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Astronomy / Space - 14.05.2024
Discovery of a planet around an ultra-cool star
Artist's concept of the exoplanet SPECULOOS-3 b orbiting its ultra-cool red dwarf star. The planet is as big as Earth, while its star is slightly larger than Jupiter, but much more massive. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech An international team of astronomers - including members of the NCCR PlanetS , the University of Geneva and the University of Bern (UNIBE) - has discovered, for only the second time, an Earth-sized exoplanet (SPECULOOS-3 b) around an ultra-cool Red Dwarf star.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 08.05.2024
Hints of a possible atmosphere around a rocky exoplanet
Hints of a possible atmosphere around a rocky exoplanet
Researchers using NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope may have detected an atmosphere surrounding 55 Cancri e, a rocky exoplanet 41 light-years from Earth. This is the best evidence to date for a rocky planet atmosphere outside our solar system. Brice-Olivier Demory, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Bern and member of the the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS, was part of the international research team that just published the results in Nature.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 24.04.2024
Eruption of mega-magnetic star lights up nearby galaxy
Eruption of mega-magnetic star lights up nearby galaxy
Thanks to ESA satellites, an international team including researchers has detected a giant eruption coming from a magnetar, an extremely magnetic neutron star. While ESA's satellite INTEGRAL was observing the sky, it spotted a burst of gamma-rays - high-energy photons - coming from the nearby galaxy M82.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 16.04.2024
Gaia spots a large dormant black hole in our Galaxy
Gaia spots a large dormant black hole in our Galaxy
A high-mass stellar black hole has been discovered in preliminary data from the Gaia satellite by an international team led by astronomers from the University of Geneva. Wading through the inestimable wealth of data from ESA's Gaia mission, a team of scientists, including astronomers from the University of Geneva , uncovered a ''sleeping'' giant.

Astronomy / Space - 15.04.2024
How Pluto got its heart
How Pluto got its heart
The mystery of how Pluto got a giant heart-shaped feature on its surface has finally been solved by an international team of astrophysicists led by the University of Bern. The team is the first to successfully reproduce the unusual shape with numerical simulations, attributing it to a giant and slow oblique-angle impact.

Astronomy / Space - 08.04.2024
Largest 3D map of the universe ever made
Largest 3D map of the universe ever made
The first results from the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, or DESI, project, with significant contributions from EPFL astrophysicists, has mapped galaxies and quasars with unprecedented detail measuring how fast the universe expanded over 11 billion years. The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument project, an international collaboration of more than 900 researchers from over 70 institutions around the world including EPFL, has released its first results - a map of galaxies and quasars with unprecedented detail, creating the largest 3D map of the universe ever made.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 05.04.2024
CHEOPS detects a ''rainbow'' on an exoplanet
CHEOPS detects a ’’rainbow’’ on an exoplanet
New observations from the space telescope point to the existence of a 'glory' in the atmosphere of WASP-76b, a luminous phenomenon like a rainbow. The CHEOPS space telescope, whose scientific operations centre is based at the University of Geneva , is providing new information on the mysterious exoplanet WASP-76b.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 15.03.2024
The baritone of Red Giants refines cosmic distance measurements
The baritone of Red Giants refines cosmic distance measurements
A fresh look at red giant stars offers key insights into cosmic distance measurements and a way to measure the Universe's expansion with the highest accuracy. In a constantly expanding universe, measuring cosmic distances is like trying to find a reliable ruler in a vast, ever-stretching fabric. One tool that astrophysicists use is the Hubble constant, (H0), which measures how fast the Universe is expanding and sets the age and observable size of the Universe.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 28.02.2024
Do we have cosmic dust to thank for life on Earth?
Do we have cosmic dust to thank for life on Earth?
It might be that what set prebiotic chemistry in motion and kept it going in the early days of the Earth was dust from outer space accumulating in holes melted into ice sheets. Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Cambridge have used a computer model to test this scenario. Before life existed on Earth, there had to be chemistry to form organic molecules from the chemical elements nitrogen, sulphur, carbon and phosphorus.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 26.02.2024
Earth as a test object
Earth as a test object
Physicists at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich wanted to know whether the planned LIFE space mission could really detect traces of life on other planets. Yes, it can. The researchers reached this conclusion with the help of observations of our own planet. Life is indeed possible on Earth. This has been demonstrated in a study conducted by the Institute of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at ETH Zurich.

