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Astronomy / Space Science - Microtechnics - 09:00
Army of robots pushes the limits of astrophysics
Army of robots pushes the limits of astrophysics
One thousand newly-minted microrobots created in EPFL labs will soon be deployed at two large-scale telescopes in Chile and the United States. These high-precision instruments, capable of positioning optical fibers to within a micron, will vastly increase the quantity of astrophysics data that can be gathered - and expand our understanding of the Universe.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 04.03.2021
Volcanoes might light up the night sky of this planet
Volcanoes might light up the night sky of this planet
Until now, researchers have found no evidence of global tectonic activity on planets outside our solar system. Under the leadership of the University of Bern and the National Center of Competence in Research NCCR PlanetS, scientists have now found that the material inside planet LHS 3844b flows from one hemisphere to the other and could be responsible for numerous volcanic eruptions on one side of the planet.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 01.03.2021
Extinct atom reveals the long-kept secrets of the solar system
Extinct atom reveals the long-kept secrets of the solar system
Using the extinct niobium-92 atom, ETH researchers have been able to date events in the early solar system with greater precision than before. The study concludes that supernova explosions must have taken place in the birth environment of our sun. If an atom of a chemical element has a surplus of protons or neutrons, it becomes unstable.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 22.02.2021
Martian moons have a common ancestor
Martian moons have a common ancestor
Phobos and Deimos are the remains of a larger Martian moon that was disrupted between 1 and 2.7 billion years ago, say researchers from the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich and the Physics Institute at the University of Zurich. They reached this conclusion using computer simulations and seismic recordings from the InSight Mars mission.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 17.02.2021
On the quest for other earths
On the quest for other earths
An international research team with members from ETH has developed a new method for directly imaging smaller planets in the habitable zone of a neighbouring star system. This opens up new possibilities in the search for extraterrestrial life. In the search for planets capable of sustaining life, an international research team with members from ETH has taken a significant step forward.

Astronomy / Space Science - 25.01.2021
CHEOPS finds unique planetary system
CHEOPS finds unique planetary system
The CHEOPS space telescope detects six planets orbiting the star TOI-178. Five of the planets are in a harmonic rhythm despite very different compositions. This result challenges our understanding of the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Musical notes that sound pleasant together can form a harmony.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 22.01.2021
Solar System formation in two steps
Solar System formation in two steps
Why are the planets of the inner Solar System dry and rocky, but the outer ones are not? An international team of researchers with participation of the University of Zurich discovered that a two-step formation process of the planets can explain the chronology and split in volatiles like water and isotope content of the inner and outer Solar System.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 22.01.2021
TRAPPIST-1's 7 Rocky Planets May Be Made of Similar Stuff
TRAPPIST-1’s 7 Rocky Planets May Be Made of Similar Stuff
The TRAPPIST-1 star is home to the largest batch of roughly Earth-size planets ever found outside our solar system. An international study involving researchers from the Universities of Bern, Geneva and Zurich now shows that the exoplanets have remarkably similar densities, which provides clues about their composition.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 21.01.2021
How our planets were formed
How our planets were formed
Terrestrial planets versus gas and ice giants: A new theory explaining why the inner solar system is so different to the outer regions runs counter to the prevailing wisdom. The theory was proposed by an international research group with ETH Zurich's participation. Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars in the inner solar system are relatively small, dry planets, unlike Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in the outer regions, planets that contain much greater quantities of volatile elements.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 22.12.2020
How Nearby Galaxies Form Their Stars
How Nearby Galaxies Form Their Stars
How stars form in galaxies remains a major open question in astrophysics. A new UZH study sheds new light on this topic with the help of a data-driven re-analysis of observational measurements. The star-formation activity of typical, nearby galaxies is found to scale proportionally with the amount of gas present in these galaxies.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 16.12.2020
A pair of lonely planet-like objects born like stars
A pair of lonely planet-like objects born like stars
An international research team led by the University of Bern has discovered an exotic binary system composed of two young planet-like objects, orbiting around each other from a very large distance. Although these objects look like giant exoplanets, they formed in the same way as stars, proving that the mechanisms driving star formation can produce rogue worlds in unusual systems deprived of a Sun.

