NASA: “Spotless!” –Sun at Lowest Level of Solar Activity Since 2011



This week the sun was hitting its lowest level of solar activity since 2011 (Nov. 14-18, 2016) as it gradually marches towards solar minimum. This activity is usually measured by sunspot count and over the past several days the sun has been almost spotless.


ESO: Neutron Star Provides First Observation of Strange Quantum Effect in Space




By studying the light emitted from an extraordinarily dense and strongly magnetized neutron star using ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers may have found the first observational indications of a strange quantum effect, first predicted in the 1930s. The polarization of the observed light suggests that the empty space around the neutron star is subject to a quantum effect known as vacuum birefringence.


New ‘Species’ of Galaxy Observed –“Faint Objects the Size of the Milky Way With 1,000 Times Fewer Stars”



It has been a mystery, how galaxies so faint – containing up to 1000 times fewer stars than the Milky Way could still be just as large. Over the last year, researchers have observed some very faint, diffuse galaxies. The galaxies are as faint as dwarf galaxies, but are distributed over an area just as large as the Milky Way.


NASA’s Kepler Mission Reveals Our Solar System is Extremely Rare –“And We Have No Idea Why”




Of the more than 2,331 confirmed planets and 4,696 planetary candidates the Kepler Mission has identified to date, only one system resembles our own with terrestrial planets near the star and giant planets set at a distance. 


New NASA Alien Planet K2-3d Discovered –“Scientists Hope Detect Extraterrestrial Life Via Molecules in Its Atmosphere”




A group of researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the University of Tokyo, and the Astrobiology Center among others has observed the transit of a potentially Earth-like extrasolar planet known as K2-3d using the MuSCAT instrument on the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory 188-cm telescope.



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