There are lots of hints regarding the possibility of the existence of liquid water around the solar, system, the galaxy, and the universe, but confirmation at only a very few places: Mars and the moon for example. Astronomers using Keck telescopes at Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii now confirm the existence of liquid water at Jupiter’s moon Europa.
Under Europa’s ice crust, there could be a subsurface ocean containing as much as twice the amount of water as Earth’s oceans. These newest observations directly detected water vapor (5200 lbs or 650 gallons) issuing from fissures in Europa’s ice-crusted surface. Researchers have been speculating about water on Europa since 1993.
The galaxy NGC 6240 is shown to contain three supermassive black holes at its core. This indicates a triple collision of galaxies back in the dark past of the universe. Each black hole appears to measure 90 million solar masses, in a space 3,000 light years wide. Wolfram Kolatschny at the University of Göttingen says this observation indicates the possibility that the largest galaxies with supermassive black holes could evolve much faster than originally proposed. Data was collected from the triple-collision galaxy (some 300 million light years away), and indicates the galaxies are still merging, possibly 14 billion years later. This is the first time a triple galactic collision has been identified.
Japanese astronomers Wada and Kokoba suggest that planets might also form in vast dense dust rings around supermassive black holes at galactic cores. Their calculations show that thousands of planets might form at a distance of 10 light years from the black holes where forces are stable enough for the typical planet formation processes to function. Think about it: in a proto-planetary circumstellar disk, planets form from dense clouds of material rotating around the disk’s central mass component. There’s no way to detect such planets yet, if they exist, but it does suggest new regions to target in the search for extra-terrestrial planets.
The sun sets at 4:35pm through December 10th. We have to wait until early January for the latest sunrise.