Recent Entries

Planet Earth Report –“Signs of Intelligent Extraterrestrial Life to Predicting Covid-19 ‘Escape’ Mutations”

 

Earth from Space

 

 

“Planet Earth Report” provides descriptive links to headline news by leading science journalists about the extraordinary discoveries, technology, people, and events changing our knowledge of Planet Earth and the future of the human species.

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“Heracles” –The Ancient Invader that Seeded the Milky Way’s Halo with Alien Stars

Milky Way Halo

 

Astronomers have excavated a galactic tomb: new discoveries, the most recent by the Sloan Digital Sky Surveys’ Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) that observes the “archaeological” record embedded in hundreds of thousands of stars to explore the assembly history and evolution of the Milky Way Galaxy, have unveiled a stunning picture of our home galaxy’s successive mergers with neighboring galaxies.

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“Secretive Beasts” –Radio Observatory Discovers Two of the Largest Objects in the Universe

Radio Galaxy ESO 137-006

 

Two cosmic beasts of the universe, giant “radio galaxies” twenty-two times the size of the Milky W have been discovered in a remarkably small patch of sky. These rare radio-loud galaxies that are almost exclusively large elliptical galaxies –enormous systems dubbed ‘giant radio galaxies with very luminous active galactic nuclei –have been discovered with South Africa’s powerful MeerKAT radio telescope with its unprecedented sensitivity to faint and diffuse radio light. These galaxies are thought to be amongst the largest single objects in the Universe. Whereas normal radio galaxies are fairly common, only a few hundred of these have radio jets exceeding 700 kilo-parsecs in size.

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Last Week’s Top 5 Space & Science Headlines –“Beyond the Edge of the Milky Way to Titanic Explosion in Andromeda”

 

ESO VLT

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“Key to Understanding the Universe” –The Strange Story of Galaxies Missing Dark Matter (Weekend Feature)

Dark Matter

 

“Dark matter holds the key to understanding the universe,” says astrophysicist Paul Davies. ”After the big bang that created the universe 13.7 billion years ago, matter was spread smoothly through space, but aided by the gravitating power of the dark component, ordinary matter was drawn into clumps, which later evolved into galaxies that spawned stars, planets and, in one case at least that we know of, life.”

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Titanic Explosion in Andromeda –A Prelude? (Weekend Feature)

 

Andromeda Galaxy

 

So far, our Milky Way Galaxy has only had close calls from gamma ray explosions so large, scientists have suggested, that if they occurred within our galaxy they could potentially trigger mass extinctions on Earth. In 2014, telescopes around the world pointed to our neighboring Andromeda galaxy (above) looking in all wavelengths of light to learn more about a gamma ray burst reported by NASA’s Swift satellite thought to be an explosion from the collision of two neutron stars–the dead cores of massive stars, with the mass of our Sun crushed into the size of a small city. 

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The Galaxy Report –“Extremely Boring Aliens to The Doctor Carl Sagan Warned Us About” (Weekend Feature)

The Galaxy Report

 

Welcome to this week’s fix of news of space and science –a random journey from Planet Earth through the Cosmos– that has the capacity to provide clues to our existence and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our current epoch.

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“Beyond the Edge of the Milky Way” –Dark Energy Probe Hints at an Enormous Invisible Halo of Dark Matter

Galaxy NGC 474

 

One early result of the ongoing Dark Energy Survey is the previously untold story revealed by old, giant RR Lyrae pulsating stars, which tell scientists about the region of space beyond the edge of our Milky Way. In this area nearly devoid of stars–the motion of the RR Lyrae stars hints at the presence of an enormous halo of invisible dark matter, which may provide clues to how our galaxy evolved over the last 12 billion years.

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