The black hole in question resides 60 million light years away at the centre of the NGC 1365 spiral galaxy, is a mind-boggling 3.2 million kilometres in diameter, has a mass two million times that of our Sun and is spinning at a rather impressive 1.08 billion km/h. Astronomers can now say this with confidence, after combining the efforts of Nasa's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (Nustar) — which measures high-energy X-rays — and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton, which measures low-energy X-rays.
"Planet X" might actually exist — and so might "Planet Y."
At least two planets larger than Earth likely lurk in the dark depths of space far beyond Pluto, just waiting to be discovered, a new analysis of the orbits of "extreme trans-Neptunian objects" (ETNOs) suggests.
Researchers studied 13 ETNOs — frigid bodies such as the dwarf planet Sedna that cruise around the sun at great distances in elliptical paths.
Indeed, as we search for life on other planets, we've used the Earth as our standard reference. Practically speaking, it's the only model we've got — and it appears to be a pretty damned good one; Earth has been teeming with life for billions of years and, quite importantly, it's even spawned a radio-capable, space-faring civilization.
That being said, what makes us so sure it's the best model for habitability? Could other planets or moons be even more suitable for life? A pair of astrobiologists say yes. To find a habitable and ultimately an inhabited world, they argue we should adopt a biocentric approach rather than a geo- or anthropocentric one.
Astronomers aren't being poetic when they say this star is a diamond.
Scientists have identified what is possibly the coldest white dwarf ever detected. In fact, this dim stellar corpse is so cold that its carbon has crystallized, effectively forming a diamond the size of Earth, astronomers said.
This cylindrical projection global map is one of six new color maps of Saturn's midsized icy moons, constructed using 10 years of image data from the Cassini spacecraft. Discovered by Cassini (the astronomer) in 1684, Dione is about 1,120 kilometers across. Based on data extending from infrared to ultraviolet, the full resolution of this latest space-age map is 250 meters per pixel.
Cataloged as Sharpless 2-308 it lies some 5,200 light-years away toward the constellation of the Big Dog (Canis Major) and covers slightly more of the sky than a Full Moon. That corresponds to a diameter of 60 light-years at its estimated distance.