A team of scientists working at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii has solved one of the vital inconsistencies in the Big Bang theory, reconciling observed data with our current theoretical models of how the birth of the universe went down 13.8 billion years ago. The discovery was published in the June 6 edition of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Remember last week when PopSci told you about a "people's choice" contest to name the planet orbiting the Alpha Centauri star system? And the International Astronomical Union had cried foul, saying the paid contest had no bearing on the names? Well, it's not really that simple. You can call a star or a planet whatever you want, and even pay to nominate your favorite; it just might not matter to anyone else.
Maybe it's because Jurassic Park is in theaters again, but we at Universe Today sometimes worry about how one person can mess up an otherwise technologically amazing system. It took just one nefarious employee to shut down the dinosaur park's security fences in the movie and cause havoc. How do we ensure science can fight against that, especially when everyday citizens are getting more and more involved in the scientific process?
Last April, a minivan-sized chunk of leftover primordial planet punched through Earth's atmosphere at 64,000 miles per hour. The minivan-sized meteor weighed just under 100,000 pounds before it exploded high above northern California, disintegrating into rock dust and smaller meteoroids that fell onto suburban driveways in El Dorado County.
In the search for stars that can support Earth-like planets, red dwarfs in our galactic neighborhood may lead the way to discovery. Recent research reveals red dwarf stars might host more habitable planets in close orbits than previously thought - just as long as its exoplanets huddle in close enough for light (but not so close that molten lava blankets the surface).