Top Science Stories This Week

Posted: Nov 19 2016, 10:53pm CST | by , Updated: Nov 19 2016, 10:58pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Top Science Stories This Week
The distant star is the roundest object ever spotted in universe. Credit: Mark A. Garlick
 

Roundest Object in the Universe Discovered 

Astronomers have just discovered the roundest object ever seen in the universe. It is a distant star that is some 5,000 light years away from the Earth and is astonishingly rounded. To put it in perspective, the star is more sphere than Sun, which is the roundest natural object ever precisely measured.

The newfound star, named Kepler 11145123, shows a difference of only 3 kilometers between its poles and equator. The Sun has a radius at equator that is 10 km larger than at the poles. The Earth is more flatter at the poles than sun with the difference of 21 km. 

The distant star is more than twice the size of the sun and rotates three times more slowly than our closest neighboring star.

Pluto has a subsurface Ocean Beneath its Heart-Shaped Region

Pluto’s heart-shaped region harbors a cold, icy ocean underneath its surface. According to the data from NASA’s New Horizons mission, dwarf planet’s heart shaped region known as Tombaugh Regio is hiding a subsurface ocean which is covered in water ice. 

The presence of a subsurface ocean may also solve the longstanding mystery of the unusual tilt of Pluto’s most prominent surface feature which is aligned almost exactly opposite to the dwarf planet’s moon Charon. The thick, heavy ocean is likely the reason behind Pluto and its moon Charon’s gravitational tug of war.

NASA’s Peggy Whitson Becomes the Oldest Woman Astronaut

American astronaut Peggy Whitson has become the oldest women to send into the space.

The 56-year old astronaut arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday alongside French astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy. All three were carried by a Russian Soyuz capsule and have joined three astronauts already on board ISS. 

Whitson already holds the record for most time spent in space by a woman with 377 days. On her latest trip, she is set to break the record for most time in space by any male and female American astronaut with surpassing 534 days record held by Jeff Williams. Over the course of next six months, Whitson will celebrate her 57th birthday while in the orbit and also become the first woman to command the orbital complex twice in her career.

The Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Turned Earth Inside Out

After analyzing the crater from the asteroid impact that wiped out almost 75 percent of all life on Earth including dinosaurs, researchers are now able to study the dynamics of the impact in more detail.  

Almost 66 million years ago, a huge asteroid slammed into the Earth and created a massive crater in the process. The crater is known as Chicxulub. In an effort to better understand that crater, researchers have drilled down into the part of crater as deep as 4380 feet under the seafloor. When researcher carried out the analysis of the samples, they found that the impact has deformed rocks in a way that may generate habitats for early life.

Mercury is Shrinking, Great Valley Found on Planet Indicates

Astronomers have discovered a large valley on Mercury that provides further evidence for the existing theory of planet's shrinkage.

The valley is about 250 miles wide, 600 miles long and 2 miles deep. If Mercury's "great valley" existed on Earth, it would stretch from Washington DC to New York to Detroit and would be almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. 

Researchers believe as the planet cooled and shrank roughly 3-4 billion years ago, Mercury's surfaces folded to form the valley, much like the skin of a grape which folds and dries to become a raisin. The finding further supports the theory that Mercury is shrinking. 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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