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…

Dark Storm on Neptune Reverses Direction, Possibly Shedding a Fragment

A giant dark storm on Neptune heading for certain doom at the equator mysteriously halted its journey and began drifting in the opposite direction. Almost simultaneously, another smaller dark spot appeared nearby, only to vanish months later. Hubble astronomers are presenting these findings today at the Fall 2020 American Geophysical Union meeting.

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.

Astronomers develop model for the distribution of inner planetary systems

Data from the Kepler space telescope, launched more than a decade ago, is still helping astronomers who study planets outside of our own solar system — exoplanets — and unravel the mysteries of planetary systems. Initially, astronomers were surprised that Kepler found so many exoplanets, including hundreds of planetary systems with multiple planets orbiting close to their host star. As astronomers developed models to explain the abundance of inner exoplanets, they encountered a new mystery: “Why did Kepler detect just one planet around so many stars, instead of planetary systems with multiple planets?”

From Star to Solar System: How Protoplanetary Rings Form in Primordial Gas Clouds

The star HL Tauri, 450 light-years from Earth, is glowing at the center of a system of concentric rings made from gas and dust and producing planets, one for each gap in the ring. Its discovery has shaken solar system origin theories to their core. Mayer Humi, a scientist from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, believes it provides an apt study target for theories about protoplanetary rings around stars. The research is published in the Journal of Mathematical Physics.

Hubble Uses Earth as a Proxy for Identifying Oxygen on Potentially Habitable Planets Around Other Stars

Astronomers used Hubble during a total lunar eclipse to detect ozone in our planet’s atmosphere by looking at Earthlight reflected off the Moon in ultraviolet wavelengths. This method serves as a proxy for how astronomers will observe Earth-like exoplanets in search of life.

X-Rays Recount Origin of Oddball Meteorites

X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab played a key role in resolving the origin of rare, odd meteorites that have puzzled scientists since their discovery a half-century ago. Known as type IIE iron meteorites, they appear to have originated from a parent body that had a composition featuring both fully melted and unmelted parts – other meteorite types display only one composition.

Trident Team Reaches NASA’s Discovery Program Finals

Two Weizmann Institute scientists are on a team selected as a finalist for a mission to Triton, Neptune’s largest moon. The duo designed a super-accurate clock that will help them study Triton’s atmosphere – and even search for life. The mission, called Trident, would launch in 2026.

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.