A planet made of diamond

2011-08-27 18:10:06
The reason why some material becomes very expensive here on Earth, often has to do with the fact that the material is very rare. Take for instance diamond, although it is just a combination of carbon atoms, it is extremely difficult for nature to create it. It requires the right combination of material in a high density environment. But what if we changed the conditions here on Earth such that these demands are met. That is what is probably going on at a recent discovered planet, which probably consists for a large part of diamonds.
 
 
 

Cool, dark neighbors revealed

2011-08-25 19:13:53
Advancing techniques make it possible for astronomers to discover more and more stars, not only at immense distances but also close to home, in the vicinity of our Solar System. The closest star to us, Proxima Centauri is about 4 light-years away from us. It is not within expectations that astronomers discover new stars closer, or only a few times further away than this star. However, recently astronomers managed to find brown dwarfs, or so-called 'failed' stars only a bit further away than Proxima Centauri.
 
 
 

Is our Solar System special?

2011-08-18 20:29:33
In astronomy, accepting a theory that makes the Earth, our Solar System or our Milky Way a special place is usually treated with a great bunch of skepticism. There are billions of stars and galaxies in the universe, so for instance our Milky Way being somewhere in the center would be highly unlikely. Also, long ago people were convinced the Earth was in the center of the Solar System and I guess we all know what happened to the Earth's 'special status' there. However, now a team of astronomers claims that our Solar System may be a bit more special than what was thought.
 
 
 

Origin of supernova explosion found

2011-08-12 20:54:30
A supernova explosion is one of the greatest explosions there is in the universe. Although they share the same name, not every supernova explosion has the same triggering mechanism. For one type of supernova explosions, known as the type Ia, the true origin was not even known. However, recently astronomers managed to pinpoint the potential progenitors of these explosions; a result with potentially large consequences.
 
 
 

Does life have an extraterrestrial origin?

2011-08-09 17:58:56
For many years astronomers have been studying meteorites that crashed here on Earth. One of the key aspects has been to determine whether these meteorites contained the ingredients to form life. Many scientists tend to believe that life, or at least its building blocks, were brought to Earth by meteorites and did not form from the Earth's original elements. One problem scientists have to overcome when diving into this issue, is whether the ingredients are originally from the meteorite or just a contaminant from Earth. Recently, scientists finally managed to rule out the contaminant scenario.
 
 
 

Darkest galaxy ever observed

2011-08-04 19:16:54
Doesn't this title sound like a paradox. If you can observe a galaxy which is dark, then there has to be another not-yet-observed galaxy which has to be darker, otherwise it would have been discovered. However, this title does not concern the lack of starlight in this galaxy but the amount of mysterious dark matter surrounding it. It turns out that the galaxy, known as Segue 1, is basically just a clump of dark matter with a few stars inside.
 
 
 

Earth is chasing a Trojan

2011-07-28 19:49:04
In the early days of the Solar System, just after the first planets were formed, the Earth started cleaning its orbit. Baby planets grow from 'eating' other rocky objects in their vicinity, until eventually they have eaten all that is around them. You may think that this information implies that we are all alone at our particular orbit around the Sun. Well, it turns out we are not. Recent observation reveal that the Earth is actually chasing a small asteroid while orbiting around the Sun.
 
 
 

Cosmological seniors not so old after all?

2011-07-27 18:13:17
According to the leading theories of galaxy evolution, galaxies grow larger and larger due to subsequent collisions. At some point a galaxy has cleared out its entire neighborhood, leaving no galaxies to collide with anymore. Often at this point, all the collisions gave the remaining galaxy an elliptical shape. Due to this formation scenario and the kind of stars that are found in an elliptical galaxy, astronomers believe these galaxies to be somewhere between 7 and 10 billion years old. However, new results may indicate that there are at least some elliptical galaxies much younger than that.
 
 
 

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What is Project Collision?

A blog on the Universe, its secrets, and our place among the stars. You can read the blog posts on new, exciting discoveries, or play the iPhone app Collision - Travel to the Moon. If you'd like to propose a blog topic, feel free to contact me using the contact form at the bottom of the screen!

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