Rendering of part of a planetary system in orbit around a white dwarf star (the white spot at the center of the red ring). The foreground shows rocky asteroids; the red ring represents the rocky debris that remains of former asteroids or a minor planet that have already been broken apart by the strong gravity of the white dwarf. CREDIT University of Warwick

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…

The gas is dragged along by the strong gravity of the black hole to form a narrow gas stream. CREDIT Keio University

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…

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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…

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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…