news 2013



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Astronomy / Space - 23.12.2013
Starless cloud cores reveal why some stars are bigger than others
For the first time, astronomers have observed a massive starless cloud, providing the answer to a long held question: How do some stars grow to be behemoths when the vast majority are much smaller? In the new study, published in the Astrophysical Journal , astronomers used the ALMA telescope in Chile, South America, to survey the cores of some of the darkest, coldest, and densest clouds in our Galaxy to search for the telltale signs of star formation.

Astronomy / Space - Social Sciences - 17.12.2013
Massive stars mark out Milky Way's 'missing' arms
Massive stars mark out Milky Way’s ’missing’ arms
A 12-year study of massive stars has reaffirmed that our Galaxy has four spiral arms, following years of debate sparked by images taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope that only showed two arms. The new research, which is published online today [17 December] in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, is part of the RMS Survey, which was launched by academics at the University of Leeds.

Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space - 09.12.2013
Ancient fresh water lake on Mars could have sustained life
Ancient fresh water lake on Mars could have sustained life
Scientists have found evidence that there was once an ancient lake on Mars that may have been able to support life. It is exciting to think that billions of years ago, ancient microbial life may have existed in the lake's calm waters, converting a rich array of elements into energy.

Astronomy / Space - Computer Science - 28.11.2013
GREAT3 challenges researchers to find new methods for measuring weak gravitational lensing
GREAT3 challenges researchers to find new methods for measuring weak gravitational lensing
Think you can figure out a way to unlock one of the biggest secrets of the universe? The recently launched third Gravitational Lensing Accuracy Testing challenge (GREAT3) is giving researchers the opportunity to do just that. GREAT3, which is led by Carnegie Mellon University's Rachel Mandelbaum and UCL's Barnaby Rowe, invites researchers from fields including astrophysics, statistics and machine learning, to test new and existing methods for measuring weak gravitational lensing.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 01.11.2013
Former missile-tracking telescope helps reveal fate of baby pulsar
Former missile-tracking telescope helps reveal fate of baby pulsar
01 Nov 2013 A radio telescope once used to track ballistic missiles has helped astronomers determine how the magnetic field structure and rotation of the young and rapidly rotating Crab pulsar evolves with time. The Crab pulsar is a neutron star which formed in a massive cosmic explosion seen in both Europe and China in AD 1054 as a bright star in the daytime sky.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 30.10.2013
New dark matter detector sends first data from gold mine 1.5km underground
New dark matter detector sends first data from gold mine 1.5km underground
Scientists testing the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment have reported promising scientific and technological results today. They have set up the experiment to identify the nature of dark matter, an invisible substance that physicists believe is all around us, making up most of the matter in the universe, but that barely has any effect on our every-day lives.

Environment - Astronomy / Space - 21.10.2013
Atmosphere of Mars turned to stone
Scientists at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, the University of Glasgow and the Natural History Museum in London may have discovered how Mars lost its early carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere to become the cold and arid planet we know today. This research provides the first direct evidence from Mars of a process, called 'carbonation' which currently removes carbon dioxide from our own atmosphere, potentially combating climate change on Earth.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 17.10.2013
The strange misalignment of Kepler-56 and its planets
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have discovered a stellar system in our Galaxy where the spin of its 'red giant' star and the orbits of its planets are misaligned, according to research published in the journal Science today (17 October 2013). In our own solar system the rotation of the Sun and the orbits of the planets are perfectly aligned, with the spin axis of the Sun at right angles to the orbits of the planets.

Astronomy / Space - 10.10.2013
Watery asteroid in dying star points to habitable exoplanets
Latest research on rocky relics suggests a distant planetary system, now past its "death throes", had very similar water 'delivery system' to our own - and consequently the potential to contain habitable exoplanets complete with water A system cannot create things as big as asteroids and avoid building planets, and GD 61 had the ingredients to deliver lots of water to their surfaces Jay Farihi Astronomers have found the shattered remains of an asteroid that contained huge amounts of water orbiting an exhausted star, or white dwarf.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 20.09.2013
Galactic ’vapour trails’ uncovered in giant cluster
Astronomers have discovered enormous smooth shapes that look like vapour trails in a gigantic galaxy cluster. These 'arms' span half a million light years and provide researchers with clues to a billion years of collisions within the "giant cosmic train wreck" of the Coma cluster. Coma is like a giant cosmic train wreck where several clusters have collided with each other.