Astronomy / Space Science - 09.12.2020
Spiders in space: without gravity, light becomes key to orientation
Spiders in space: without gravity, light becomes key to orientation
Humans have taken spiders into space more than once to study the importance of gravity to their web-building. What originally began as a somewhat unsuccessful PR experiment for high school students has yielded the surprising insight that light plays a larger role in arachnid orientation than previously thought.

Astronomy / Space Science - 27.10.2020
The cosmic network feeds early galaxies
The cosmic network feeds early galaxies
The galaxies in the early universe are much more mature than astrophysicists first thought: their existence at such an early stage is due to their interactions with the cosmos. The first galaxies were formed 200 million years after the birth of the universe. These galaxies accumulated the vast majority of the stars, dust particles and metals they consist of between one and three billion years after the Big Bang, a crucial period for our understanding of how the galaxies were formed.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 15.10.2020
Two planets around a red dwarf
Two planets around a red dwarf
The -SAINT-EX- Observatory, led by scientists from the National Centre of Competence in Research NCCR PlanetS of the University of Bern and the University of Geneva, has detected two exoplanets orbiting the star TOI-1266. The Mexico-based telescope thus demonstrates its high precision and takes an important step in the quest of finding potentially habitable worlds.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 08.10.2020
Vaporised metal in the air of an exoplanet
Vaporised metal in the air of an exoplanet
An international team of researchers led by the National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS of the University of Bern and the University of Geneva studied the atmosphere of the ultra-hot exoplanet WASP-121b. In it, they found a number of gaseous metals. The results are a next step in the search for potentially habitable worlds.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 21.09.2020
Comet Chury's ultraviolet aurora
Comet Chury’s ultraviolet aurora
On Earth, auroras, also called northern lights, have always fascinated people. An international consortium involving the University of Bern has now discovered such auroras in the ultraviolet wavelength range at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Chury for short. This phenomenon was detected thanks to the analysis of data from the European Space Agency ESA's Rosetta mission.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 04.09.2020
Surprise on Mars
Surprise on Mars
NASA's InSight mission provides data from the surface of Mars. Its seismometer, equipped with electronics built at ETH Zurich, not only records marsquakes, but unexpectedly reacts to solar eclipses as well. When the Martian moon, Phobos moves directly in front of the sun, the instrument tips slightly to one side.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 28.08.2020
Space debris observed for the first time during the day
Space debris observed for the first time during the day
Researchers at the University of Bern are the first in the world to succeed in determining the distance to a space debris object using a geodetic laser in daylight. The distance was determined on June 24, 2020 at the Swiss Optical Ground Station and Geodynamics Observatory Zimmerwald. The number of measurements can be multiplied thanks to the new possibility of observing space debris during the day.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 20.08.2020

The discovery of the first galaxy emitting "extreme" ultraviolet radiation could help to better understand how the cosmic era known as the "Dark Ages" came to an end more than 13 billion years ago. Thanks to the Indian satellite AstroSat, an international team, including astronomers from the University of Geneva, has detected the first galaxy, called AUDFs01, emitting "extreme" ultraviolet radiation, i.e. highly energetic (with a wavelength of about 60 nanometres, or billionths of a metre).

Astronomy / Space Science - Materials Science - 19.08.2020
New instrument for the search for life in space
New instrument for the search for life in space
Researchers at the University of Bern have developed the highly sensitive instrument ORIGIN for future space missions, which can detect minute traces of life. Space agencies such as NASA have already expressed interest in testing ORIGIN for future missions. For example, the instrument could be used for missions to the icy moons Europa (Jupiter) and Enceladus (Saturn).
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