When the First Stars Turned On: The Origins of the Universe

All stories start somewhere – even the incomprehensibly vast expanse above us has a beginning. Scientists have long studied the cosmos, searching for answers to the “how’s” and “why’s” of life, and that effort continues to this day.  From concepts such as ‘Cosmic Dawn’ and ‘redshift,’ UNLV astronomer and computer scientist Paul La Plante focuses on topics that improve our understanding of where it all began.

Astronomers Witness Star Devouring Planet: Possible Preview of the Ultimate Fate of Earth

Astronomers using the Gemini South telescope in Chile, operated by NSF’s NOIRLab, have observed the first evidence of a dying Sun-like star engulfing an exoplanet. The “smoking gun” of this event was seen in a long and low-energy outburst from the star — the telltale signature of a planet skimming along a star’s surface. This never-before-seen process may herald the ultimate fate of Earth when our own Sun nears the end of its life in about five billion years.

Astrónomos descubren el planeta ‘Marshmallow’

Un exoplaneta gigante y gaseoso, con la misma densidad de un marshmallow, fue descubierto orbitando una fría estrella enana roja, gracias a un conjunto de dispositivos científicos que incluyen al instrumento de velocidad radial NEID, financiado por NASA, que se encuentra instalado en el Telescopio WIYN de 3,5 metros, ubicado en el Observatorio Nacional Kitt, en Arizona, Estados Unidos, y que es uno de los Programas de NOIRLab de NSF y AURA. Es el planeta gigante gaseoso más esponjoso descubierto alrededor de este tipo de estrella.

Long-term liquid water also on non-Earth-like planets?

Liquid water is an important prerequisite for life to develop on a planet. As researchers from the University of Bern, the University of Zurich and the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS report in a new study, liquid water could also exist for billions of years on planets that are very different from Earth. This calls our currently Earth-centred idea of potentially habitable planets into question.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss James Webb Space Telescope Science

New Brunswick, N.J. (Feb. 22, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Kristen McQuinn is available for interviews on the upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, its potential scientific impact and the leap forward it will provide in our understanding of the…

Best Region For Life on Mars Was Far Below Surface

The most habitable region for life on Mars would have been up to several miles below its surface, likely due to subsurface melting of thick ice sheets fueled by geothermal heat, a Rutgers-led study concludes. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, may help resolve what’s known as the faint young sun paradox – a lingering key question in Mars science.

Rutgers Astronomer Receives Packard Fellowship for Innovative Young Scientists

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 15, 2020) – Blakesley Burkhart’s childhood days spent volunteering at a science museum and watching the Discovery Channel and sci-fi shows sparked her love of science and fascination with the stars. “These were the beginning years…

Scientists Have Discovered the Origins of the Building Blocks of Life

Rutgers researchers have discovered the origins of the protein structures responsible for metabolism: simple molecules that powered early life on Earth and serve as chemical signals that NASA could use to search for life on other planets. Their study, which predicts what the earliest proteins looked like 3.5 billion to 2.5 billion years ago, is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Meteorites lend clues to origins of earliest history of solar system

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists and a collaborator from the University of Münster reviewed recent work that shows how meteorites exhibit a fundamental isotopic dichotomy between non-carbonaceous (NC) and carbonaceous (CC – rocks or sediments containing carbon or its compounds) groups, which most likely represent material from the inner and outer solar system.

How Planets May Form After Dust Sticks Together

Scientists may have figured out how dust particles can stick together to form planets, according to a Rutgers co-authored study that may also help to improve industrial processes. In homes, adhesion on contact can cause fine particles to form dust bunnies. Similarly in outer space, adhesion causes dust particles to stick together. Large particles, however, can combine due to gravity – an essential process in forming asteroids and planets. But between these two extremes, how aggregates grow has largely been a mystery until now.