Physicists use two types of measurements to calculate the expansion rate of the universe, but their results do not coincide, which may make it necessary to touch up the cosmological model. “It's like trying to thread a cosmic needle,” explains researcher Licia Verde of the University of Barcelona, co-author of an article on the implications of this problem.
The scientific collaborations LIGO and Virgo have detected gravitational waves from the fusion of two black holes, inaugurating a new era in the study of the cosmos. But what if those ripples of space-time had not produced by black holes, but by other exotic objects? A team of European physicists offer an alternative: wormholes, which can be traversed to appear in another universe.
A well-known experiment with young people bouncing a ball showed that when an observer focuses on counting the passes, he does not detect if someone crosses the stage disguised as a gorilla. According to researchers at the University of Cádiz (Spain), something similar could be happening to us when we try to discover intelligent non-earthly signals, which perhaps manifest themselves in dimensions that escape our perception, such as the unknown dark matter and energy.
There is one year to go until asteroid 2015 TB145 approaches Earth once again, just as it did in 2015 around the night of Halloween, an occasion which astronomers did not pass up to study its characteristics. This dark object measures between 625 and 700 metres, its rotation period is around three hours and, in certain lighting conditions, it resembles a human skull.
Satellites have detected powerful solar flares in the last two months, but this phenomenon has been recorded for over a century. On 10 September 1886, at the age of just 17, a young amateur astronomer using a modest telescope observed from Madrid one of these sudden flashes in a sunspot. He wrote about what he saw, drew a picture of it, and published the data in a French scientific journal. This is what researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias and the Universidad de Extremadura have recently found.
Only three or four supernovas happen in our galaxy every century. These are super-energetic events that release neutrinos at the speed of light. At the Super-Kamiokande detector in Japan, a new computer system has been installed in order to monitor in real time and inform the scientific community of the arrival of these mysterious particles, which can offer crucial information on the collapse of stars and the formation of black holes.
In the race towards the discovery of a ninth planet in our solar system, scientists from around the world strive to calculate its orbit using the tracks left by the small bodies that move well beyond Neptune. Now, astronomers from Spain and University of Cambridge have confirmed, with new calculations, that the orbits of the six extreme trans-Neptunian objects that served as a reference to announce the existence of Planet Nine are not as stable as it was thought.
In 2013 February 15, the approach of asteroid (367943) Duende to our planet was being closely monitored by both the public and the scientific community worldwide when suddenly a superbolide entered the atmosphere above the region of Chelyabinsk in Russia. Three years and hundreds of published scientific studies later, we are still looking for the origin of such unexpected visitor, that caused damage to hundreds of buildings and injuries to nearly 1,500 people. Finding the precise value of its speed as it touched the top of the atmosphere appears to be the key to determine the orbit of the parent body of the Chelyabinsk superbolide.
European scientists have gathered tiny fungi that take shelter in Antarctic rocks and sent them to the International Space Station. After 18 months on board in conditions similar to those on Mars, more than 60% of their cells remained intact, with stable DNA. The results provide new information for the search for life on the red planet. Lichens from the Sierra de Gredos (Spain) and the Alps (Austria) also travelled into space for the same experiment.
When our galaxy was born, around 13,000 million years ago, a plethora of clusters containing millions of stars emerged. But over time, they have been disappearing. However, hidden behind younger stars that were formed later, some old and dying star clusters remain, such as the so-called E 3. European astronomers have now studied this testimony to the beginnings of our galaxy.