Space

Hotter than a star Space

Hotter than a star

WASP-189 b is a rather unusual planet. The gas giant was already discovered two years ago. Now researchers have discovered new details about it with the help of the CHEOPS satellite. Thus WASP-189b orbits its star 20 times closer than the earth the sun. For a complete orbit it needs only 2.7 days. Its home star is larger and over 2,000 degrees hotter than the Sun, which is why it appears to glow blue. "We only know of a handful of planets that orbit around such hot stars. In addition, this system is by far the brightest we know…
BepiColombo photographs Venus in flight Life

BepiColombo photographs Venus in flight

The ESA-JAXA mission BepiColombo has completed the first of two flybys of Venus needed to put it on course for the innermost planet of the solar system, Mercury. The closest approach to the Earth's hot sister took place this morning (15. 10.) at 03:58 GMT at a distance of about 10 720 km from the planet's surface. Launched on 20 October 2018, the spacecraft will require nine gravity assist fly-bys - one to Earth, two to Venus and six to Mercury - before it can enter orbit around Mercury in 2025. The flybys will use the gravitational pull of…
Why it snows on Pluto’s mountains Space

Why it snows on Pluto’s mountains

In 2015, the New Horizons space probe discovered spectacular snow-covered mountains on Pluto that are strikingly similar to the mountains on Earth. Such a landscape had never before been observed anywhere else in the solar system. However, there is one major difference: On Earth, atmospheric temperatures decrease with altitude. On Pluto, however, they increase with altitude due to the sun's radiation. So where does this ice come from? An international team of researchers has now investigated this. The scientists first discovered that the "snow" on the mountains of Pluto is actually frozen methane, with traces of this gas in…
Massive black hole turns star in solar size into spaghetti Astrophysics

Massive black hole turns star in solar size into spaghetti

About 215 million years ago the fate of a star was fulfilled: It was swallowed by a black hole with a million solar masses. The death struggle dragged on for a whole month. Meanwhile, the dying star was bidding farewell, a high-energy flare that emitted enough energy in the X-ray range alone to accelerate the Earth to one percent of the speed of light. This flare, called AT2019qiz and registered on Earth in 2019, was a gift to terrestrial astronomers. It is the first star death of this kind that was discovered so close to the Earth (although 215…
Who’s watching us? Life

Who’s watching us?

Earthly astronomers are busy scanning distant star systems for planets. There is one limitation: With the popular transit method, we can only detect planets if they move in front of their star from our point of view and change its brightness. Of course, this limits the selection quite a bit, it is a big coincidence if the orbital plane of an exoplanet is roughly parallel to our viewing direction to the star. Now you can also ask different questions. Let's assume that aliens were looking for other planets that harbor life, just like us. Where would they have to…
Astronomers are searching for the super planet Life

Astronomers are searching for the super planet

Again and again, astronomers proudly present exoplanets that would be suitable for life as we know it - i.e. made of solid rock and illuminated by their stars in such a way that water exists on their surface in a liquid state. But is our home planet really ideal for the development of life? After all, when the sun was still young and shone with a third less power, it was still quite cold here until CO2 finally created a greenhouse effect. A study under the direction of the scientist Dirk Schulze Makuch of the Washington State University and…
Why Jupiter’s storms behave so strangely Space

Why Jupiter’s storms behave so strangely

At the south pole of Jupiter there is an impressive sight - even for a gas giant covered with colored bands, which carries a red spot larger than the earth. Near its south pole, a cluster of swirling storms has formed, arranged in a geometric pattern. Since they were first sighted by the NASA space probe Juno in 2019, the storms have puzzled scientists. Basically, they resemble hurricanes on Earth. However, storms on our planet do not gather at the poles and swirl around each other as a pentagon or hexagon. Now a research team in the laboratory of…
How the Magellanic Stream was formed Astrophysics

How the Magellanic Stream was formed

The Milky Way does not travel through the universe alone. It is accompanied on its journey by smaller galaxies. The two largest are the Small Magellanic Cloud and the Large Magellanic Cloud, which are both visible as dusty twin smudges in the southern hemisphere. When the Magellanic Clouds started orbiting the Milky Way billions of years ago (astronomers are not certain about the timing and the gravitational bond, it’s possible that they are still on their first approach to the Milky Way), an enormous stream of gas known as the Magellanic Stream was ripped out of them. The stream…