Two stars circling each other are speeding up in a tell-tale way that scientists attribute to gravitational waves: ripples in the very fabric of space and time.
Image:This illustration shows the gravitational waves thought to be produced by two orbiting white dwarf stars in a binary system called J0651, according to an August 2012 study.Credit:NASA
The stars are dense objects called white dwarfs, which are so close together they take less than 13 minutes to orbit each other. The two white dwarfs, remnants of stars that used to be as big as our sun, are only spread apart by one-third of the distance between the Earth and the moon.
In observing this system, astronomers have made the first measurements in optical light of motions that must be caused by gravitational waves, they said.
“This result marks one of the cleanest and strongest detections of the effect of gravitational waves,” astronomer Warren Brown of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory said in a statement.
Astronomers have found a dusty tail streaming off a faraway alien planet, suggesting that the tiny, scorching-hot world is indeed falling apart.
Image:This artist’s concept depicts a cometlike tail of a possible disintegrating super Mercury-size planet candidate as it transits, or crosses, its parent star, named KIC 12557548. At an orbital distance of only twice the diameter of its star, the surface temperature of the potential planet is so high, the surface would melt and evaporate, according to the results of a study.Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech
In May, researchers announced the detection of a possibly distintegrating exoplanet, a roughly Mercury-size world being boiled away by the intense heat of its parent star. Now, a different team has found strong evidence in support of the find — a massive dust cloud shed by the planet, similar to the tail of a comet.
Both studies used observations from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which spots alien planets by flagging the telltale brightness dips caused when they pass in front of their parent stars from the instrument’s perspective.
They may grow to be very different beasts, but these breathtaking images reveal how surprisingly similar the beginning of life can be for the animal kingdom. Captured using revolutionary four-dimensional imaging technology and anatomically accurate models, scientists have managed to shed light on the world of mammals inside the womb. As diverse a bunch as they are - elephant, dog, dolphin and penguin are all shown united by their similar stages of development.
Scientists captured the images for a National Geographic Documentary called ‘Animals in the Womb’. The images were also used on a Channel 4 documentary ‘Animals in the Womb’ which aired in 2009. They were created by using a combination of ultrasound scans, computer graphics and small cameras -as well as some carefully created models- to document the animals’ development from conception to birth, and give an unparalleled glimpse into a world that few of us would ever expect to see.