Top 5 Astronomy News of November 2015

Astronomy is a niche where there is always news. There are regular inventions and so the world is always curious to get the latest news on astronomy.

Top 5 Astronomy News of November 2015

Comet fragments, not aliens, best explain mysterious dimming star

Star and shattered comet
Was it a catastrophic collision in the star’s asteroid belt? A giant impact that disrupted a nearby planet? A dusty cloud of rock and debris? A family of comets breaking apart? Or was it alien megastructures built to harvest the star’s energy?

Just what caused the mysterious dimming of star KIC 8462852?

Massimo Marengo from Iowa State University in Ames wondered when he saw all the buzz about the mysterious star found by citizen scientists on the Planet Hunters website. Read More…

Search for ‘Missing’ Carbon on Mars Cancelled

curiosity rover approaching mars concept
It may be time to call off the search for Mars’ missing carbon.

Mars’ carbon-rich atmosphere was once thick enough to raise the planet’s surface temperature and allow entire oceans of liquid water to form there — a drastic change from the cold desert it is today. This metamorphosis of the Red Planet has put scientists on the hunt for a left-over “carbon reservoir” in the planet’s dirt and soil. So far, the has come up empty. Read More…

 

Mars May Become a Ringed Planet Someday

mars rings
Mars may one day have rings similar to Saturn’s famous halo, new research suggests.

In a few tens of millions of years, the Red Planet may completely crush its innermost moon, Phobos, and form a ring of rocky debris, according to the new work. Phobos is moving closer to Mars every year, meaning the planet’s gravitational pull on the satellite is increasing. Some scientists have theorized that Phobos will eventually collide with Mars, but the new research suggests that the small moon may not last that long. Read More…

Mystery Signal from a Black Hole-Powered Jet

Blazar jet illus NASA JPLCaltechST
Observing a blazar is a little like standing beneath a relativistic waterfall. Look up: that flickering point of light is a head-on view of the powerful plasma jet shooting out from a supermassive black hole.

The free-flying electrons within that mess of plasma twirl at almost light speed around magnetic fields, and they radiate across the electromagnetic spectrum, often drowning out any other forms of emission. We might even see a sudden outburst when turbulence, a sudden influx of plasma, or some other force roils the jet. Read More…

Scientists get first glimpse of black hole eating star, ejecting high-speed flare

glimpse of black hole eating star
An international team of astrophysicists led by a Johns Hopkins University scientist has for the first time witnessed a star being swallowed by a black hole and ejecting a flare of matter moving at nearly the speed of light.

The finding reported in the journal Science tracks the star — about the size of our sun — as it shifts from its customary path, slips into the gravitational pull of a supermassive black hole and is sucked in, said Sjoert van Velzen, a Hubble fellow at Johns Hopkins.

“These events are extremely rare,” van Velzen said. “It’s the first time we see everything from the stellar destruction followed by the launch of a conical outflow, also called a jet, and we watched it unfold over several months.” Read More…

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