Holes in the Sun’s corona

The observations of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) suggest an upcoming auroral activity. Two holes found in the Sun’s corona could cause this activity.
Coronal holes are areas where magnetic field lines are open. They are the source of accelerated particles forming solar wind. These particles, when entering the Earth’s atmosphere …

Space Oddity in the eye of Hubble

NASA’s Hubble space telescope captured an unusual object, Hanny’s object, discovered in 2008. It is a blurry mass of gas floating next to the galaxy called IC 2947.
A collision between two galaxies
« Hanny’s Voorwerp » (Hanny’s Object in Dutch) is the size of our Milky Way galaxy. It is the …

Standard candles closer than they appear

Cepheids, a particular kind of stars, may actually be closer to us than we thought. They are, among others, used as ‘standard candles’: they help us measure cosmic distances, because of a well-defined relationship between their variable luminosity and pulsation period. This is described by the Leavitt Law, named after …

Antimatter produced by thunderstorms

Fermi, NASA’s gamma-ray telescope, has detected antimatter particle beams produced by thunderstorms. This is the first time such a phenomenon has been observed.
Antimatter is the mirror image of matter: particles of antimatter and matter have the same mass but opposite electric charge. For example, a positron is the mirror image …

First Earth-sized exoplanet discovered

The discovery of Kepler-10b, the first rocky extrasolar planet, was confirmed yesterday by NASA’s Kepler mission. Only 1.4 times the size of Earth, it is the smallest exoplanet ever discovered.
Because its size is comparable to that of Earth, this is a first step to discovering how common such planets are, …

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