Latest Astronomy Stories

June 10 Solar Flare
2014-09-25 03:00:52

Barbara Vonarburg, ETH Zurich Strong solar flares can bring down communications and power grids on Earth. By demonstrating how these gigantic eruptions are caused, ETH physicists are laying the foundations for future predictions. The shorter the interval between two explosions in the solar atmosphere, the more likely it is that the second flare will be stronger than the first one. ETH Professor Hans Jürgen Herrmann and his team have been able to demonstrate this, using model...

asteroid hunter Patrick Wiggins
2014-09-25 03:00:11

Lee J. Siegel, University of Utah What’s rocky, about a mile wide, orbits between Mars and Jupiter and poses no threat to Earth? An asteroid named “Univofutah” after the University of Utah. Discovered on Sept. 8, 2008, by longtime Utah astronomy educator Patrick Wiggins, the asteroid also known as 391795 (2008 RV77) this month was renamed Univofutah by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “It’s neat,” Wiggins says....

pluto debate
2014-09-25 05:51:31

Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Pluto may no longer be a planet in the eyes of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), but as a recent debate hosted by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) revealed, not everyone agrees with the official assessment that led to its 2006 demotion. “What is a planet? For generations of kids the answer was easy. A big ball of rock or gas that orbited our Sun, and there were nine of them in our solar system,” the...

2014-09-24 23:01:54

In a feat of long-distance detection, astronomers led by experts at the University of Maryland have found water vapor in the atmosphere of a Neptune-sized planet nearly 729 trillion miles from Earth. This is the smallest planet for which scientists have been able to identify chemical components of its atmosphere. (PRWEB) September 24, 2014 Astronomers have found water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet about four times bigger than Earth, in the constellation Cygnus about 124 light years...

2014-09-24 23:01:42

500 teens to participate in museum-led workshops focusing on innovation to kick-off Chicago Ideas Week YOU(th) program. Chicago, IL (PRWEB) September 24, 2014 On Tuesday, September 30, from 4 –7 p.m., the Adler Planetarium, in collaboration with Chicago Ideas Week (CIW), will host the 2014 CIW YOU(th) Kick-Off Event. This will be the official start of CIW’s youth component bringing 500 teens and 75 adult chaperones to the museum to participate in a series of museum-led science,...

extrasolar planet HAT-P-11b
2014-09-24 13:40:24

NASA Astronomers using data from three of NASA's space telescopes -- Hubble, Spitzer and Kepler -- have discovered clear skies and steamy water vapor on a gaseous planet outside our solar system. The planet is about the size of Neptune, making it the smallest planet from which molecules of any kind have been detected. [ Watch the Video: Zoom Into HAT-P-11 ] “This discovery is a significant milepost on the road to eventually analyzing the atmospheric composition of smaller, rocky...

mars and the sun
2014-09-24 07:50:31

Karen C. Fox, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Two main types of explosions occur on the sun: solar flares and coronal mass ejections. Unlike the energy and X-rays produced in a solar flare – which can reach Earth at the speed of light in eight minutes – coronal mass ejections are giant clouds of solar material that take one to three days to reach Earth. Once at Earth, these ejections, also called CMEs, can impact satellites in space or interfere with radio communications. During CME...

T Tauri star
2014-09-24 06:40:29

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Using the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have observed what seems to be windy weather surrounding a T Tauri star—considered to be an infant analog of our own Sun. Such wind might explain why some T Tauri stars have disks that glow weirdly in infrared light while others have a more expected shine. The results of this study were published in a recent issue of the...

The Difference Between Flares And CMEs
2014-09-23 03:49:47

[ Watch The Video: The Difference Between CMEs And Solar Flares ] Max Gleber, NASA There are many kinds of eruptions on the sun. Solar flares and coronal mass ejections both involve gigantic explosions of energy, but are otherwise quite different. The two phenomena do sometimes occur at the same time – indeed the strongest flares are almost always correlated with coronal mass ejections – but they emit different things, they look and travel differently, and they have different...

gravitational waves
2014-09-23 04:47:44

Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online As one team of experts has published a study claiming to have discovered hints of gravitational waves in stars, another has released a new galactic dust map that casts doubts on previous research claiming to have detected such waves earlier this year. In the first study, the authors demonstrated how these invisible ripples in the fabric of space and time could be observed by looking at the stars. Their new model proposes that a star...

Latest Astronomy Reference Libraries

Stellar Astrophysics
2014-01-12 00:00:00

The prominent feature that allows for the existence of life on Earth is the Sun. Radiation from our closest star provides heat and energy to our planet, driving biological processes and providing the necessary conditions for liquid water to naturally exist. But our Sun is only but one star in this vast Universe. And as it turns out, most stars are quite different than the one that illuminates our day. For this reason, scientists have, for hundreds of years, attempted to study the other...

Planetary Astronomy
2014-01-12 00:00:00

Image Caption: Artistic concept of a planetary system. Credit: Wikipedia/NASA/JPL-Caltech The term Astronomy encompasses a broad range of topics, including the study of stars, galaxies, and planets. In order to focus on the different areas of study, many subfields of astronomy emerge. One such area is the study of planets known, appropriately, as Planetary Astronomy. Observational Planetary Astronomy Even within the field of Planetary Astronomy, there are several divisions to...

2014-01-12 00:00:00

Image Caption: The Hubble Extreme Deep Field (XDF) was completed in September 2012 and shows the farthest galaxies ever photographed by humans. Each speck of light in the photo is an individual galaxy, some of them as old as 13.2 billion years; the observable universe is estimated to contain more than 200 billion galaxies. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia What is Cosmology? I once commented to an acquaintance that I was fascinated by the field of Cosmology, and mused that if I had more time, I...

2014-01-12 00:00:00

Image Caption: NGC 4414, a typical spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices, is about 56,000 light-years in diameter and approximately 60 million light-years distant. Credit: NASA/ESA/Wikipedia What is Astrophysics? For much of the modern age the term Astrophysics has been used synonymously with Astronomy. This interchange is so common that many textbooks even offer the two as having the same meaning. However, from a strictly historical perspective there are differences...

Tropic of Capricorn
2013-02-21 13:31:57

The Tropic of Capricorn, alternately called the Southern Tropic, is a marker of the most southerly latitude on the Earth at which the Sun can be directly overhead. This occurs at the December solstice, when the southern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun at its maximum degree. It is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. It presently lies 23 degrees 26’ 16’’ south of the Equator. Currently, the Tropic of Capricorn is drifting towards the north at...

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Word of the Day
  • A cloth or covering, more or less ornamented, laid over the saddle or furniture of a horse, especially of a sumpter-horse or horse of state.
  • Clothing, especially sumptuous clothing; equipment; outfit.
  • To cover with a caparison, as a horse.
  • To dress sumptuously; adorn with rich dress.
This word ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin 'cappa,' cloak.