Could a collision between 2 asteroids millions of miles away cause an ice age on Earth, some 460 million years ago? A new study of earthly rocks and sediments – plus micrometeorites that fell in Antarctica – suggest it’s possible.
Why is the internet so chock-full of stories about asteroids on a collision course with Earth? At this rate, we should have been obliterated many times over already. Here comes the newest scare story: asteroid 2007 FT3. No, it won’t hit us, either.
Cassini data suggested that Saturn’s rings were only 10 to 100 million years old. A new study suggests that a “ring rain” onto Saturn makes the rings look younger than they really are, and that in fact Saturn’s rings date back billions of years.
“We have never seen anything like this in the 24 years we have studied the supermassive black hole. It’s usually a pretty quiet, wimpy black hole on a diet. We don’t know what is driving this big feast.”
It was exciting last week when scientists announced water vapor in a super-Earth’s atmosphere. But, even as the announcement came, other scientists were cautioning that the planet – K2-18b – is probably less like a super-Earth and more like a mini-Neptune.
Astronomers now call recently-discovered flares from supermassive black holes in distant galaxies quasi-periodic eruptions. “Giant black holes regularly flicker like a candle but the rapid, repeating changes seen in GSN 069 from December onwards are something completely new,” said one scientist.
Astronomers think the object they’ve labeled C/2019 Q4 – discovered August 30 – came from a place far, far away. If confirmed, it’s only the 2nd interstellar object ever detected, after ‘Oumuamua in 2017.
It’s a huge bipolar gas structure, hundreds of light-years across, centered on our galaxy’s center and near the galaxy’s central supermassive black hole. Astronomers found it with the new, supersensitive MeerKAT telescope in South Africa.
It’s a first-ever detection of water vapor in a super-Earth’s atmosphere, orbiting in the habitable zone of its star, 110 light-years away. The discovery supports the possibility that our galaxy contains many such habitable worlds.
The lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan are filled with liquid methane, not water, and some are surrounded by steep rims. A new study suggests these features might have been caused by explosions of warming nitrogen, which created Titan’s lake basins long ago.
The Hayabusa2 mission has confirmed that – if asteroid Ryugu or a similar asteroid were to come dangerously close to Earth – we’d need to take care in trying to divert it, lest it break up into fragments that might then impact Earth.
Astronomers have found evidence for a possible exomoon orbiting a gas giant planet 550 light-years away. If they’re interpreting the evidence correctly, this moon would be a place of destruction, even more volcanically active than Jupiter’s famous volcanic moon, Io.