Featured Entry

“The First Ever” –Cosmic Sleuths Witness Birth of a Black Hole or Neutron Star

The Cow Black Hole or Neutron Star


“We know from theory that black holes and neutron stars form when a star dies, but we’ve never seen them right after they are born. Never!” said Raffaella Margutti, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern University about the mysterious bright object that has baffled astronomers dubbed ‘The Cow’. “A ‘lightbulb’ was sitting deep inside the ejecta of the explosion. It would have been hard to see this in a normal stellar explosion. But The Cow had very little ejecta mass, which allowed us to view the central engine’s radiation directly.”


“Unexplored!” –China Releases First Photos of Moon’s Far Side


China's Chang'e 4 Mission


Images transmitted from China’s Chang’e 4 Yuta rover shows the craggy and complex terrain of the lunar south pole region, posing a serious challenge for controllers in plotting the rover’s future explorations, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The Von Kármán crater landing spot in the Aitken Basin is the oldest, deepest, crater on the moon’s surface and the largest in the Solar System.


Earth’s Oceans –“Sending Scary Global Warming Signal”

Ocean Global Warming


“If you want to see where global warming is happening, look in our oceans,” said Zeke Hausfather, at the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-author of the paper. “Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change, and we have robust evidence that it is warming more rapidly than we thought.”


“Something Never Seen Before” –Mystery Outburst in a Distant Galaxy


The Cow Mystery Object


Is it a monster black hole of epic size or a first-of-its-kind supernova? A brief and unusual flash spotted in the night sky on June 16, 2018, has baffled astronomers and astrophysicists around the world. The event – called AT2018cow and nicknamed “the Cow” after the coincidental final letters in its official name – is unlike any celestial outburst ever seen before, prompting multiple theories about its source. “We saw features in the Cow that we have never seen before in a transient, or rapidly changing, object,” said Raffaella Margutti, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University.


Planet Earth Report –“Milky Way’s Genius Aliens, End of Ice, China Hacks the Planet”

Earth from ISS


The “Planet Earth Report” connects you to the day’s news on the science, discoveries, and events changing our planet and the future of the human species.


Venus’ Giant Planet-Scale Cloud Phenomena –“Still Many Unknowns”

Venus Clouds


Based on findings by Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft, to think of the atmosphere of Venus, start with an image of hell and work back from there. The planet’s sky is covered by thick clouds of sulfuric acid that are located at a height of 45-70 kilometers, making it hard to observe the surface from Earth-based telescopes and circling orbiters. Surface temperatures reach a scorching 460 degrees Celsius, a crushing environment for any observations by entry probes. Due to these conditions, there are still many unknowns regarding Venus’ atmospheric phenomena. (more…)

Hubble Detects Brightest Quasar in the Observable Universe

Ancient Quasar


“That’s something we have been looking for a long time,” said lead author Xiaohui Fan at the University of Arizona. “We don’t expect to find many quasars brighter than that in the whole observable Universe!”


“Unlocking the Secret of FRB’s” –Pulsar Orbiting Milky Way’s Black Hole

Supermassive Black Hole


New research provides clues that magnetars, lying in close proximity to a black hole, could perhaps be linked to the source of “fast radio bursts,” or FRBs. FRBs are high-energy blasts that originate beyond our galaxy but whose exact nature is unknown. They appear to come from extreme high-energy objects, but because they last just a few milliseconds, their origin remains a profound mystery.