Moon Has a Giant Tail Strikes Earth Once a Month.
A recent study claims that the Moon has a tail! And every month, it wraps around
our planet like a scarf! A slender tail made up of millions of atoms of sodium
follows Earth's natural satellite. And our planet regularly travels directly through it.
Meteor strikes blast these sodium atoms out of the Moon's surface and further into space. For several days every month, the Moon remains between the Sun and our planet. That's when Earth's gravity picks up that sodium tail. Our planet drags it into a long stripe that wraps around its atmosphere. This lunar tail is totally harmless. It's also invisible to the human eye – 50 times dimmer than what you can perceive. But during those rare days, high-powered telescopes can spot its faint yellowish glow in the sky.
The tail looks like a gleaming spot that's five times the full moon's diameter. Mathematicians claim white holes might exist. Unfortunately, scientists haven't found one yet. Even if you saw a white hole, you wouldn't be able to enter it from the outside. But you'd notice light and matter leaving it. Betelgeuse, a red giant in the Orion constellation, started to dim in 2019. This confused astronomers. By that time, the star had already swollen to enormous proportions. If it was to replace our Sun, its outer surface would spread far beyond Jupiter's orbit! And then Betelgeuse became dimmer in the fall of 2019. This process continued through February 2020. The changes could be already seen with the unaided eye. No wonder – the star's brightness had dipped by two-thirds! At that time, astronomers were sure Betelgeuse was about to explode into a supernova.
They continued to observe the star. But unexpectedly, it returned to its regular brightness in April! Thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists figured out that the star had ejected some of its material. And this partially blocked its light. Our Milky Way Galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy, our closest neighbors, are going to meet. But it'll happen in about 4 billion years. When they collide, an enormous elliptical galaxy will be formed. There might be more water on the Moon than scientists thought before. And not only on its dark side but also its sunlit side. This water is likely to come in handy during the already planned missions in the future. Cotton candy exoplanets are particular planets outside of our Solar System. Also called "super-puffs," they have the lowest density ever discovered. This gives them an airy, fluffy appearance.
But despite looking like the most popular amusement park treat, these planets are enormous. The Juno mission has noticed something weird in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter. The unusual phenomenon was blue sprites and elves twirling above the planet. These are two kinds of bright flashes of light that appear for short period of time – mere milliseconds. They extend up and down toward the surface of the planet. Such flashes usually happen at a height of 60 miles above massive thunderstorms on Earth. In the Universe, there are not only dwarf planets but also dwarf galaxies. They have from 1,000 to a few billion stars. For comparison, the Milky Way galaxy is made up of 250 to 400 billion stars. A storm the size of our planet keeps raging on Saturn. It's called the Great White Spot. The storm has a tail of white clouds – and it encircles the entire planet! The storm occurs every 30 years or so – when Saturn's northern hemisphere tilts toward the Sun.
At first, the storm is indeed just a spot. And then, it starts stretching in length. That's because the Great White Spot is a huge system of thunderstorms. But the main mystery puzzling astronomers is where the storm gets its energy from. Some scientists think it might be powered by the Sun. Others disagree. They say the storm's cloud pattern only makes sense if there's an internal heat source that can power the winds. Rogue planets don't orbit their stars. Maybe because they don't have any. These free-floating space bodies travel across the Universe and can end up literally anywhere. They're also very hard to find. Rogue planets don't produce light. Neither do they emit heat, which means they can't be seen in infrared light? But not so long ago, astronomers spotted the smallest rogue planet in the Milky Way. It's smaller than Earth but a bit bigger than Mars. The Moon seems to be shrinking. Earth's natural satellite is now 150 ft smaller than it used to be
hundreds of millions of years ago. The reason for this phenomenon might be the cooling of the Moon's insides. It could also explain the quakes shaking the surface of our planet's natural satellite. Astronomers have recently found out that Mars is seismically active! Marsquakes occur there regularly. Scientists often discover strange things in space. Many of them look like blurry blobs. But there's one type of these "blobs" that doesn't look like any other known space body. The Odd Radio Circles are only visible in radio telescopes. They aren't the remains of supernovae or a bizarre optical effect. Some astronomers go as far as to claim they might be the throats
of wormholes. Those are hypothetical tunnels between black holes. "Fast radio bursts" are blindingly bright bursts of radio waves. They pack as much energy as our Sun produces in days but last for mere milliseconds. Most of these fast radio bursts came from far, far beyond the Milky Way. But recently, astronomers have detected some originating in our home galaxy. And their source was a magnetar just 30,000 light-years away from our planet! Any liquid floating in outer space forms itself into a sphere. This phenomenon also occurs in low Earth orbit.
Not so long ago, scientists discovered that one of the most massive stars in the neighborhood just... disappeared! It was a star 75 million light-years away from Earth. Normally, it'd be too far away for astronomers to clearly see individual stars. But only unless they're huge! And the star we're talking about was enormous. It was shining 2.5 million times brighter than the Sun! Astronomers saw the star for the last time in 2011. They decided to examine it more closely several years later, but it was already too late. The star had vanished! Such massive stars usually go out in an extremely bright supernova. But astronomers noticed nothing like that in this case. There's a theory that the star collapsed into a black hole without triggering a supernova first. It does occur among stars approaching the end of their lives – but very rarely.
In billions of years, the Universe is likely to expand so much that we won't be able to see any stars in the sky. All planets in the Solar System emit radio waves. They're especially strong if we talk about Jupiter. This planet has the biggest and most powerful magnetic field. But astronomers couldn't detect any radio waves coming from a planet outside the Solar System. That is, until 2020. The signal scientists recorded came from a gas giant Tau Boötis. It's 51 light-years away from our planet. Thanks to this signal, astronomers managed to find out a bit about the planet's magnetic field.
And in the future, this will help to learn more about what's happening in the planet's atmosphere. Dwarf planet Haumea is further from Earth than Neptune. It's orbiting in the KuiperBelt. That's a donut-shaped ring of ice objects circling the Sun. Elongated Haumea has two moons. A day on this dwarf planet lasts 4 Earth hours. All in all, this space body is rather bizarre. It's surrounded by thin rings that likely appeared as the result of an ancient collision.
A star in the galaxy GSN 069 is likely to turn into a planet the size of Jupiter in the next trillion years. It might happen because of the star's regular encounters with a black hole! First, astronomers noticed unusual X-ray bursts that were strangely bright. They went off every 9 hours. After studying this phenomenon for some time, the scientists realized it was a star moving in a unique orbit around a black hole. The dazzling flashes? it was the material getting slurped off the star's surface by the black hole. It turned out that over millions of years, the black hole had already transformed the red giant into a white dwarf. And the process isn't going to stop whatsoever.
Astronomers have found some traces of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. This gas, colorless and flammable, is often found where microbes live on our planet. No wonder a new theory suggests there might be life on Venus. But even if there was some life on "the Evening Star," it could have only appeared in its atmosphere. Probably no living organism would be able to survive the planet's extreme environment. Venus's surface is extremely dry.
There's no liquid water on the planet. And the pressure there is 90 times greater than that on Earth's surface. The temperatures often rise higher than 900˚F. That hot enough to melt some metals.