The unexpected discovery of yellowballs by citizen scientists – in 2011 and 2012 – is shaking up astronomers’ ideas about how stars and star clusters form. It’s giving scientists a new window into the birth and evolution of young stars.
First observed in 2011 and 2012, Yellowballs were once believed to be the precursor to Bubbles, a phenomenon caused by the evolution of a young massive star. With the help of citizen scientists, who made the initial discovery, scientists now know Yellowballs to be relatively independent from Bubbles. While some Yellowballs may become Bubbles when associated with young massive stars, more than 80-percent are connected to star clusters lacking massive stars.
Via Charles Kerton, Iowa State University/NASA/Spitzer
NASA has given the name Rafael Navarro Mountain to a hill in Gale Crater on Mars, where the Curiosity rover has been exploring since 2012. Navarro, a mission scientist, died in January 2021 from Covid-19.
image via nasa
Sea level rise is killing trees along the U.S. east coast, creating ‘ghost forests’ that are visible from space.
Ghost forest panorama in coastal North Carolina. Image via Emily Ury/ The Conversation https://theconversation.com/sea-level-rise-is-killing-trees-along-the-atlantic-coast-creating-ghost-forests-that-are-visible-from-space-147971
Spring brings flowers to the landscape and photos of the Milky Way to EarthSky! Enjoy these photos of our galaxy taken in 2021, and keep your eye on this space for more to come!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Dean Balosie in DuPuis Management Area, Florida, captured this photo of the Milky Way on April 10, 2021. He wrote: "Galactic center on the rise just before the sun." Thank you, Dean!
The chemical fingerprint of exoplanet HD 209458b’s atmosphere reveals as many as 6 molecules and that it has migrated inwards from its birthplace much farther out in its star system.
Artist's concept of exoplanet HD 209458b as it transits its star. Note the illuminated crescent of the planet, where the colors illustrate the light spectra that the astronomers used to identify as many as six molecules in its atmosphere. "It is the first time that so many molecules have been measured, and points to an atmosphere with more carbon present than oxygen", they said. Image via University of Warwick
Levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane continued to rise in 2020, said NOAA, despite the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic response.
Image via Met Office https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/2021/record-co2-levels-despite-lower-emissions-in-2020
The Mars helicopter – named Ingenuity – now needs a software update, NASA said. The new 1st flight date will be next week, at the earliest.
In this artist's concept, NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter stands on the red planet's surface as the Perseverance rover (partly visible on the left) rolls away. Image via NASA
A new analysis of data from the 1978 Pioneer Venus mission, by researchers at Cal Poly Pomona, finds evidence not only for phosphine, but also possible chemical disequilibrium in Venus’ atmosphere, an additional possible sign of biological activity.
Artist's illustration of the Pioneer Venus mission, which sent 4 small probes into Venus' atmosphere in 1978. A new analysis of the data sent back supports the previous finding of phosphine, as well as other "biologically relevant chemicals" that seem to show a state of disequilibrium - a possible hallmark of life - in the planet's atmosphere. Image via NASA/ The Planetary Society
From April through June, Leo the Lion — one of the zodiacal constellations — is a prominent fixture in the evening sky. It’s quite easy to spot.
You'll see Leo the Lion in the sky in 2 parts: the backwards question mark pattern represents Leo's head, and the triangle at the back represents the Lion's hindquarters. The bright star Regulus
is part of the backwards question mark pattern, which is known as The Sickle. Image via Derekscope