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“Milky Way’s Hidden Past” –Gaia Unveils Dark-Matter Object 1-100 Million Times Mass of the Sun

Milky Way Dark Matter Signal


Since the Gaia Spacecraft’s April 2018 data release, astronomers have unveiled a Milky Way teeming with astounding surprises, including hints of dark-matter clumps that might eventually provide a better grasp of the elusive material’s properties. These early, easy-to-spot findings, reports Adam Mann in Nature, have been “transformational.” Astronomer Vasily Belokurov at the University of Cambridge, UK, said they are merely a glimpse of what is to come: “How we see the Milky Way has clearly changed.”


Astronomers: “A Cosmic Engine Powering Mystery Blast Called Cow”



“We still don’t know what this is, although it is one of the most intensely studied cosmic events in history,” says Caltech’s Anna Ho, lead author of a new study about the event. Cow was likely a supernova, she says, although some scientists have proposed that it instead may have been caused by a black hole ripping apart a type of star called a white dwarf.


Planet Earth Report –“Saturn’s Titan ‘Changed My Life’, Insect Extinction, China’s Chang’e 4 Anomaly”


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.


“Switched On” –A New Class of Black Hole 50 Times Brighter

Supermassive Black Hole


A Tel Aviv University-led research team identified  three cosmic events that form a new and tantalizing class of black hole re-activation.


“Four Suns in the Sky” –Planets of Strange Two-Star Systems

Kepler Star System 35a and b


“We used to think other solar systems would form just like ours, with the planets all orbiting in the same direction around a single sun,” said Daniel Price of Monash University’s Center for Astrophysics (MoCA). “But with the new images we see a swirling disc of gas and dust orbiting around two stars. It was quite surprising to also find that that disc orbits at right angles to the orbit of the two stars. Incredibly, two more stars were seen orbiting that disc. So if planets were born here there would be four suns in the sky!”


“Tip of the Iceberg” –Multi-Meter Sea Level Rise from Antarctica in Coming Centuries

Antarctica Ice Melt


Antarctica experienced a sixfold increase in yearly ice mass loss between 1979 and 2017. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Eric Rignot, chair of Earth system science at University of California, Irvine.


The Aliens Before Us –“We are Not the First Technological Civilization” (Or, are We?)


ESO Observatories Chile


We live in a universe where matter is distributed in a hundred billion galaxies, each containing a hundred billion stars, made up of quantum fields where space and time are not existent, that manifest themselves in the form of particles, such as electrons and photons, or as waves. Tucked into the 14-billion-year history of this vast observable universe with 100 trillion planets is a pale blue dot teeming with life and a technological civilization created by a strange species known as homo sapiens.


“Great Known Unknown” –The Number of Galaxies Beyond the Observable Universe


Hubble Image Abell 2744


According to current measurements, the size of the cosmos must be larger than a hundred billion light-years. This is the order of magnitude of the universe we have indirect access to, writes physicist Carlo Rovelli. “It is around 1060 times greater than the Planck length, a number of times that is given by a 1 followed by sixty zeroes. Between the Planck scale and the cosmological one, then, there is the mind-blowing separation of sixty orders of magnitude.”