New eclipsing double white dwarf binary discovered

New eclipsing double white dwarf binary discovered
Pan-STARRS1 color giy-bands image of ZTF J2243+5242, which is the blue object in the center of the image. Credit: Burdge et al., 2020.

Astronomers from the California Institute of Technology and elsewhere report the detection of a new eclipsing detached double white dwarf binary. The system, designated ZTF J2243+5242 has an orbital period of below 10 minutes, which makes it one of the shortest-period eclipsing binaries known to date. The finding is detailed in a paper published October 7 on arXiv.org.


Astronomers are interested in finding and studying double white dwarfs (DWDs), as their mergers are believed to produce new white dwarfs with higher masses. It is assumed that some high-mass white dwarfs in the solar neighborhood could be DWD merger products.

The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), using the Palomar Observatory in California, is one of the most important astronomical surveys to search for double white dwarf binary systems. So

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3,000-Year-Old Leather Sports Balls Discovered In China, The Oldest In Eurasia

KEY POINTS

  • Researchers found what might be the oldest known balls in Eurasia
  • It’s not clear how the game was played but it was likely part of exercise and military training
  • The ball game possibly arose around the same time as horseback riding

Researchers found what may just be the oldest ancient balls in Eurasia. The find provides evidence that ball games were already around in Europe and Asia earlier than previously thought.

In a new study, a team of German and Chinese researchers report the discovery of three ancient balls that were recovered from the graves in the prehistoric Yanghai cemetery in northeast China. They are made of leather and measure somewhere between 7.4 and 9.2 centimeters.

Radiocarbon dating of the balls reveals that they are likely from 2,900 to 3,200 years ago, making them the oldest balls in the region.

“This makes these balls about five centuries older

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Newly Discovered ‘Extreme’ Alien Planet Is Super Hot At 5,800 Fahrenheit, Researchers Reveal

KEY POINTS

  • CHEOPS has released the results of its observation on alien planet WASP-189b
  • WASP-189b’s orbit is tilted dramatically and orbits its star every 2.7 Earth days
  • WASP-189b has temperatures reaching 5,800 Fahrenheit

The European Space Agency’s Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS) has recently discovered an alien planet about 1.6 times the size of Jupiter. Aside from having a strange orbit, it is also scorching hot.

WASP-189b, the newly discovered alien planet, was first detected in 2018 and has been recorded to have temperatures reaching 5,800 Fahrenheit — almost as hot as Earth’s outer core and is even hot enough to turn iron into gas, ESA’s study revealed.

Aside from having a size comparable to Jupiter, the exoplanet is also considered a “Hot Jupiter” due to its extremely short orbital period (2.7 Earth days). A Hot Jupiter is a gas planet with a “Jupiter-like” size that orbits very close to its

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Giant Black Hole Discovered At Centre Of Cosmic ‘Spider’s Web’

Astronomers have discovered six galaxies ensnared in the cosmic “spider’s web” of a supermassive black hole soon after the Big Bang, according to research published Thursday that could help explain the development of these enigmatic monsters.

Black holes that emerged early in the history of the Universe are thought to have formed from the collapse of the first stars, but astronomers have puzzled over how they expanded into giants.

The newly discovered black hole — which dates from when the Universe was not even a billion years old — weighs in at one billion times the mass of our Sun and was spotted by the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Scientists said the finding helps provide an explanation for how supermassive black holes such as the one at the centre of our Milky Way may have developed.

This is because astronomers believe the filaments trapping the cluster of galaxies are carrying

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New gas giant exoplanet discovered by NGTS survey

New gas giant exoplanet discovered by NGTS survey
Full NGTS and TESS light curves for NGTS-12. The red vertical lines give the positions of the observed transits of NGTS-12b. Credit: Bryant et al., 2020.

An international team of astronomers has discovered a new gas giant alien world as part of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS). The newly found exoplanet, designated NGTS-12b, is about the size of Jupiter, but more than four times less massive than the solar system’s biggest planet. The finding is reported in a paper published September 22 on arXiv.org.


