2020 ties record for the hottest year ever, NASA analysis shows

The year 2020 — which saw the continuing coronavirus pandemic as well as massive wildfires across Australia, Siberia and the United States — also tied the record for the hottest year on record, a new NASA study shows. Up until this past year, 2016 ranked as the warmest year on record for planet Earth. 2020 surpassed this previous record by a very small amount, under one-tenth of a degree, the agency announced Thursday (Jan. 14). However, the difference between the two years is within the margin

What is Betelgeuse? Inside the Strange, Volatile Star – NASA Universe Exploration

A blazing red supergiant shining brilliantly in the night sky, Betelgeuse is a star that has captured humanity's awe and attention for centuries. The "right shoulder" in the constellation Orion (or left shoulder, as seen from Earth), Betelgeuse (or Alpha Orionis) is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and one of the largest stars ever discovered. But there is more to this ultra-bright stellar monster than meets the eye. Betelgeuse is a red supergiant star with a distinctive orange-red

Discovery Alert: Ultra-hot 'Super-Earth' Could Have No Atmosphere

The discovery: GJ 1252 b, a rocky, terrestrial "super-Earth" discovered in 2020, has been given a closer look and astronomers have found that the exoplanet could have a very minimal atmosphere or possibly no atmosphere at all. The planet, which orbits an M-type star, is "the smallest exoplanet yet for which we have such tight constraints on its atmosphere,” said lead author Ian Crossfield, an astronomer and assistant professor at the University of Kansas. Key facts: Astronomers often discover

What Happens When Something Gets ‘Too Close' to a Black Hole? – NASA Universe Exploration

Can a star be squeezed like a tube of toothpaste, flattened like a pancake, or stretched out like a piece of spaghetti? If there's a black hole nearby, maybe. Scattered across the universe, black holes are objects with gravity so powerful, nothing can escape their grasp. These objects can tear apart whole stars and planets. Scientists have theorized about the existence of black holes since the 18th century. However, it wasn’t until 1964 that astronomers found strong evidence of a black hole fo

Star Clusters: Inside the Universe's Stellar Collections –

Billions of trillions of stars speckle the universe. Star clusters are groups of stars that share an origin, forming at roughly the same time and location, and are tied together by gravity for up to millions or even billions of years. Stars are born within clouds of gas and dust when the conditions are just right. Gravity causes this gas (primarily hydrogen) and dust to collapse. As the cloud collapses and the pressure starts to build, its core will heat up. This hot core, known as a protostar,

Nighttime weather on Venus revealed for the 1st time

In a new study, researchers have revealed the nighttime weather on Venus for the first time. What's the weather like at night on Venus? Scientists are finally finding out. Just one planet away, Venus is relatively close to Earth and we have been studying it for a long time, with the first Venusian probe reaching the planet in 1978. However, scientists have known very little about what the weather is like at night on Venus. That is, until now. In a new study, researchers have devised a new way

Earth is hotter than ever — So what happens next?

This week, NASA revealed that 2020 tied with 2016 as the hottest year on record . The announcement, part of an annual release of global temperature data by NASA and NOAA (the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), revealed that our planet just keeps getting hotter. This data is an important part of our growing understanding of . But what do these new findings mean for the future of our planet and life on Earth? "We're already seeing impacts," Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist

Scientists find first evidence of rare Higgs boson decay

Scientists have spotted the first evidence of a rare decay, expanding our understanding of the strange quantum universe. In 2012, the was awarded to a breakthrough finding: the detection of the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle predicted by nearly 50 years prior. The Higgs boson doesn't live very long, quickly decaying into less massive particles like two photons (light particles). Now, researchers using ATLAS and CMS at CERN's Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland have found evidence for a rar

Inspiration4 SpaceX mission carrying indie-pop song to orbit

Inspiration4 astronaut Sian Proctor will bring indie-pop artist Foxanne's new single to space with her as part of a personal playlist. The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew is carrying a special package to space in their personal equipment — a digital copy of an independent artist's song about finding meaning in existence. Independent singer-songwriter Foxanne saw her song "I Could Go On" rocket to space on Sept. 15 when the Inspiration4 mission launched to Earth orbit atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rock

Newly discovered bacteria on space station could help astronauts grow plants on Mars

The Veggie experiment, which is used to grow lettuce on the International Space Station. In a new study, researchers have discovered new bacteria on the space station that they think could support future food growing efforts in space. What will future astronauts living on Mars or traveling in deep space eat? Researchers have discovered three new strains of bacteria on the International Space Station that they think could one day help astronauts to . While space food has evolved from the puree

