A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Atmosphere of excitement as Europe’s JWST astronomers study climate on other planets

Credit: Getty images

Where do we come from?

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched on Christmas Day 2021, is already transforming our understanding of planets in our Solar System and far beyond. A versatile satellite observatory, JWST has a clear-eyed view from its orbital position, 1.5m km away from Earth in space. This gives it a major advantage over ground-based telescopes which must peer out to space through Earth's hazy atmosphere.

JWST collects five times as much light as the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), allowing it to detect faint signals from distant worlds using its spectroscopic capabilities.

'Before the James Webb Space Telescope, only a very small number of molecules could be observed, such as water, carbon monoxide and sodium,' said Jérémy Leconte, astrophysicist at the University of Bordeaux in France.

Previous missions and observations from Earth have discovered thousands of exoplanets (those outside our Solar System) and astronomers are already taking advantage of JWST's unique capabilities to study the building blocks of life in the Universe.

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Astronomers discover the closest black hole to Earth

Credit: Getty images

Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii reveals the first dormant, stellar-mass black hole

Astronomers have discovered the closest black hole to Earth, the first unambiguous detection of a dormant stellar-mass black hole in the Milky Way. Its close proximity to Earth, a mere 1,600 light-years away, offers an intriguing target of study to advance understanding of the evolution of binary systems.

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Potential first traces of the universe's earliest stars uncovered

Credit: Getty images

Distant quasar provides evidence of first-generation star that died in 'super-supernova' explosion

Astronomers may have discovered the ancient chemical remains of the first stars to light up the universe. Using an analysis of a distant quasar observed by the 8.1-meter Gemini North Telescope, located on Hawaii, the scientists found an unusual ratio of elements that, they argue, could come only from the debris produced by the all-consuming explosion of a 300-solar-mass first-generation star. The work was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Gemini North is operated by NSF's NOIRLab. The very first stars likely formed when the universe was only 100 million years old, less than 1% of its current age. These first stars were so massive that, when they ended their lives as supernovae, they tore themselves apart and seeded interstellar space with a distinctive blend of heavy elements.

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Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
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