For decades, scientists have held that Supermassive Black Holes (SMBHs) reside at the center of larger galaxies. These reality-bending points in space exert a extremely powerful influence on all things that surround them, consuming matter and spitting out a tremendous amount of energy. But given their nature, all attempts to study them has been confined to indirect methods.
An exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth may be the new holder of the title “best place to look for signs of life beyond the Solar System”.
It’s no Planet Nine, but the planetary body astronomers have found at the far edge of our solar system is a notable discovery nonetheless. They’ve named it DeeDee, for Distant Dwarf, and although it was first noticed in late 2016, little information about its physical structure was known back then.
In 2005, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spied jets of water ice and vapor erupting into space from fissures on Enceladus, evidence of a salty ocean beneath the saturnian moon’s placid icy surface. Now, the discovery of hydrogen in the water plumes suggests that although the moon is just 505 kilometers in diameter, it may harbor under its surface the chemicals and processes capable of supporting microbial life.
An international team of astronomers, led by Keele University researcher John Southworth, has managed to detect an atmosphere around GJ 1132b, a ‘super-Earth’ exoplanet in the constellation Vela, 39.3 light-years from us.
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