Heavens

Despite substantial progress over the past half a century in understanding of how galaxies form, important open questions remain regarding how precisely the diffuse gas known as the 'intergalactic medium' is converted into stars. One possibility, suggested in recent theoretical models, is that the early phase of galaxy formation involves an epoch when galaxies contain a great amount of gas but are still inefficient at forming stars. Direct proof of such a 'Dark Phase' has been so far elusive, however --- after all, dark galaxies do not emit much visible light.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A string of detections -- four more binary black holes and a pair of neutron stars -- soon followed the Sept. 14, 2015, observation.

Abu Dhabi, May 7, 2018: An international team of scientists, led by Laurent Gizon, co-principal investigator of the Center for Space Science at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), have discovered planetary waves of vorticity on and inside the Sun similar to those that significantly influence weather on Earth.

Rossby waves are a natural phenomenon in the atmospheres and oceans of planets that form in response to the rotation of the planet. Like Earth, the Sun also rotates and should support Rossby waves, but their existence on the Sun has been debated, until now.

The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite has been busy analyzing severe weather in the U.S.

Until May 1, tornado alley was experiencing a drought of spring tornadoes. The eighteen tornadoes reported in the area yesterday may be a sign of things to come. Moisture laden air from the Gulf of Mexico is having a more normal interaction with dry air flowing from the desert south-western states (dry line). Wind speed and wind direction change (shear) with height results in thunderstorms that spawn rotation and tornadoes.

When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Flamboyan in the Southern Indian Ocean it analyzed the storm in visible and infrared light.

Flamboyan, the 21st tropical cyclone of the Southern Indian Ocean season, formed over the weekend of April 28 and 29.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite provided a visible-light image of Flamboyan on April 30 at 4:05 a.m. EDT. The image showed that northwesterly vertical wind shear was pushing the storms southeast of the center.

China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope(FAST), still under commissioning, discovered a radio millisecond pulsar (MSP) coincident with the unassociated gamma-ray source 3FGL J0318.1+0252 in the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) point-source list. This is another milestone of FAST.

BOULDER, CO, USA: As Curiosity rover marches across Mars, the red planet's watery past comes into clearer focus.

In early 2017 scientists announced the discovery of possible desiccation cracks in Gale Crater, which was filled by lakes 3.5 billion years ago. Now, a new study has confirmed that these features are indeed desiccation cracks, and reveals fresh details about Mars' ancient climate.

Sending a human into space and doing it efficiently presents a galaxy of challenges. Koki Ho, University of Illinois assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, and his graduate students, Hao Chen and Bindu Jagannatha, explored ways to integrate the logistics of space travel by looking at a campaign of lunar missions, spacecraft design, and creating a framework to optimize fuel and other resources.

An Australian-led group of astronomers working with European collaborators has revealed the "DNA" of more than 340,000 stars in the Milky Way, which should help them find the siblings of the Sun, now scattered across the sky.

This is a major announcement from an ambitious Galactic Archaeology survey, called GALAH, launched in late 2013 as part of a quest to uncover the formulation and evolution of galaxies. When complete, GALAH will investigate more than a million stars.

The SPHERE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile allows astronomers to suppress the brilliant light of nearby stars in order to obtain a better view of the regions surrounding them. This collection of new SPHERE images is just a sample of the wide variety of dusty discs being found around young stars.