A new study from researchers in Tokyo helps explain how cosmic rays affect prebiotic organic chemistry in the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan.
Titan and its thick, haze atmosphere as seen by the Cassini spacecraft in 2013. Some of the methane/ethane lakes near the north pole can just be seen through the haze. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.
The bright bluish-white star, Castor, in the constellation Gemini, appears to our eyes as a single star. But it’s actually a family of 6 stars.
A photo of Castor (Alpha Geminorum). The four spikes, called diffraction spikes, are due to starlight diffracted by struts holding the secondary mirror in the telescope tube. The reddish annulus is due to reflections in the telescope's internal optics. Both artifacts are commonly seen in telescope images. Image via Fred Espenak
These hot, dust-laden winds are known as “la calima” and happen most often in winter. They can blow at up to 75 mph (120 kph). The dust kicked up last weekend in Africa drifted over the Canary Islands, shutting down airports and stranding travelers.
This video tracks a telescopic view of Venus from when it came into easy view in our evening sky – around October 2019 – to May 2020. It shows how Venus wanes in phase as the planet’s disk sizes increases, and explains why.
A new study from researchers in the Netherlands shows how scientists can detect exoplanets orbiting red dwarf stars, and learn about their environments, from the radio waves generated by auroras on those worlds.
Artist's concept of the atmosphere of a rocky planet interacting with the strong magnetic field of its nearby red dwarf star. This would create auroras in the planet's atmosphere powerful enough to be detected, by radio waves, from Earth. Image via ASTRON.
New research suggests that early humans in Africa interbred with a ghost population that likely split from the ancestors of humans and Neanderthals between 360,000 and 1.02 million years ago.
Dark matter doesn’t emit light. It can’t be directly observed with any of the existing tools of astronomers. Yet astrophysicists believe it and dark energy make up most of the mass of the cosmos. What dark matter is, and what it isn’t. here.
Since the amount of visible material in galaxies can't account for their shapes, distributions, and movements, astrophysicists argue there must be a form of mass yet to be discovered. This mass doesn't appear to affect normal matter significantly in any other way - such as by absorbing or emitting photons - making it completely 'dark'. Image via ScienceAlert. https://www.sciencealert.com/dark-matter
Orange Arcturus is more evolved than our sun and has swollen up to a larger size. It’s less than 37 light-years away and appears as the brightest star north of the celestial equator. The Big Dipper can help you find it.
The longest lunar month in 2020 starts with the new moon on February 23, and concludes with the new moon on March 24. Details about 2020’s lunar months, here.