NGTS is a wide-field photometric survey focused mainly on the search for Neptune-sized and smaller exoplanets transiting bright stars. The project uses an array of small, fully-robotic telescopes at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, operating at red-optical wavelengths. It uses the transit photometry method to find new exoworlds, which precisely measures the dimming of a star to detect the presence of a planet crossing in

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Second alignment plane of solar system discovered — ScienceDaily

A study of comet motions indicates that the Solar System has a second alignment plane. Analytical investigation of the orbits of long-period comets shows that the aphelia of the comets, the point where they are farthest from the Sun, tend to fall close to either the well-known ecliptic plane where the planets reside or a newly discovered “empty ecliptic.” This has important implications for models of how comets originally formed in the Solar System.

In the Solar System, the planets and most other bodies move in roughly the same orbital plane, known as the ecliptic, but there are exceptions such as comets. Comets, especially long-period comets taking tens-of-thousands of years to complete each orbit, are not confined to the area near the ecliptic; they are seen coming and going in various directions.

Models of Solar System formation suggest that even long-period comets originally formed near the ecliptic and were later

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Buried lakes of liquid water discovered on Mars

Three underground lakes have been detected near the south pole of Mars.

Scientists also confirmed the existence of a fourth lake – the presence of which was hinted at in 2018.

Liquid water is vital for biology, so the finding will be of interest to researchers studying the potential for life elsewhere in the Solar System.

But the lakes are also thought to be extremely salty, which could make it difficult for any microbial life to survive in them.

Mars’ thin atmosphere means that the presence of liquid water on the surface is a near-impossibility. But water could remain liquid below ground.

The latest discovery was made using data from a radar instrument on the European Space Agency’s (Esa) Mars Express spacecraft, which has been orbiting the Red Planet since December 2003.

In 2018, researchers used data from the Marsis radar to report signs of a 20km-wide subsurface lake located

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Ancient underground lakes discovered on Mars

This beautiful ESA image of the Martian surface is titled Cappuccino swirls at Mars’ south pole.


ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/Bill Dunford

Be sure to pack some arm floaties and a really big drill for when you fly to Mars. There may be a whole world of water-filled ponds hiding beneath the dry and dusty planet’s southern ice cap.

A new study led by researchers at Roma Tre University in Italy strengthens the case for a 2018 discovery of a hidden lake under the Martian polar ice, and then extends the find to include three new ponds. 

The researchers used radar data from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter to make its original detection of liquid water. 

“Now, taking into account more data and analyzing it in a different way, three new ponds have been discovered,”

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New species of cockroach-killing wasps discovered in 25-million-year-old amber

This ensign wasp was trapped in amber 25 million years ago.


George Poinar Jr./Oregon State University

If you hate cockroaches, then you might find some satisfaction in a fascinating piece of ancient insect history that recently came to light. 

Oregon State University entomologist George Poinar Jr. discovered four new species of ensign wasps in 25-million-year-old amber found in the Dominican Republic and Mexico. These cockroach-killing wasps are still around today, and the amber finds offer an intriguing glimpse into their past.

Poinar is the author of a study on the amber-encased wasps published in the paleobiology journal Historical Biology this month.

This is one of four new species of ensign wasp found trapped in 25-million-year-old amber.


George Poinar Jr./Oregon State University

Ensign wasps let their young handle the cockroach-killing duties. Female wasps lay eggs in

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A newly discovered asteroid will pass close to Earth on Thursday

Discovered only on September 18, in Tucson, Arizona, the school bus-sized asteroid which is estimated to be somewhere between 15-30 feet in diameter is expected to graze past our planets surface with about 13,000 miles of breathing room. This falls well below the orbit of our geostationary weather satellites which are located about 22,000 miles above earth’s surface.

Its closest approach to earth will occur around 7:12 a.m. ET on Thursday, as it skirts over the Southeastern Pacific Ocean, near Australia and New Zealand.

Its approach will be so close to earth, that our gravity will alter its speed and trajectory according to earthsky.org.

“There are a large number of tiny asteroids like this one, and several of them approach our planet as close as this several times every year,” said Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.… Read More