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2016 Guide to Astronomy Discoveries

By on Dec 26, 2016 in Astonishing Discoveries | 0 comments

I try and keep up with the latest astronomy discoveries and still have a hard time catching everything. 2016 has been nothing short of exciting and has left me in awe on more than one occasion. So here’s a list of all the space science discoveries made in 2016. Be sure to bookmark this page and come back as it’ll be updated until the last day of the year. Here we go!   Jan 7th, 2016 – Most Distant Massive Galaxy Cluster Identified 2016 starts off with a grand find. Coming to you from MIT is a discovery of a gargantuan galaxy cluster that dates back 3.8 billion years just after the Big Bang. Of course, “just” is a relative term here. This galaxy cluster is a memorable name that goes by “IDCS J1426.5+3508” or our friends call it “IDCS 1426” for short. If you were to fly there it would take you about 10 billion years travelling at...

Two Key Ingredients for Habitable Planets Found for First Time Beyond Our Solar System

By on Oct 14, 2013 in Astonishing Discoveries | 0 comments

Two Key Ingredients for Habitable Planets Found for First Time Beyond Our Solar System     Located 150 light years away astronomers have discovered two main ingredients for habitable planets circling around a star. The white dwarf star known as GD 61 is at its end of its life but when astronomers were observing it they found fragments of an asteroid with significant amounts of water orbiting the star. With these findings it is very possible that this planetary system could have harboured habitable planets at one point. This is indeed the first time scientists have found these two ingredients for the first time beyond our solar system. “These water-rich building blocks, and the terrestrial planets they build, may in fact be common — a system cannot create things as big as asteroids and avoid building planets, and GD 61 had the ingredients to deliver lots of water...

The Largest Known Population of Globular Star Clusters

By on Sep 13, 2013 in Astonishing Discoveries | 0 comments

The Largest Known Population of Globular Star Clusters     Hubble has discovered the largest known population of globular star clusters in the universe thus far. It may not seem like it at first but the photo shows 160,000 star clusters! To give you some perspective our Milky Way galaxy has about 150 star clusters. What does observing star clusters do for us exactly? Well studying globular star clusters helps astronomers understand the formation of galaxies. Not only that but it also leaves clues of how much dark matter these clusters hold. Globular clusters actually formed in the first 1-2 billion years after the Big Bang. This system that you are looking at right now is located 2.25 billion light-years away! It’s hard to imagine that distance but it holds the record of farthest system observed by Hubble.     Now how do these scientists know how much dark...

Record Number of Black Holes Found in Andromeda (M31)

By on Sep 10, 2013 in Astonishing Discoveries | 0 comments

Andromeda Holds the Record of Most Black Holes Found in a Galaxy Other than Our Own Milky Way     Andromeda or M31 is one of the most famous galaxies in astronomy. It’s located 2.5 million light years away and it’s on a collision course with our galaxy the Milky Way. NASA’s Chandra observatory has been observing the universe in the x-ray wavelength and discovering black holes all across the universe. For the last 13 years with 152 observations Chandra has been able to add 26 new black holes to the previous 9 identified in Andromeda. Just think about that for a second. 35 total black holes. Each one of those black holes was caused by a star that was 5-10 times the mass of our Sun and collapsed into a black hole. Let’s take a closer look at Andromeda in x-ray vision.     This Chandra image shows 28 of the 35 black holes in Andromeda. Just seven...

Strange Brown Dwarf as Hot as Your Oven

By on Sep 6, 2013 in Astonishing Discoveries | 1 comment

Strange Brown Dwarf as Hot as Your Oven!     Astronomers gain interesting insight on these failed stars or brown dwarf stars. Brown dwarf stars are essentially star like bodies that have a mass larger than a planet but too small to trigger nuclear fusion and ignite into a full fledged star. These stars are born with very little heat and can produce temperatures from 260 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (125 and 175 degrees Celsius). Their mass can be anywhere from 5 to 20 times the size of Jupiter. Scientists have even discovered a brown dwarf star so cold that even the human body temperature is warmer. However, since they are cold and small it prompts a difficult task to astronomers to accurately measure how dim, big, and far away these stars are. Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope scientists have been able to discover 8 brown dwarfs with precise distances. This helped them...

HD 189733b: A Jupiter Sized Alien Planet Where it Rains Molten Glass!

By on Aug 31, 2013 in Astonishing Discoveries | 0 comments

There is so much of the universe that is unknown by humankind, specifically at least 96% (unless we know what dark matter and dark energy is by now!). However, through the efforts of Kepler we are able to understand a little more about alien planets. This particular alien planet called HD 189733b rains molten glass. Yes that is right, molten glass.   The Lowdown on Planet HD 189733b This planet is called HD 189733b and it is located 63 light years away (or 630 trillion KM from Earth) and was first discovered in 2005. This was also the first extrasolar planet to have a thermal map constructed. If you were to compare this exoplanet orbit versus the orbit of Earth, it would be 30 times closer than Earth. This Jupiter sized planet also orbits its host star in 2.2 days!! Now the reason that is astounding is because it takes Earth 365.25 days to travel around the Sun. The orbital speed...