Astronomy / Space - 26.02.2024
Impact of the DART space probe could have deformed an asteroid
Thanks to simulations with a software system developed at the University of Bern, an international team under Bernese leadership has provided important insights into the impact of NASA's DART space probe on the asteroid Dimorphos: it is very likely that not just a crater was created, but the entire asteroid was reshaped.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 09.02.2024
Water-worlds, the key to an exoplanet enigma
Water-worlds, the key to an exoplanet enigma
Exoplanets with a radius twice that of the Earth are rare. A team from MPIA, UNIGE and UNIBE has come up with new explanations. Why are so few exoplanets about twice the size of Earth detected? On the basis of computer simulations, a team from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) and the Universities of Geneva (UNIGE) and Bern (UNIBE) has confirmed that the migration of sub-Neptunes planets - water-worlds - could explain this absence.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 18.01.2024
Moon rocks with unique dust found
Moon rocks with unique dust found
A research team from the University of Münster has discovered for the first time meter-sized rocks on the surface of the moon that are covered in dust and presumably have unique properties - magnetic anomalies, for example. The findings help to understand the processes that form and change the lunar crust.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 15.12.2023
Scientists measure the distance to stars by their music
Scientists measure the distance to stars by their music
A team of astronomers has used asteroseismology, or the study of stellar oscillations, to accurately measure the distance of stars from the Earth. Their research examined thousands of stars and checked the measurements taken during the Gaia mission to study the near Universe. For most of us, the countless bright spots in the nighttime sky all seem to be stars.

Environment - Astronomy / Space - 14.12.2023
Accurate snow measurement thanks to AI and satellites
Accurate snow measurement thanks to AI and satellites
Snow measurement has never been so fast and accurate: researchers have developed an artificial intelligence capable of determining snow depth across Switzerland using satellite images. How much snow is there up in the mountains, and where exactly is it? The answer is of just as much interest to the winter tourism industry and operators of hydropower plants as it is to winter sport enthusiasts looking to gauge the risk of avalanches.

Astronomy / Space - 29.11.2023
An astronomical waltz reveals a sextuplet of planets
An astronomical waltz reveals a sextuplet of planets
An international collaboration between astronomers using the CHEOPS and TESS space satellites, including NCCR PlanetS members from the University of Bern and the University of Geneva, have found a key new system of six transiting planets orbiting a bright star in a harmonic rhythm. This rare property enabled the team to determine the planetary orbits which initially appeared as an unsolvable riddle.

Computer Science - Astronomy / Space - 22.11.2023
AI helps detecting plastic in oceans
AI helps detecting plastic in oceans
A research team from EPFL and Wageningen University has developed a new artificial intelligence model that recognises floating plastics much more accurately in satellite images than before. This could help to systematically remove plastic litter from the oceans with ships. Our society relies heavily on plastic products and the amount of plastic waste is expected to increase in the future.

Astronomy / Space - Economics - 09.11.2023
Instrument from the University of Bern flies to the Moon
Instrument from the University of Bern flies to the Moon
Following the success of the Bern solar wind sail on the Apollo Moon missions of the U.S. space agency NASA in the 1960s, the Physics Institute at the University of Bern is to return to the Moon as early as 2027 with the LIMS mass spectrometer as part of the NASA Commercial Lunar Payoad A highly sensitive instrument for measurements on the lunar surface LIMS is a powerful instrument for the examination of a wide variety of samples which meets scientific lunar objectives.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 25.10.2023
Mystery of the Martian core solved
Mystery of the Martian core solved
Mars's liquid iron core is smaller and denser than previously thought. Not only is it smaller, but it is also surrounded by a layer of molten rock. This is what researchers conclude on the basis of seismic data from the InSight lander. For four years, NASA's InSight lander recorded tremors on Mars with its seismometer.

Physics - Astronomy / Space - 27.09.2023
ALPHA experiment at CERN observes the influence of gravity on antimatter
Isaac Newton's historic work on gravity was apparently inspired by watching an apple fall to the ground from a tree. But what about an "anti-apple" made of antimatter , would it fall in the same way if it existed? According to Albert Einstein's much-tested theory of general relativity, the modern theory of gravity, antimatter and matter should fall to Earth in the same way.
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