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    Astronomy

    Strange Martian mineral deposit likely sourced from volcanic explosions

    Ashfall from ancient volcanic explosions is the likely source of a strange mineral deposit near the landing site for NASA’s next Mars rover, a new study finds. The research, published in the journal Geology, could help scientists assemble a timeline of volcanic activity and environmental conditions on early Mars. …read more

    Source:: Physorg space news

          

    Neptune’s moon Triton fosters rare icy union

    Astronomers using the Gemini Observatory explore Neptune’s largest moon Triton and observe, for the first time beyond the lab, an extraordinary union between carbon monoxide and nitrogen ices. The discovery offers insights into how this volatile mixture can transport material across the moon’s surface via geysers, trigger seasonal atmospheric changes, and provide a context for conditions on other distant, icy worlds. …read more

    Source:: Physorg space news

          

    Eighteen Earth-sized exoplanets discovered

    Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), the Georg August University of Göttingen, and the Sonneberg Observatory have discovered 18 Earth-sized planets beyond the solar system. The worlds are so small that previous surveys had overlooked them. One of them is one of the smallest known so far; another one could offer conditions friendly to life. The researchers re-analyzed a part of the data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope with a new and more sensitive method that they developed. The team estimates that their new method has the potential of finding more than 100 additional exoplanets in the Kepler mission’s entire data set. The scientists describe their results in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. …read more

    Source:: Physorg space news

          

    Three exocomets discovered around the star Beta Pictoris

    Just about a year after the launch of the NASA mission TESS, the first three comets orbiting the nearby star Beta Pictoris outside our solar system were discovered with data from the space telescope. The main goal of TESS is to search for exoplanets—planets orbiting other stars. The recognition of signals from much smaller exocomets compared to planets requires the analysis of a precise light curve, which can now be obtained using the technical sophistication of the new space telescope. …read more

    Source:: Physorg space news

          

    Ultra-luminous X-ray pulsar NGC 300 ULX1 experienced unprecedented spin evolution, study finds

    Using NASA’s Swift space telescope and NICER instrument aboard the International Space Station (ISS), astronomers have investigated the properties of an ultra-luminous X-ray pulsar known as NGC 300 ULX1. Results of this study, presented in a paper published May 9 on the arXiv preprint server, indicate that this object experienced an unprecedented spin evolution as its spin period decreased significantly during a timespan of four years. …read more

    Source:: Physorg space news

          

    Formation of the moon brought water to Earth

    The Earth is unique in our solar system: It is the only terrestrial planet with a large amount of water and a relatively large moon, which stabilizes the Earth’s axis. Both were essential for Earth to develop life. Planetologists at the University of Münster (Germany) have now been able to show, for the first time, that water came to Earth with the formation of the Moon some 4.4 billion years ago. The Moon was formed when Earth was hit by a body about the size of Mars, also called Theia. Until now, scientists had assumed that Theia originated in the inner solar system near the Earth. However, researchers from Münster can now show that Theia comes from the outer solar system, and it delivered large quantities of water to Earth. The results are published in the current issue of Nature Astronomy. …read more

    Source:: Physorg space news

          

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