Solar magnetism displays a host of variational timescales of which the enigmatic 11-year sunspot cycle is most prominent. Recent work has demonstrated that the sunspot cycle can be explained in terms of the intra- and extra-hemispheric interaction between the overlapping activity bands of the 22-year magnetic polarity cycle. Those activity bands appear to be driven by the rotation of the Sun’s deep interior. Here we deduce that activity band interaction can qualitatively explain the ‘Gnevyshev Gap’—a well-established feature of flare and sunspot occurrence.

Based on two detectors separated by about 3,000 km and using ultra-stable lasers, a new observatory known as the Advanced LIGO has detected gravitational waves generated by the coalescence of two black holes, that turned into a new black hole with the release of about five solar masses of energy in a few milliseconds at a distance of over a billion light years, thus confirming one of the last untested predictions of the General Theory of Relativity.

Astronomers have discovered the largest known solar system, consisting of a large planet that takes nearly a million years to orbit its star.

On 25 September, a sensational rumour appeared on Twitter: Lawrence Krauss, a cosmologist, reported hearing that the world’s largest gravitational-wave observatory had seen a signal, barely a week after its official re-opening.

India Monday launched its first astronomical observatory Astrosat from the spaceport of Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Aurorae are detected from all the magnetized planets in our Solar System, including Earth. They are powered by magnetospheric current systems that lead to the precipitation of energetic electrons into the high-latitude regions of the upper atmosphere.

Four small moons—Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra—follow near-circular, near-equatorial orbits around the central ‘binary planet’ comprising Pluto and its large moon, Charon. New observational details of the system have emerged following the discoveries of Kerberos and Styx. Here we report that Styx, Nix and Hydra are tied together by a three-body resonance, which is reminiscent of the Laplace resonance linking Jupiter’s moons Io, Europa and Ganymede. Perturbations by the other bodies, however, inject chaos into this otherwise stable configuration.

Previous work on possible surface reflectance biosignatures for Earth-like planets has typically focused on analogues to spectral features produced by photosynthetic organisms on Earth, such as the vegetation red edge. Although oxygenic photosynthesis, facilitated by pigments evolved to capture photons, is the dominant metabolism on our planet, pigmentation has evolved for multiple purposes to adapt organisms to their environment.

Astronomers have studied the carbon monoxide in a galaxy over 12 billion light years from Earth and discovered that it's running out of gas, quite literally, and headed for a 'red and dead' future. The galaxy, known as ALESS65, was observed by the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in 2011 and is one of fewer than 20 known distant galaxies to contain carbon monoxide.

Original Source

The end of the world is coming – but not for a while yet. That’s according to a new study indicating that we have 1.75 billion years left until Mother Earth gives up the ghost.