Scottish scientists have proposed to use a giant space-based dust cloud, blasted off an asteroid, to shade the Earth from the sun. Deliberately manipulating the Earth’s climate with large-scale engineering projects is called geoengineering and these proposals are always controversial because of the risk that they entail.
Astronomers have redefined one of the most commonly used stellar distances, the astronomical unit (AU). Based on the rough distance from Sol to Earth, AU has been transformed from a confusing equation to simple number.
A filament of dark matter, which works like the Universe’s backbone, and dictates where galaxies can form, was observed for the first time by astronomers using a technique that could help astrophysicists understand the structure of the Universe.
Scientists are working on a directional dark matter detector that will use strands of DNA and gold in order to detect the elusive non-baryonic matter. A combined team of physicists and biologists are collaborating in order to create a suitable detector that will try and find dark matter, which accounts for much of the universe’s mass.
It’s been known for years that the Andromeda galaxy would collide with the Milky Way, two of the largest galaxies in the Local Group, in about 4 billion years. However, because of stellar distances, it’s a good probability that a lot of the stars will remain intact in the tumultuous merging. The Solar System would probably get pushed to the outskirts of the newly merged galaxy.
Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) have been routinely observed by orbiting observatories, such as NASA’s Fermi and Swift spacecraft, and astronomers are planning on using them as cosmic flashbulbs to probe the details of the early Universe. The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature today.
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have been able to probe into the chemical signatures of dusky disks encircling four distant star systems. They discovered that surprisingly the chemical composition was eerily similar to Earth. Those elements make up 93% of the Earth’s mass.
This rare rectangular-shaped galaxy was located 70 million light-years away, 21 Mpc, in the Eridanus Group, in the constellation Eridanus. LEDA 074886 has been dubbed the emerald-cut galaxy, and was recently discovered by an international team of astronomers at the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. The findings will be published in Astrophysics Journal but a preprint is available on arXiv [PDF].
New astronomical simulations suggest that the enormous swirls of stars surrounding the NGC 5907 galaxy, located 50 million light-years away, in the constellation Draco, were formed when two equal-sized galaxies collided 8 or 9 billion years ago. The research was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics by Wang et al.