Heavens

The small red planet is losing water more quickly than what theory as well as past observations would suggest. The gradual disappearance of water (H2O) occurs in the upper atmosphere of Mars: sunlight and chemistry disassociate water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen atoms that the weak gravity of Mars cannot prevent from escaping into space. An international research team,1 led partly by CNRS researcher Franck Montmessin, has just revealed that water vapour is accumulating in large quantities and unexpected proportions at an altitude of over 80 km in the Martian atmosphere.

Astronomers have cataloged signs of 9 heavy metals in the infrared light from supergiant and giant stars. New observations based on this catalog will help researchers to understand how events like binary neutron star mergers have affected the chemical composition and evolution of our own Milky Way Galaxy and other galaxies.

Astronomers using the Mayall telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, a program of NSF's National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, have identified several overlapping bubbles of hydrogen gas ionized by the stars in early galaxies, a mere 680 million years after the Big Bang. This is the earliest direct evidence from the period when the first generation of stars formed and began reionizing the hydrogen gas that permeated the Universe.

Astronomers announced Monday the first discovery made by NASA's TESS mission of a two-star planetary system. Led by researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and San Diego State University, with other collaborators, the telescope satellite's finding marks the start of a much better understanding of the population of such planetary systems.

On behalf of the international team of 60 investigators, the work was presented by researcher Veselin Kostov at the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu.

Honolulu -- The outskirts of the Milky Way are home to the galaxy's oldest stars. But astronomers have spotted something unexpected in this celestial retirement community: a flock of young stars.

Astronomers using data from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) have shown that Alpha Draconis, a well-studied star visible to the naked eye, and its fainter companion star regularly eclipse each other. While astronomers previously knew this was a binary system, the mutual eclipses came as a complete surprise.

Currently, the faint star V Sagittae, V Sge, in the constellation Sagitta, is barely visible, even in mid-sized telescopes. However, around the year 2083, this innocent star will explode, becoming as bright as Sirius, the brightest star visible in the night sky. During this time of eruption, V Sge will be the most luminous star in the Milky Way galaxy.

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered its first Earth-size planet in its star's habitable zone, the range of distances where conditions may be just right to allow the presence of liquid water on the surface. Scientists confirmed the find, called TOI 700 d, using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and have modeled the planet's potential environments to help inform future observations.

In 2019, when Wolf Cukier finished his junior year at Scarsdale High School in New York, he joined NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, as a summer intern. His job was to examine variations in star brightness captured by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and uploaded to the Planet Hunters TESS citizen science project.

Observations with the 8-meter Gemini North telescope, a program of the NSF's National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, have allowed astronomers to pinpoint the location of a Fast Radio Burst in a nearby galaxy -- making it the closest known example to Earth and only the second repeating burst source to have its location pinpointed in the sky. The source of this burst of radio waves is located in an environment radically different from that seen in previous studies.

For more than a decade, astronomers across the globe have wrestled with the perplexities of fast radio bursts -- intense, unexplained cosmic flashes of energy, light years away, that pop for mere milliseconds.

Despite the hundreds of records of these enigmatic sources, researchers have only pinpointed the precise location of four such bursts.

Astronomers in Europe, working with members of Canada's CHIME Fast Radio Burst collaboration, have pinpointed the location of a repeating fast radio burst (FRB) first detected by the CHIME telescope in British Columbia in 2018. The breakthrough is only the second time that scientists have determined the precise location of a repeating source of these millisecond bursts of radio waves from space.

An international team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to create the most detailed image yet of the gas surrounding two supermassive black holes in a merging galaxy.

To kickstart the 30th anniversary year of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble has imaged a majestic spiral galaxy. Galaxy UGC 2885 may be the largest known in the local universe. It is 2.5 times wider than our Milky Way and contains 10 times as many stars.

A team of astronomers at the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) in Pune, India have discovered a mysterious ring of hydrogen gas around a distant galaxy, using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). The ring is much bigger than the galaxy it surrounds and has a diameter of about 380,000 light-years (about 4 times that of our Milky Way).