Astronomy / Space - 16.09.2013
New insights solve 300-year-old problem: the dynamics of the Earth’s core
Scientists at the University of Leeds have solved a 300-year-old riddle about which direction the centre of the Earth spins. The Earth’s inner core, made up of solid iron, ‘superrotates’ in an eastward direction – meaning it spins faster than the rest of the planet – while the outer core, comprising mainly molten iron, spins westwards at a slower pace.

Environment - Astronomy / Space - 15.09.2013
Achilles’ heel of ice shelves is beneath the water, scientists reveal
New research has revealed that more ice leaves Antarctica by melting from the underside of submerged ice shelves than was previously thought, accounting for as much as 90 per cent of ice loss in some areas. Iceberg production and melting causes 2,800 cubic kilometres of ice to leave the Antarctic ice sheet every year.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 04.09.2013
Mysterious alignment of ghostly stars discovered
Mysterious alignment of ghostly stars discovered
04 Sep 2013 Astronomers have used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and ESO's New Technology Telescope to explore more than 100 planetary nebulae in the central bulge of our galaxy. They have found that butterfly-shaped members of this cosmic family tend to be mysteriously aligned — a surprising result given their different histories and varied properties.

Astronomy / Space - 29.08.2013
Our galaxy’s giant black hole rejects ’food’ because it’s too ’hot’
Astronomers working with NASA'S Chandra X-ray Observatory have seen the giant black hole Sagittarius A* rejecting it's 'food' of vast gas clouds as they aren't sufficiently cool enough for it to swallow. Sgr A* is one of very few black holes where we can actually witness the process Q. Daniel Wang The giant black hole at the centre of the Milky Way appears to be on a severe diet.

Astronomy / Space - 15.08.2013
Magnetic star reveals its hidden power
Magnetic star reveals its hidden power
A team of astronomers including two researchers from UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory has made the first ever measurement of the magnetic field at a specific spot on the surface of a magnetar. Magnetars are a type of neutron star, the dense and compact core of a giant star which has blasted away its outer layers in a supernova explosion.

Astronomy / Space - 29.07.2013
Get ready to talk the Planck
Don't miss the chance to quiz leading scientists from the Planck research team about their work, and how it may change our understanding of the universe, in a live webcast this week Even the most die-hard inflation advocate would have to accept that the universe, on large scales, looks odd George Efstathiou Live video stream starts here at 20:00 BST on 31 July.

Astronomy / Space - 29.07.2013
Capturing black hole spin could further understanding of galaxy growth
Capturing black hole spin could further understanding of galaxy growth
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue. Capturing black hole spin could further understanding of galaxy growth Astronomers have found a new way of measuring the spin in supermassive black holes, which could lead to better understanding about how they drive the growth of galaxies.

History / Archeology - Astronomy / Space - 15.07.2013
The Beginning of Time?
British archaeology experts have discovered what they believe to be the world's oldest 'calendar', created by hunter-gatherer societies and dating back to around 8,000 BC. The Mesolithic monument was originally excavated in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, by the National Trust for Scotland in 2004. Now analysis by a team led by the University of Birmingham, published today (July 15, 2013) in the journal Internet Archaeology, sheds remarkable new light on the luni-solar device, which pre-dates the first formal time-measuring devices known to Man, found in the Near East, by nearly 5,000 years.

Astronomy / Space - Environment - 14.07.2013
New study indicates need for continuous satellite monitoring of ice sheets to better predict sea-level rise
The length of the satellite record for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is currently too short to tell if the recently reported speed-up of ice loss will be sustained in the future or if it results from natural processes, according to a new study led by Dr Bert Wouters from the University of Bristol.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 28.06.2013
Survivor of stellar collision is new type of pulsating star
A team of astronomers from the UK, Germany and Spain have observed the remnant of a stellar collision and discovered that its brightness varies in a way not seen before on this rare type of star. By analysing the patterns in these brightness variations, astronomers will learn what really happens when stars collide.
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