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News

Your online destination for news articles on planets, cosmology, NASA, space missions, and more. You’ll also find information on how to observe upcoming visible sky events such as meteor showers, solar and lunar eclipses, key planetary appearances, comets, and asteroids.

Friday, August 29, 2014

NASA's Spitzer telescope witnesses asteroid smashup

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the formation of planets. Scientists had been regularly track...
Thursday, August 28, 2014

NASA completes key review of world’s most powerful rocket in support of journey to Mars

NASA officials Wednesday announced they have completed a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS) — the heavy-lift, exploration-class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars — and approved the progra...

Radio telescopes settle controversy over distance to Pleiades

Astronomers have used a worldwide network of radio telescopes to resolve a controversy over the distance to a famous star cluster — a controversy that posed a potential challenge to scientists’ basic understanding of how stars form and ev...

Telescopes uncover early construction of giant galaxy

Astronomers have for the first time caught a glimpse of the earliest stages of massive galaxy construction. The building site, dubbed “Sparky,” is a dense galactic core blazing with the light of millions of newborn stars that are forming ...
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Detecting neutrinos, physicists look into the heart of the Sun

Using one of the most sensitive neutrino detectors on the planet, an international team of physicists, including Andrea Pocar, Laura Cadonati, and Keith Otis at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, report that for the first time they have direct...

Eta Carinae: our neighboring superstars

The Eta Carinae star system does not lack for superlatives. Not only does it contain one of the biggest and brightest stars in our galaxy, weighing at least 90 times the mass of the Sun, it also is extremely volatile and is expected to have at least ...
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Best view yet of merging galaxies in distant universe

An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), among other telescopes, has obtained the best view yet of a collision between two galaxies when the univ...

New Horizons spacecraft crosses Neptune orbit en route to historic Pluto encounter

NASA’s Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft has traversed the orbit of Neptune. This is its last major crossing en route to becoming the first probe to make a close encounter with distant Pluto on July 14, 2015. The sophisticated piano-sized sp...
Monday, August 25, 2014

Rosetta: Landing site search narrows

Using detailed information collected by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft during its first two weeks at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, five locations have been identified as candidate sites to set down the Philae lander in ...
Friday, August 22, 2014

Voyager map details Neptune’s strange moon Triton

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first close-up glimpse of Neptune and its moon Triton in the summer of 1989. Like an old film, Voyager's historic footage of Triton has been restored and used to construct the best-ever global color map o...
Thursday, August 21, 2014

A chemical signature of first generation of massive stars

A team of astronomers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the Konan University and the University of Hyogo in Japan, the University of Notre Dame, and New Mexico State University has used the 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope’s...
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A spectacular landscape of star formation

This image, captured by the Wide Field Imager at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile, shows two dramatic star formation regions in the southern Milky Way. The first of these, on the left, is dominated by the ...

First LOFAR observations of the Whirlpool Galaxy

Using a radio telescope with frequencies just above those of commercial FM radio stations, a European team of astronomers has obtained the most sensitive image of a galaxy below 1 gigahertz. The team viewed the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), about 30 milli...
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dark Energy Survey kicks off second season cataloging the wonders of deep space

On August 15, with its successful first season behind it, the Dark Energy Survey (DES) collaboration began its second year of mapping the southern sky in unprecedented detail. Using the Dark Energy Camera, a 570-megapixel imaging device built by the ...
Monday, August 18, 2014

Fascinating rhythm: light pulses illuminate a rare black hole

The universe has so many black holes that it’s impossible to count them all. There may be 100 million of these intriguing astral objects in our galaxy alone. Nearly all black holes fall into one of two classes: big or colossal. Astronomers know...

As seen by Rosetta: comet surface variations

A new image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows the diversity of surface structures on the comet's nucleus. It was taken by the Rosetta spacecraft's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on August 7, 2014. At the time, the spacecraft was 65 miles (104km) a...
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