Recent Entries

“There’s Something We’re Missing About the Universe” (Weekend Feature)

Small Dark Matter Haloes


“Everything we know and love about the universe and all the laws of physics as they apply, apply to four percent of the universe. That’s stunning,” says astronomer and “Cosmos” host, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Most of the mass in the universe is missing, hidden in some exotic, as yet undetectable form from the visible matter that makes up galaxies, stars, planets, and Homo sapiens.


Planet Earth Report –“Dawn of the Heliocene to Virus-Hunting Microbes”

Earth from the ISS


“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.


“The Whirlpool Planet” –First Alien World Detected in a Galaxy Far Beyond the Milky Way (Weekend Feature)


 Whirlpool Galaxy


“In less than a hundred years, we have found a new way to think of ourselves,” observed Stephen Hawking. “From sitting at the center of the universe, we now find ourselves orbiting an average-sized sun, which is just one of billions of stars in our own Milky Way galaxy.” And now, a short-lived eclipse of an extremely bright x-ray source 23 million lightyears from Earth in the Whirlpool Galaxy, illuminated a world about the size of Saturn orbiting a binary star system –a stellar remnant, either a neutron star or black hole, and a massive star–further underscoring our cosmic insignificance.


The Geometric Enigma of Jupiter’s Storms

The Geometric Mystery Storms of Jupiter --"Beyond Anything Ever Experienced on Earth"


“If you went below the cloud tops, you would probably find liquid water rain drops, hail, and snow,” says Andy Ingersoll, Caltech professor of planetary science, about the chaotic swirling storms at Jupiter’s South Pole arranged in a strange geometric pattern in the shape of a pentagon or hexagon that have presented a mystery to scientists. “The winds would be hurricane-force winds. Hurricanes on Earth are a good analog of the individual vortices within these arrangements we see on Jupiter, but there is nothing so stunningly beautiful here.”


“Wobbling” –Black Hole the Size of Our Solar System Unveils Movie of the Observable Universe

"Wobbling" --Galaxy M87's Black Hole the Size of Our Solar System Unveils a History of the Observable Universe


On April 10, 2019 the astronomers at Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative were asking what does the glowing bright orange ring around the now iconic black hole the size of our solar system at the center of the monster elliptical galaxy M87 –the largest, most massive galaxy in the nearby universe–mean? according to Harvard Event Horizon Telescope radio astronomer, Michael Johnson.


“The Geyser Moon” –Saturn’s Organic Hotspot for Life Beyond Earth

"The Geyser Moon" --Saturn's Enceladus


“Something is going on on Enceladus – it’s active and we want to know,” said astrophysicist and curator at California’s Griffith Observatory, Laura Danly. That “something” turned out to be plumes of water vapor and ice particles erupting hundreds of miles into space from the ocean through cracks in Enceladus’s ice-encased surface — detected by the NASA’s Cassini spacecraft prior to the spacecraft’s fiery death-plunge into Saturn in 2017. The plumes provide a tantalizing glimpse into what the moon’s subsurface ocean might harbor –likely heated and churned by hydrothermal vents like those on Earth’s ocean floors. (more…)

“Lucky or Inevitable” –Life May Have Relied On Something Other Than Oxygen for the First 1.5 billion Years

Origin of Life


“Is the existence of life on Earth a lucky fluke or an inevitable consequence of the laws of nature? Is it simple for life to emerge on a newly formed planet, or is it the virtually impossible product of a long series of unlikely events? asks Nobel Prize laureate and Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Jack Szostak. “Advances in fields as disparate as astronomy, planetary science and chemistry now hold promise that answers to such profound questions may be around the corner. If life turns out to have emerged multiple times in our galaxy, as scientists are hoping to discover, the path to it cannot be so hard. Moreover, if the route from chemistry to biology proves simple to traverse, the universe could be teeming with life.”


“Holy Grail” –Proof of Cosmic Objects Without a Hard Surface Confined Within an Invisible Boundary

Black Holes


Albert Einstein described black holes as strange objects “where God divided by zero.” An international team of astrophysicists has now confirmed that black holes are a distinct “species” from neutron stars –comparable to black holes in mass and size but confined within a hard surface, unlike black holes, an exotic cosmic object without a hard surface predicted by Einstein’s theory of General Relativity that do not have a surface, and are confined within an invisible boundary, called an event horizon, from within which nothing, not even light, can escape.