astronomy

Event Horizon Telescope captures new view of black hole in polarized light

</figure>Two years ago, the <a href=”https://eventhorizontelescope.org”>Event Horizon Telescope</a> (EHT) made headlines with its announcement of the first direct image of a black hole. Science magazine named the image its <a href=”https://www.aaas.org/news/sciences-2019-breakthrough-first-image-supermassive-black-hole”>Breakthrough of the Year</a>. Now the EHT collaboration is back with another groundbreaking result: a new image of the same black hole, this time showing …

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Researchers think a planet lost its original atmosphere, built a new one

Enlarge / Artist’s conception of the Earth-sized planet and its atmosphere. NASA, ESA, and R. Hurt (IPAC/Caltech) The atmosphere most planets start with is often not the same as the one they end up with. Most of the gas present at the formation of a solar system will be hydrogen and helium. But a look …

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Scientists solve another piece of the puzzling Antikythera mechanism

Enlarge / “Exploded” view of the new computer model of the Antikythera mechanism, showing how it might have worked. Tony Freeth Scientists have long struggled to solve the puzzle of the gearing system on the front of the so-called Antikythera mechanism—a fragmentary ancient Greek astronomical calculator, perhaps the earliest example of a geared device. Now, …

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One of the first known black holes is more massive than once thought

Astronomers might need to adjust their expectations for black holes. According to the New York Times, an international research team has determined that Cygnus X-1, one of the first discovered black holes, is considerably more massive than once thought. The binary-system based hole was originally pegged at ‘just’ 15 solar masses, but is now believed …

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What it takes to get a job building robotic Mars explorers for NASA

After a thankfully uneventful seven-month journey, NASA’s Mars 2020 mission is set to safely reach the Red Planet and insert itself into orbit on Thursday ahead of deploying the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter prototype that it’s been toting down to the planet’s surface in search for evidence of ancient microbial life. However, this expedition …

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Astronomers: A comet fragment, not an asteroid, killed off the dinosaurs

Harvard astronomers have a new theory about the origin of the comet that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Some 66 million years ago, a catastrophic event occurred that wiped out three-quarters of all plant and animal species on Earth, most notably taking down the dinosaurs. An errant asteroid from the asteroid belt has been …

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The $3,000 eVscope makes stargazing easy and fun

The eVscope on its tripod outside of Shelbyville, Illinois. Eric Bangeman The motorized mount handles altitude and azimuth changes via the app. You can view the heavens through the eyepiece or your smartphone. Eric Bangeman Pay close attention to the level as you set up the tripod, as it can affect the accuracy of the …

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Hubble researchers find a gaggle of small black holes

Larger black holes may be the usual attention-getters, but the smaller ones may be at least as important. A team using the Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a concentration of small black holes in the NGC 6397 globular star cluster (pictured above) 7,800 light-years away — the first to have its mass and extent recorded. …

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Scientific community on report of a strange chemical at Venus: Probably not

Enlarge NASA In September of last year, a paper announced a startling finding: evidence that a highly unstable chemical is present in the atmosphere of Venus. Since the chemical is expected to be destroyed rather quickly in the Venusian environment, its presence seems to imply that there was a steady source of the chemical, somehow …

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Scientists find a strange signal coming from our closest neighboring star

asiafoto via Getty Images Astronomers have encountered a mystery surprisingly close to Earth. The Guardian and Scientific American have learned that Breakthrough Listen astronomers using the Parkes telescope in Australia discovered a strange radio signal coming from Proxima Centauri, the star system closest to the Sun. The signal occupies an oddly narrow 982MHz band that’s …

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