Ozone pollution levels have increased over the past 20 years, study finds

In a new study, researchers found that, over 20 years, ozone increased in Earth's lower atmosphere over the Northern Hemisphere. Ozone pollution has increased across the over the past 20 years, researchers have found in a new study — the first study to use ozone data collected by commercial aircraft. In the new research, scientists from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder studied levels of ozone — a greenhouse gas which

Dropped emissions during COVID-19 lockdown will do 'nothing' for climate change

A view from space of how emissions are changing in response to coronavirus. While greenhouse gas as the world locked down in response to the pandemic, such dips will do "nothing" to slow climate change unless society moves away from fossil fuels, researchers have found. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, a pandemic, which it remains today. To slow the spread of the virus, countries around the world began implementing lockdown meas

Astronomers spot the fastest spinning magnetar ever seen

Far-off in the Milky Way galaxy, 21,000 light-years from Earth, astronomers have spotted the fastest-spinning magnetar (and possibly youngest, too) ever seen. And that's just the start of what makes this star strange. are a unique type of , which are the collapsed cores of supergiant stars that died in supernova events. What sets magnetars apart from other neutron stars is that they possess extremely powerful magnetic fields — he most powerful ones in the known universe, in fact. They can also

Space telescopes spot light 'echoing' from behind black hole for the first time

In a new study, scientists detected light echoing from behind a black hole for the first time. For the first time ever, scientists have seen the light from behind a black hole. Black holes are regions in space-time where gravity's pull is so powerful that not even light can escape its grasp. However, while light cannot escape a black hole, its extreme gravity warps space around it, which allows light to "echo," bending around the back of the object. Thanks to this strange phenomenon, astronome

Moonshots, private space stations and more: NASA chief Bill Nelson on the future of human spaceflight

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — NASA Administrator Bill Nelson is confident the agency's human spaceflight future is bright, despite the inherent difficulty of the endeavor and some challenging international issues. "NASA is an agency of overcomers," Nelson told Space.com at the 36th annual Space Symposium, which took place here last month. The space agency is on the precipice of returning humans to the moon with its Artemis program while continuing to navigate tricky international relationships and

We did it: Celebrating a Mars rover landing in the time of COVID-19

PASADENA, Calif. — After a year of seemingly endless obstacles and challenges imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, something good finally happened. Amidst the chaos and strife, NASA landed its most ambitious robotic explorer ever on the surface of Mars. On Thursday (Feb. 18), a bright light shone as people around the world celebrated the Perseverance Mars rover landing safely in Jezero Crater, an ancient lakebed on the Red Planet's surface. As I watched the rover's descent to the Martian surfac

Relativity Space teams with HI-SEAS, NASA to celebrate International Women's Day

California-based aerospace startup will celebrate International Women's Day (March 8) and Women's History Month with a new video highlighting an all-woman analog astronaut crew. The new video, which Relativity Space released today, highlights the crew and mission of Sensoria M2 , the second all-woman mission at the (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) habitat, in October 2020. It followed the first such mission, Sensoria M1, which took place in January 2020. Sensoria M2, which this

Yale astronomy students speak out against institutional racism

Students are leading the charge to make changes at Yale University after a heated debate over systemic racism at the institution went public. Last month, in the midst of rising racial tensions in the U.S. , a group of professors at the Yale Department of Astronomy sent out an email, , to the entire department regarding its history with race. In the email, Richard Larson, a professor emeritus at the university who retired in 2011, expressed doubts at the existence of systemic racism in the depa

Scientists find most distant quasar shooting powerful radio jets

A newly discovered from the early universe is the most distant found to date that's shooting out powerful radio jets. Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) recently discovered the quasar, called P172+18, which is so far away that it takes about 13 billion years for the light from this quasar to reach Earth, where we observe the object as it was when the universe was just 780 million years old. While the new find is not the most distant quasar eve

Physicists witness the bizarre birth of a 'quasiparticle'

In a new study, researchers were able to have an impurity atom evolve into a quasiparticle, allowing them to observe the "birth" of the quasiparticle. Physicists exploring the quantum world watched the birth of a quasiparticle, shedding light on the strange behavior of these bizarre "fake particles." Quasiparticles have been an enigmatic entity in the world of physics since they were first introduced as a concept in the 1930s. They're strange disturbances in physical systems that aren't partic
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