Tag Archives: Astronomers

Astronomers Have Caught a Star Literally Dragging Space-Time Around With It

by Matthew Bailes & Vivek Venkatraman Krishnan, ScienceAlert

One of the predictions of Einstein’s general theory of relativity is that any spinning body drags the very fabric of space-time in its vicinity around with it. This is known as “frame-dragging”.

In everyday life, frame-dragging is both undetectable and inconsequential, as the effect is so ridiculously tiny. Detecting the frame-dragging caused by the entire Earth’s spin requires satellites such as the US$750 million Gravity Probe B, and the detection of angular changes in gyroscopes equivalent to just one degree every 100,000 years or so.

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Astronomers Just Identified Another Important Aspect of Planets That Could Host Life

by Michelle Starr, ScienceAlert

We are, by now, pretty familiar with the concept of the Goldilocks zone. Also known as the habitable zone, it’s the distance from a star at which liquid water can be present on the surface on a planet – not so hot as to be vaporized, nor so cold as to be frozen.

These conditions matter because we count liquid water as a vital ingredient for life. But it’s not the only criterion that can help us to assess a planet’s potential habitability; according to new research based on decades of data, there are also Goldilocks stars.

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Astronomers map a neutron star’s surface for the first time

by Alison Klesman, Astronomy

NASA’s NICER instrument reveals that neutron stars are not as simple as we thought.

Pulsars are the lighthouses of the universe. These tiny, compact objects are neutron stars — the remnants of once-massive stars — that spin rapidly, beaming radiation into space. Now, for the first time, astronomers have mapped the surface of a 16-mile-wide pulsar in exquisite detail. The result challenges astronomers’ textbook picture of a pulsar’s appearance and opens the door to learning more about these extreme objects.

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Proof of alien life? Stinky gas could be evidence aliens are real, astronomers announce

by Sebastian Kettley, Express

PROOF of alien life may come with the discovery of planets rich in an incredibly noxious and foul-smelling gas known as phosphine, astrobiologists have announced.

Alien species depicted by Hollywood blockbusters over the years have taken all shapes and sizes. But a group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) believe ETs could be incredibly “stinky” to boot.

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