New NASA mission results show that tornado-like swirls of space plasma create tumultuous boundaries in the near-Earth environment, letting dangerous high-energy particles slip into near Earth space.
With a miniaturized space probe capable of being accelerated to a quarter of the speed of light, we could reach Alpha Centauri, our nearest star, in 20 to 50 years. However, without a mechanism to slow it down, the space probe could only collect data from the star and its planets as it zoomed past. A theoretical physicist at Goethe University Frankfurt has now examined whether interstellar spacecraft can be decelerated using 'magnetic sails.'
Two recent studies show how solar flares exhibit pulses or oscillations in the amount of energy being sent out. Such research provides new insights on the origins of these massive solar flares and the space weather they produce. This is key information as humans and robotic missions venture out into the solar system, farther and farther from Earth.
Using more than half a century of observations, Japanese astronomers have discovered that the microwaves coming from the Sun at the minimums of the past five solar cycles have been the same each time, despite large differences in the maximums of the cycles. This is an important step in understanding the creation and amplification of solar magnetic fields, which generate sunspots and other solar activity.
There are too many high-energy positrons in the cosmic rays reaching the Earth. These positrons (particles that are antimatter equivalents of electrons) could be being produced by pulsars in our vicinity. The most recent measurements from the HAWC Observatory in Mexico have practically excluded this possibility, strengthening the competing and much more exotic hypothesis concerning the origin of the excess positrons.
Researchers working with the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma-Ray Observatory have made the first detailed measurements of two pulsars suspected as the source of a mysterious positron accumulation near Earth. Despite being the right age and the right distance from Earth, the pulsars lie within an extended murky cloud that prevents most positrons from escaping. The results suggest there must be an alternate explanation for the positron excess -- perhaps one involving dark matter.
Michigan Tech team and others use a high-altitude observatory in Mexico to better understand where gamma rays come from.
New research using data from NASA's Van Allen Probes mission and FIREBIRD II CubeSat has shown that plasma waves in space are likely responsible for accelerating high-energy particles into Earth's atmosphere.
Results disprove existence of a type of light axion.
A temperate Earth-sized planet has been discovered only 11 light-years from the solar system by a team using ESO's unique planet-hunting HARPS instrument. The new world has the designation Ross 128 b and is now the second-closest temperate planet to be detected after Proxima b. It is also the closest planet to be discovered orbiting an inactive red dwarf star, which may increase the likelihood that this planet could potentially sustain life.