the Milky Way's satellites are much more tranquil than other systems of comparable luminosity and environment. Many satellites of those 'sibling' galaxies are actively pumping out new stars, but the Milky Way's satellites are mostly inert, the researchers found.



Using AI, citizen science and disaster response to help victims of Hurricane Irma

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Oxford) A highly unusual collaboration between information engineers at Oxford, the Zooniverse citizen science platform and international disaster response organization Rescue Global is enabling a rapid and effective response to Hurricane Irma.



Space radiation is risky business for the human body

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Johnson Space Center) NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) is working to protect the whole human body from radiation in space. Space radiation is dangerous and one of the primary health risks for astronauts. Virtually any cell in the body is susceptible to radiation damage.



Aging star blows off smoky bubble

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(ESO) Astronomers have used ALMA to capture a strikingly beautiful view of a delicate bubble of expelled material around the exotic red star U Antliae. These observations will help astronomers to better understand how stars evolve during the later stages of their life-cycles.



End-of-summer Arctic sea ice extent is eighth lowest on record

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Arctic sea ice appeared to have reached its yearly lowest extent on Sept. 13, NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder have reported. Analysis of satellite data by NSIDC and NASA showed that at 1.79 million square miles (4.64 million square kilometers), this year's Arctic sea ice minimum extent is the eighth lowest in the consistent long-term satellite record, which began in 1978.



Scientists from MSU have invented a new way to 'weigh' intergalactic black holes

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Lomonosov Moscow State University) Astrophysicists from Moscow State University have found a new way to estimate the mass of supermassive black holes outside our galaxy, even if these holes are barely detectable. The results of the study were published in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal



NASA data shows Otis devoid of precipitation, now a remnant

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Former Hurricane Otis was not showing any thunderstorm development or precipitation on satellite imagery on Sept. 19. As a result, the National Hurricane Center declared Otis a remnant low pressure area.



NASA sees Tropical Depression Norma's small area of strength

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite has revealed that the area of strongest storms within now Tropical Depression Norma has diminished.



NASA looks within category 5 Hurricane Maria before and after first landfall

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Satellite data is enabling forecasters to look inside and outside of powerful Hurricane Maria. A NASA animation of satellite imagery shows Hurricane Maria's first landfall on the island of Dominica.



NASA tracking Jose meandering off US East Coast

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Jose has been a named storm for nearly two weeks now as it continues to slowly move northward off the US East Coast east of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. NASA's GPM satellite and NOAA's GOES East satellites have provided a look at the rainfall and movement of this long-lived storm.



New research suggests Mercury's poles are icier than scientists thought

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Brown University) A Brown University study identifies three large surface ice deposits near Mercury's north pole, and suggests there could be many additional small-scale deposits that would dramatically increase the planet's surface ice inventory.



Prime candidate to explain cosmic ray sea runs short of energy

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)) The very high-energy part of the spectrum of Cassiopeia A results from the cosmic rays within the remnant. Until now, this range of energy could not be measured with sufficient precision. An international team led by scientists from the Institute for Space Sciences, the Institut de Fisica d'Altes Energies and the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona, in Spain, has finally succeeded in doing those observations with the MAGIC telescopes.



Mathematician and chronicler of political murders

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Technical University of Munich (TUM)) Emil J. Gumbel's formulas are fundamental for extreme value theory. This statistical discipline describes extreme incidents, such as floods or storms. Little is known, however, that he was also a pioneer of modern data journalism, unveiling the patterns of political murder in the Weimar Republic. Professor Matthias Scherer and his team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) now intend to fill in the gaps in what the world knows about Gumbel.



Discovery of the closest binary supermassive black hole system in the galaxy NGC 7674

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) Scientists from NCRA-TIFR, Pune, and RIT, USA, have discovered the closest ever binary supermassive black hole system in a spiral galaxy NGC 7674, located about 400 million light years from Earth. The apparent separation of the two black holes in the binary system is less than one light year. This is direct observational proof of the existence of close supermassive black hole binary systems inside galaxies, which are potential sources of gravitational waves.



Solar wind impacts on giant 'space hurricanes' may affect satellite safety

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University) Could the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Costa Rica set off a hurricane in California? For most people, this hypothetical scenario may be difficult to imagine on Earth -- particularly when a real disaster strikes. Yet, in space, similarly small fluctuations in the solar wind as it streams toward the Earth's magnetic shield actually can affect the speed and strength of 'space hurricanes,' researcher Katariina Nykyri of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has reported in in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Space Physics.



New mirror-coating technology promises dramatic improvements in telescopes

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of California - Santa Cruz) At UC Santa Cruz, an electrical engineer has teamed up with astronomers to improve telescope mirrors using thin-film technology from the electronics industry. They are developing new protective coatings using an atomic layer deposition system large enough to accommodate telescope mirrors.



NASA identifies wind shear affecting Tropical Storm Lee

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Visible imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite showed Tropical Storm Lee as a weak swirl of clouds around its center with most of its clouds and thunderstorms pushed east of its center.



NASA sees Hurricane Jose off the US east coast

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Hurricane Jose producing dangerous surf and rip currents along the east Coast of the United States. Satellite imagery shows Jose is now close enough to the coast to also trigger a tropical storm warnings and watches.



VLA begins huge project of cosmic discovery

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(National Radio Astronomy Observatory) The largest observing project in the history of the VLA will produce the sharpest radio view ever made of such a huge portion of the sky. Images will be provided to the research community as they are produced.