Space

Quasar transmits from the early days of the universe Astrophysics

Quasar transmits from the early days of the universe

In the 1950s, astronomers discovered radio sources to which point-like, i.e. star-like objects could be assigned in the visible light range. Until then, whole galaxies had been identified as radio sources. The findings were called "quasi-stellar objects", or quasars for short. Later, however, researchers realized that quasars are embedded in galaxies after all, and in fact constitute their active nuclei radiating in many wavelength ranges. That they had been seen only as point sources was simply because they are very, very distant. In fact, they are the most distant objects in the universe that we can observe. This is…
Super Venus in our cosmic neighborhood Space

Super Venus in our cosmic neighborhood

Wolf 437, also called Gliese 486, is a red dwarf fairly close to the Sun - just 26 light-years away. What makes it interesting is a planet that astronomers now present in Science. Gliese 486 b moves around its parent star in a circular orbit within 1.5 days and at a distance of only 2.5 million kilometers (Earth: 150 million kilometers). Since its rotation around its own axis always takes the same time, the planet always turns the same side to its sun - similar to the moon to the earth. Although the star Gliese 486 is much fainter and…
When a star rips apart … Astrophysics

When a star rips apart …

... a muon deep under the ice of Antarctica creates a trace in a gigantic detector. The muon was created because a high-energy neutrino interacted with an atom in the detector. The neutrino began its journey about 700 million years ago, around the time the first animals evolved on Earth. That's the travel time it took for the particle to get from the distant, unnamed galaxy (cataloged as 2MASX J20570298+1412165) in the constellation of The Dolphin to Earth. It occurred as a result of "AT2019dsg." This is what astronomers call an event in which a star was ripped apart…
Far far out is farther out than far out Space

Far far out is farther out than far out

It is like it is. Astronomers have now confirmed it: Dwarf planet candidate "Farfarout" really is farther away than its buddy "Farout". Farfarout was first spotted in January 2018 by the Subaru telescope on Maunakea in Hawai'i. Its discoverers could tell it was very far away, but they weren't sure exactly how far. They needed more observations. "At that point, we didn't know the orbit of the object because we only had the Subaru discovery observations over 24 hours, but it takes years of observations to get the orbit of an object around the Sun," explained co-discoverer Scott Sheppard of…
Three couples in a rare star dance Space

Three couples in a rare star dance

It must be quite interesting to live in the star system TYC 7037-89-1. Imagine a Galileo Galilei who has to explain this to his church highers: "Gentlemen, the earth moves around the sun while the sun moves around another sun. Just as two other stars orbit each other, with which we in turn orbit the center of mass with a third pair." But that probably still would have been the simpler option, because the three pairs of stars astronomers found using NASA's TESS satellite telescope orbit each other in very close orbits of 1.3, 1.6 and 8.2 days. A…
Six exoplanets in unusual resonance Astrophysics

Six exoplanets in unusual resonance

If one leaves multi-body systems to themselves, sometimes a strange order appears. The distances of the planetary orbits are integer multiples of a basic value, moons and planets move in unison, celestial bodies always turn to the same side - what we then perceive as cosmic order are all no miracles, but merely results of the effect of gravity in a system built up in a certain way. This is also true of TOI-178, a star about 200 light-years away in the constellation Sculptor. When researchers first observed the star, they initially suspected they had discovered two planets orbiting…
How deep is Titan’s largest lake? Space

How deep is Titan’s largest lake?

Saturn's moon Titan is one of the most mysterious celestial bodies in the solar system. Beneath the golden haze of gaseous nitrogen in which it is enveloped, it has a weather cycle comparable to Earth's - only not with water, but with liquid methane. The methane comes down from the sky as rain, flows down the mountains in rivers, forms lakes and oceans, and evaporates from them back into the atmosphere. In a new paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research, researchers now use data from one of the Cassini mission's last Titan flybys to show how deep Titan's…
Luhman-16 B: The striped dwarf Space

Luhman-16 B: The striped dwarf

Luhman-16 B is a brown dwarf - a star that was a little too small to actually become a star and ignite hydrogen fusion in its interior. Brown dwarfs are about the size of Jupiter, but typically dozens of times more massive. Luhman-16 B, along with its brother Luhman-16 A, is the closest to Earth of this type of celestial object. It is also the target of the "Majestic Dracht" in Proxima log 2. Because of their nature - they do not glow - brown dwarfs are quite difficult to observe. Only with the right tricks can researchers find…