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New Moon research yields tantalizing clues about its geological history

The Moon has a long, chaotic geological history almost as old as Earth itself. Every crater, rock and speck of dust on the Moon tells a story, but because it’s not exactly close to our planet, this history is a little harder to study than say, the Grand Canyon.

Astronomers theorize that Moon craters were formed from celestial objects like asteroids and comets crashing into its surface....

Originally posted on salon.com

Puzzling new planet is too big for its sun, challenging dominant theories of planet formation

It’s difficult to fathom how much bigger the Sun is than our little planet. Even though it’s just an average-sized star, you could squeeze 1.3 million Earths inside it. But planets in other solar systems don’t always have such a massive size difference, as detailed in an intriguing new report in the journal Science, which describes the discovery of a planet named LHS 3154b....

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Three-body solution: These massive blue stars may not be duos, but threesomes instead

Be stars are weird. They are rapidly rotating stars about 4 to 18 times larger than the sun, but a pleasing blue color surrounded by discs of gas, not unlike the rings of Saturn. They spin so fast that they approach “critical velocity” or the point where they would otherwise blast apart due to centrifugal force overpowering the star’s gravity....

Originally posted on salon.com

A solar storm from 14,300 years ago previews how Earth may one day plunge into darkness

When the Sun suddenly erupts, it creates what’s known as solar flares and coronal mass ejections — and they can cause a lot of mischief when the resultant electromagnetic radiation reaches Earth. One particularly intense geomagnetic storm in 1859, the so-called Carrington Event, knocked out telegraph lines and tricked many people into thinking it was morning at 1 a.m....

Originally posted on salon.com