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Scientific American

Using data from the James Webb Space Telescope, postdoc Rohan Naidu and his colleagues discovered a candidate galaxy in the early universe that is one of two candidate galaxies older than any others known before, reports Jonathan O'Callaghan for Scientific American.

CNN

CNN’s Ashley Strickland highlights a study by MIT researchers finding that a mysterious flash of light was caused by a black hole jet pointing directly at Earth. The researchers determined that the flash of light was “100 times more powerful than the most powerful gamma-ray burst afterglow,” explains research scientist Dheeraj “DJ” Pasham.

Reuters

Astronomers from MIT and other institutions have found that the source of a big flash of light observed in February 2021 was a black hole jet pointing directly towards Earth, reports Will Dunham for Reuters. "At its peak, the source appeared brighter than 1,000 trillion suns," explains research scientist Dheeraj “DJ” Pasham.

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Travis Andersen writes that researchers from MIT and other institutions have found that a huge bright flash in the sky initially observed earlier this year was a black hole jet pointing straight towards Earth. “Researchers believe the jet is a product of a black hole that suddenly began consuming a nearby star, releasing a large amount of energy in the process,” writes Andersen. “The flash was detected at some 8.5 billion lights years away, or more than halfway across the universe.”

Gizmodo

A mysterious bright light detected in February has been identified as a black hole consuming a nearby star by researchers at MIT and elsewhere, reports Isaac Schultz for Gizmodo. “This particular event was 100 times more powerful than the most powerful gamma-ray burst afterglow,” says research scientist Dheeraj “DJ” Pasham. “It was something extraordinary.”

Newsweek

Researchers from MIT and elsewhere have found that the source of a mysterious flash of light was a black hole jet pointed at Earth, reports Aristos Georgiou for Newsweek. “The study suggests that the jet was produced when this distant black hole began devouring a nearby star that had strayed too close,” writes Georgiou. “As the black hole fed on the material of the star, it ejected a stream of particles traveling at close to the speed of light in the form of a jet, which appears to be pointed directly at our planet.”

Popular Science

Scientists from around the world, including researchers at MIT, have found evidence of past chemical reactions between liquid water and carbon-compounds on Mars, reports Laura Baisas for Popular Science. “We believe we have found these kinds of liquid water environments and organic compounds together. That’s sort of the limit to how we can describe what we call habitability,” explains postdoc Eva Linghan Scheller.

The Washington Post

A team of scientists, including researchers from MIT, have found that Martian rocks uncovered by NASA’s Perseverance contain “signs of a watery past and are loaded with the kind of organic molecules that are the foundations for life as we know it,” reports Joel Achenbach for The Washington Post. “On balance, we are actually super lucky that there are igneous rocks in the crater, and that we happened to land right on them, since they are ideal for determining ages and studying the past history of Mars’ magnetic field,” says Prof. Benjamin Weiss.

VICE

NASA’s Perseverance rover has uncovered evidence of habitable conditions that once existed on Mars, reports Becky Ferreira for Vice. “In that kind of environment, we’re seeing very, very strange chemistry which is not common on Earth at all, but seems to be more common on Mars because we’ve seen these kinds of materials in almost all the missions now,” says postdoctoral fellow Eva Scheller.

The Washington Post

Researchers at MIT and Stanford have developed a new tool that can better map the inside of an asteroid that risks crashing into earth, writes Pranshu Verma for The Washington Post. “Understanding the interior," said Prof. Julian De Witt, "helps us understand the extent to which close encounters could be of concern, and how to deal with them.”

Axios

A new tool developed by researchers at MIT and Stanford could help map out the interior of asteroids, reports Alison Synder and Miriam Kramer for Axios. This could make “it easier to know the most effective way of throwing them off-course,” writes Synder and Kramer.

Reuters

Researchers at MIT co-authored a study which found that two stars in a binary system 3,000 light years from Earth are orbiting each other so closely that one of the stars has burnt out, reports Will Dunham for Reuters. "Basically, they were bound together for 8 billion years in a binary orbit,” says postdoc Kevin Burdge, “And now, right before the second one could end its stellar life cycle and become a white dwarf in the way that stars normally do - by evolving into a type of star called a red giant - the leftover white dwarf remnant of the first star interrupted the end of the companion's lifecycle and started slowly consuming it."

The Atlantic

Prof. Jack Wisdom and his colleagues have found that Saturn’s rings are comprised of debris from its former moon, reports Marina Koren for The Atlantic. “The researchers say the moon’s demise was mostly Titan’s fault. The big moon jostled the smaller one, putting the object on a very elongated track around Saturn,” writes Koren.

Forbes

Prof. Jack Wisdom and his colleagues have found that “Saturn’s rings are a result of a moon that was torn apart by the planet’s tidal forces about 160 million years ago,” reports Jamie Carter for Forbes. “Wisdom and his co-researchers have dubbed the moon Chrysalis after the process of Chrysalis transforming into a butterfly,” writes Carter.

Reuters

Reuters reporter Will Dunham writes that scientists from MIT and other institutions have found that the destruction of a large moon, called Chrysalis, that “strayed too close to Saturn would account both for the birth of the gas giant planet's magnificent rings and its unusual orbital tilt of about 27 degrees.” Prof. Jack Wisdom explained that "as a butterfly emerges from a chrysalis, the rings of Saturn emerged from the primordial satellite Chrysalis.”