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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, April 18, 2014

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

Ground controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, have confirmed that NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface of the Moon, as planned, on April 17. LADEE...

Mars orbiter spies rover near martian butte

Scientists using NASA's Curiosity Mars rover are eyeing a rock layer surrounding the base of a small butte, called "Mount Remarkable," as a target for investigating with tools on the rover's robotic arm. The rover works near this butte in an image t...
Thursday, April 17, 2014

First discovery of an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone

For the first time, an Earth-sized planet has been found in the habitable zone of its star. This discovery not only proves the existence of worlds that might be similar to our own, but also will undoubtedly shape future investigations of exoplanets t...

Hubble captures a cross-section of the universe

An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range from cosmic near neighbors to objects seen in ...
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A study in scarlet

This new image from the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that ...

New study outlines "water world" theory of life's origins

Life took root more than 4 billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed into slime molds, frogs, elephants, humans, and the r...
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken with Cassini’s nar...

Beauty from chaos on Mars

Beautiful streamlined islands and narrow gorges were carved by fast-flowing water pounding through a small plateau region near the southeastern margin of the vast Vallis Marineris canyon system. Images captured December 7, 2013, by the European Spac...
Monday, April 14, 2014

Smallest speed jump of pulsar caused by billions of superfluid vortices

A team of astronomers, including Danai Antonopoulou and Anna Watts from the University of Amsterdam (Uva), has discovered that sudden speed jumps in the rotational velocity of pulsars have a minimum size and that they are caused not by the unpinning ...

Hubble stretches stellar tape measure 10 times farther into space

Even though NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is 24 years old, astronomers are still coming up with imaginative, novel, and groundbreaking new uses for it. The latest is an innovative technique that improves Hubble’s observing accuracy to the...
Friday, April 11, 2014

Supernova cleans up its surroundings

Supernovas are the spectacular ends to the lives of many massive stars. These explosions, which occur on average twice a century in the Milky Way, can produce enormous amounts of energy and be as bright as an entire galaxy. These events are also impo...

Faraway moon or faint star? Possible exomoon found

Titan, Europa, Io, and Phobos are just a few members of our solar system’s pantheon of moons. Are there other moons out there orbiting planets beyond our Sun? NASA-funded researchers have spotted the first signs of an “exomoon,” an...
Thursday, April 10, 2014

Finding the “recipe for star formation”

Astronomers have found a new way of predicting the rate at which a molecular cloud — a stellar nursery — will form new stars. Using a novel technique to reconstruct a cloud’s 3-D structure, astronomers can estimate how many new star...

Gusev Crater once held a lake after all, says Mars scientist

If desert mirages occur on Mars, “Lake Gusev” belongs among them. This come-and-go body of ancient water has come and gone more than once, at least in the eyes of Mars scientists. Now, however, it’s finally shifting into sharper fo...
Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Images from NASA Mars Curiosity rover include bright spots

Images taken by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on April 2–3 include bright spots, which might be due to the Sun glinting off a rock or cosmic rays striking the camera's detector. The rover took the image just after arriving at a waypoint called "...

Chance alignment produces beautiful image

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have captured this eye-catching image of planetary nebula PN A66 33 (Abell 33). Created when an aging star blew off its outer layers, this beautiful...
Monday, April 07, 2014

BOSS makes the most precise measurement yet of the universe's expansion

The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), the largest component of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III), pioneered the use of quasars to map density variations in intergalactic gas at high redshifts, tracing the structure of the yo...

NASA satellite to continue gathering data up to planned lunar impact

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft is gradually lowering its orbital altitude to continue making science observations prior to its planned impact on the Moon’s surface on or before April 21. Ground control...
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