Scientists test a device on an Alaska glacier that could be used to explore an icy moon of Jupiter.
In a finding that could have implications in the search for life beyond Earth, researchers from an expedition called WISSARD confirmed this week that the waters and sediments of a lake that lies 800 meters (2,600 feet) beneath the surface of the West Antarctic ice sheet support “viable microbial ecosystems.”
Astronomers have used archival data from from an X-ray satellite to identify what they now believe is an unusual midsize black hole. We know of stellar black holes formed by dying stars; they are relatively small, measuring up to around 25 times the mass of our sun. And we know of supermassive black holes – now thought to reside in the cores of most galaxies – containing hundreds of thousands to billions of times the mass of the sun. But the black hole called M82 X-1 – the brightest X-ray source in the galaxy Messier 82, or M82, located 12 million light-years away – is thought to be around 400 times the sun’s mass. And that characteristic makes it very rare.
NASA’s Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft created this new video of stills taken of the Pluto-Charon system over five days last month.
How does ocean debris move around the Pacific Ocean? Where does it come from and how long has it been around? And what can we do about it?
Estimates place the number of giant pandas in the world today at 1,600-3,000. They are incredibly rare and endangered. That’s why this week’s announcement of panda triplets at a zoo in southern China is so exciting … not to mention adorable.
To celebrate World Elephant Day … It’s an EarthSky favorite!
Martian auroras? Or maybe a meteor shower? New NASA video about what Mars satellites might see when Comet Siding Spring passes close to Mars this October.
Last week, ESA’s Rosetta mission accomplished the first-ever comet rendezvous. That is, it’s the first spacecraft ever to fly alongside a comet, which it will continue to do for the coming year. Now the mission is in a race against time to prepare maps and collect data before the mission’s Philae lander is sent down to the surface of the comet this November.
The August 10 supermoon might look super big seen near a horizon. But all full moons look big near a horizon, due to an illusion called the moon illusion.