Heavens

A new study finds that Earth's water may have come from materials that were present in the inner solar system at the time the planet formed -- instead of far-reaching comets or asteroids delivering such water. The findings published Aug. 28 in Science suggest that Earth may have always been wet.

The Earth is the only planet known to have liquid water on its surface, a fundamental characteristic when it comes to explaining the emergence of life. However, was this water always present in the rocks that made up our planet? Alternatively, was it delivered later by asteroids and comets that bombarded the Earth? Or did the Earth's water originate from a combination of both sources?

In a landmark study, scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have mapped the immense envelope of gas, called a halo, surrounding the Andromeda galaxy, our nearest large galactic neighbor. Scientists were surprised to find that this tenuous, nearly invisible halo of diffuse plasma extends 1.3 million light-years from the galaxy--about halfway to our Milky Way--and as far as 2 million light-years in some directions. This means that Andromeda's halo is already bumping into the halo of our own galaxy.

Maunakea, Hawaii - A cosmic dance between two merging galaxies, each one containing a supermassive black hole that's rapidly feeding on so much material it creates a phenomenon known as a quasar, is a rare find.

Astronomers have discovered several pairs of such merging galaxies, or luminous "dual" quasars, using three Maunakea Observatories in Hawaii - Subaru Telescope, W. M. Keck Observatory, and Gemini Observatory.

China's FengYun-3 (FY-3) satellite programme is an important part of the Earth observing system and provides observations for numerical weather prediction (NWP), reanalyses, and climate studies. The latest platform in the programme, FY-3D, carries the Microwave Temperature Sounder 2 (MWTS-2), the Microwave Humidity Sounder 2 (MWHS-2), and the Microwave Radiation Imager (MWRI). Together, these instruments have radiometric capability spanning the microwave domain from 10 to 183 GHz and provide valuable information on surface and atmospheric temperature, humidity, and wind.

Until now, these flows of material had been detected only in other wavelength ranges, such as X-rays or the visible, depending on the phase in which the black hole is consuming its surrounding material. This study provides the first evidence that the winds are present throughout the evolution of the eruption, independently of the phase, and this is a step forward in our understanding of the mysterious processes of accretion onto stellar mass black holes.

When a star passes too close to a supermassive black hole, tidal forces tear it apart, producing a bright flare of radiation as material from the star falls into the black hole. Astronomers study the light from these "tidal disruption events" (TDEs) for clues to the feeding behavior of the supermassive black holes lurking at the centers of galaxies.

New light has been shed on a mysterious and long-standing conundrum at the very heart of our galaxy. The new work offers a potential solution to the so-called 'Galactic bar paradox', whereby different observations produce contradictory estimates of the motion of the central regions of the Milky Way. The results are published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

An international team led by Professor Tian Hui from Peking University has recently measured the global magnetic field of the solar corona for the first time. The team used observations from the Coronal Multi-channel Polarimeter, an instrument designed by Dr. Steve Tomczyk at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, USA. Their results have been recently published in the magazines of Science and Science China Technological Sciences. Yang Zihao, a first-year graduate student at Peking University, is the first author of both papers.

A mystery surrounding the space around our solar system is unfolding thanks to evidence of supernovae found in deep-sea sediments.

Professor Anton Wallner, a nuclear physicist at ANU, led the study which shows the Earth has been travelling for the last 33,000 years through a cloud of faintly radioactive dust.

"These clouds could be remnants of previous supernova explosions, a powerful and super bright explosion of a star," Professor Wallner said.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - An upcoming NASA mission could find that there are more rogue planets - planets that float in space without orbiting a sun - than there are stars in the Milky Way, a new study theorizes.

"This gives us a window into these worlds that we would otherwise not have," said Samson Johnson, an astronomy graduate student at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study. "Imagine our little rocky planet just floating freely in space - that's what this mission will help us find."

The study was published today in he Astronomical Journal.

New simulations show that NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will be able to reveal myriad rogue planets - freely floating bodies that drift through our galaxy untethered to a star. Studying these island worlds will help us understand more about how planetary systems form, evolve, and break apart.

NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of comet NEOWISE, taken on Aug. 8, zero in on the visitor's coma, the gossamer shell of gas and dust that surrounds its nucleus as it is heated by the Sun. This is the first time Hubble has photographed a comet of this brightness at such resolution after this close of a pass by the Sun.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the closest images yet of the sky's latest visitor to make the headlines, comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE, after it passed by the Sun. The new images of the comet were taken on 8 August and feature the visitor's coma, the fine shell that surrounds its nucleus, and its dusty output.

Solar flares emit sudden, strong bursts of electromagnetic radiation from the Sun's surface and its atmosphere, and eject plasma and energetic particles into inter-planetary space. Since large solar flares can cause severe space weather disturbances affecting Earth, to mitigate their impact their occurrence needs to be predicted. However, as the onset mechanism of solar flares is unclear, most flare prediction methods so far have relied on empirical methods.