A new theory says Earth is made of two planets, rather than just one. Apparently, our planet is the result of a collision that helped map the course of both Earth as we know it and the moon. More →
Scientists believe they may have found a giant planet in our distant solar system, possibly the long-sought after Planet X.
It is believed to have a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the Sun on average than does Neptune. As a result, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the Sun. More →
Less than a month ago, SpaceX made history when it launched a Falcon 9 rocket up into space and successfully managed to bring the booster back down to earth, landing it safely on a concrete landing pad.
Earlier today, SpaceX was at it again, only this time it was attempting to land a booster on a floating barge – or a ‘droneship’ as SpaceX calls it – in the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, though, things did not exactly go as planned as one of the booster’s landing legs broke upon impact. This marks the third time SpaceX has tried and failed to nail a ocean-based landing.
Scientists may have spotted the most powerful supernova ever seen, some 3.8 billion light years away in deep space.
Named ASASSN-15lh, it looks like a huge ball of hot gas and is radiating the energy of hundreds of billions of Suns. Ten miles across at its center, this object is putting on quite a show, creating a cosmic explosion about 200 times more powerful than a typical supernova and more than twice as luminous as the previous record-holding supernova. More →
You might naturally assume that prank calls are exclusively carried out by teenage boys with nothing but time on their hands, but apparently even accomplished 43-year-old astronauts can partake in some prank call tomfoolery, even if accidental, every now and again.
Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescope have found what they believe is the faintest object ever seen in the early universe, a galaxy that existed 13.8 billion years ago or about 400 million years after the big bang.
Nicknamed Tayna, meaning “first-born” in Aymara, a language spoken in the Andes and Altiplano regions of South America, the object could offer clues into the formation and evolution of the first galaxies. It also suggests that the early universe could be rich in galaxy targets for the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to uncover. More →
Astronomers have spotted the most distant object in our solar system, which could challenge the theories about how our planets formed.
Using the Subaru telescope located on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, scientists in October spotted what they believe is a dwarf planet, which is located about 9.6 billion miles from the Sun – or 100 times further from the Sun than the Earth and three times further from the Sun than Pluto is. That would easily beat the previous record of most distant object held by the dwarf planet Eris, which moves between 3.5 billion miles and 9.1 billion miles from the Sun.
Related: NASA’s Kepler mission discovers Earth’s older, bigger cousin
“A few weeks ago, we discovered this object that was moving very slow. A slow movement basically means the object is very distant,” Carnegie Institution for Science’s Scott Sheppard, who was part of the team that announced the find at the 47th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences in Washington, D.C., told FoxNews.com
“If you do the math by how slow it was moving, you can predict how far it is and this object appears to be the most distant object ever observed in our solar system,” he said.
Sheppard, whose group is in the midst of doing what he described as the “deepest, widest survey ever looking for solar system objects in the very far outer solar system,” said there are still plenty of unanswered questions about the object.
Related: 2 planets may lurk in solar system beyond Pluto, study says
They believe the object catalogued as V774104 is about 310 miles to 620 miles across, which would make it smaller than planets in our solar system but bigger than your typical asteroid.
“It’s fairly faint. We don’t know its precise orbit yet and we don’t know anything about its chemical composition,” Sheppard said. “We can guess at its size. We don’t know how much light it reflects. If it reflects a lot of light, if it’s very bright, it will be a smaller object. If it’s a darker object and doesn’t reflect much light, it would be much bigger. “
The discovery is unlikely to contribute all that much to the search for an Earth-like planet, which has been a growing priority of NASA. Rather, it is likely going to help astronomers answer more fundamental questions about how our solar system formed, how “planets and life on those planets formed.”
“Most objects that we know of interact with the planets in some way so the orbits have been disturbed over the past few billion years,” Sheppard said. “Whereas this object is so distant that it may not have been disturbed by planets. So its orbit is a pristine orbit from the formation of the original solar system. If we can get its orbit and understand how it formed and how it got there, it will tell us a lot about the formation of our solar system.”
Related: 2 planets may lurk in solar system beyond Pluto, study says
Sheppard said they plan to monitor the object over the coming months – they should have its orbit by next year – as well as search for other, even larger objects. They already have about 20 other objects they are tracking – though none is as far out as V774104.
“People believe there may be a massive planet in the very outer part of our solar system,” he said.
Related: Astronomers discover most ‘habitable,’ Earth-like planet yet
“This object may allow us to be able to find a much bigger object that is out in our solar system,” he said. “And if there is a really big object out in the very far outer part of our solar system, it would be very hard to explain that with what we know about solar system formation.”
If they found this bigger object so far out, it would challenge the notion that planets form best when they are in close proximity to the Sun and have trouble forming further out where there is “a big volume of space and a low density of material,” he said.
“It would pretty much revolutionize our thinking how solar systems form,” he said.
by Michael Casey
More from FoxNews.com Science:
- Mysterious space junk makes spectacular re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere
- Stunning NASA image shows the power of tropical cyclone Kate
- This adorable kitty looks like a werewolf: Here’s why
- Historic telegrams that helped catch infamous killer up for grabs
For the first time, scientists have captured an image of a glowing debris ring that formed as a result of an asteroid being ripped apart by a dead star.
Captured by scientists at the University of Warwick in the U.K., the rings are comprised of dust particles and debris as a result of the star’s gravity tearing apart asteroids that came too close. Gas produced by collisions among the debris within the ring is illuminated by ultraviolet rays from the star, causing it to emit a dark, red glow. More →
If you’re looking to get some booze on the cheap, you might want to consider visiting comet Lovejoy. A team of scientists recently discovered that the comet, as it traverses through the galaxy, is emitting ethyl alcohol, the very same kind that can be found in alcoholic beverages.
“We found that comet Lovejoy was releasing as much alcohol as in at least 500 bottles of wine every second during its peak activity,” said Nicolas Biver of the Paris Observatory, lead author of the team who recently published the findings in Science Advances.
Talk about a scary Halloween. Earlier this week, reports emerged that a gigantic asteroid with a diameter taller than the Empire State Building will fly past Earth on October 31st. There is no danger of the asteroid making contact with us; it’s expected to pass at a distance of about 310,000 miles, which is further from our planet than the moon.
What is a bit frightening, however, is the fact that astronomers didn’t even know about the asteroid until about two weeks ago. More →
A distant star is getting a lot of attention from astronomers – possibly as a sign that alien life is out there.
The star KIC 8462852 was discovered through Planet Hunters, a citizen science program at Yale University. Taking data from the Kepler Space Telescope, volunteers go searching for signs of a drop in light due to orbiting exoplanets crossing in front of their parent stars. More →
The Hubble space telescope has captured a stunning image of a faraway galaxy known as a barred spiral.
Galaxy NGC 4639 is located over 70 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Virgo. NGC 4639 is one of about 1500 galaxies that make up the Virgo Cluster, according to the European Space Agency (ESA), one of NASA’s Hubble partners. More →