Scientists try to restore Pluto’s planet status

From the “Make Pluto Great Again” department, new definition raises number of planets in solar system to about 110 Johns Hopkins University scientist Kirby Runyon wants to make one thing clear: Regardless of what one prestigious scientific organization says to the contrary, Pluto is a planet. So, he says, is Europa, commonly known as a…

Scientists discover star with building blocks of life in it

Dwarf star 200 million light years away contains life’s building blocks UCLA-led team discovers object in the constellation Boötes with carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA – LOS ANGELES Many scientists believe the Earth was dry when it first formed, and that the building blocks for life on our planet — carbon, nitrogen…

Stray black hole found hiding in the Milky Way

Tail of stray black hole hiding in the Milky Way From the NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF NATURAL SCIENCES It is difficult to find black holes, because they are completely black. In some cases black holes cause effects which can be seen. For example if a black hole has a companion star, gas streaming into the black…

A Mars ice deposit holds as much water as Lake Superior

From the UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN Frozen beneath a region of cracked and pitted plains on Mars lies about as much water as what’s in Lake Superior, largest of the Great Lakes, a team of scientists led by The University of Texas at Austin has determined using data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Scientists…

New model explains the moon’s weird orbit

Simulations suggest a dramatic history for the Earth-moon duo From the UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND The moon, Earth’s closest neighbor, is among the strangest planetary bodies in the solar system. Its orbit lies unusually far away from Earth, with a surprisingly large orbital tilt. Planetary scientists have struggled to piece together a scenario that accounts for…