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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.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Neutron stars strike back at black holes in jet contest

Some neutron stars may rival black holes in their ability to accelerate powerful jets of material to nearly the speed of light, astronomers using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) have discovered. “It’s surprising, and it tells u...

Ghostly remnants of galaxy interactions uncovered in nearby galaxy group

Astronomers using the Subaru Telescope’s Hyper Suprime-Cam prime-focus camera recently observed the nearby large spiral galaxy M81, together with its two brightest neighbors, M82 and NGC 3077. The results of their observations are deep, super-w...
Monday, August 03, 2015

Stars in our galaxy move far from home

When it comes to our galaxy, home is where the star is. Scientists with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) have created a new map of the Milky Way and determined that 30 percent of stars have dramatically changed their orbits. This discovery brings...

Hubble captures stormy seas in Sagittarius

Some of the most breathtaking views in the universe are created by nebulae — hot glowing clouds of gas. This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the center of the Lagoon Nebula, an object with a deceptively tranquil name. The region...
Friday, July 31, 2015

Philae lander finds ingredients for life

Complex molecules that could be key building blocks of life, the daily rise and fall of temperature, and an assessment of the surface properties and internal structure of the comet are just some of the highlights of the first scientific analysis of t...

Telescopes team up to find distant Uranus-sized planet through microlensing

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii have made independent confirmations of an exoplanet orbiting far from its central star. The planet was discovered through a technique called gravitational microlensing. Thi...
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Spitzer confirms closest rocky exoplanet

Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have confirmed the discovery of the nearest rocky planet outside our solar system, larger than Earth and a potential gold mine of science data. Dubbed HD 219134b, this exoplanet, which orbits t...

Unusual red arcs spotted on Saturn’s icy moon Tethys

Like graffiti sprayed by an unknown artist, unexplained arc-shaped, reddish streaks are visible on the surface of Saturn’s icy moon Tethys in new enhanced-color images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The red arcs are narrow, curved lines...
Wednesday, July 29, 2015

First detection of lithium from an exploding star

The chemical element lithium has been found for the first time in material ejected by a nova. Observations of Nova Centauri 2013 made using telescopes at the La Silla Observatory in Santiago, Chile, help to explain the mystery of why many young stars...

Astronomers discover powerful aurora beyond solar system

Astronomers have discovered the first aurora ever seen in an object beyond our solar system. The aurora — similar to the famous “Northern Lights” on Earth — is 10,000 times more powerful than any previously seen. They found th...
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ceres gets new maps, new names

Colorful new maps of Ceres, based on data from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, showcase a diverse topography, with height differences between crater bottoms and mountain peaks as great as 9 miles (15 kilometers). Scientists continue to analyze the lat...

Dense galaxies hiding in plain sight

Two undergraduates at San José State University have discovered two galaxies that are the densest known. Similar to ordinary globular star clusters but a hundred to a thousand times brighter, the new systems have properties intermediate in siz...
Monday, July 27, 2015

New Hubble image shows cosmic wind creating "Pillars of Destruction"

Astronomers have long known that powerful cosmic winds can sometimes blow through galaxies, sweeping out interstellar material and stopping future star formation. Now they have a clearer snapshot of how it happens. A Yale University analysis of one ...

Fossil star clusters reveal their age

Using a new age-dating method and the W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, an international team of astronomers have determined that ancient star clusters formed in two distinct epochs — the first 12.5 billion years ago and the second 11.5 billi...
Friday, July 24, 2015

New Horizons team finds haze, flowing ice on Pluto

Flowing ice and a surprising extended haze are among the newest discoveries from NASA’s New Horizons mission, which reveal distant Pluto to be an icy world of wonders. “We knew that a mission to Pluto would bring some surprises, and now &...

Brown dwarfs, stars share formation process, new study indicates

Astronomers using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) have discovered jets of material ejected by still-forming young brown dwarfs. The discovery is the first direct evidence that brown dwarfs, intermediate in mass between stars and planets, ar...
Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pulsar punches hole in stellar disk

A fast-moving pulsar appears to have punched a hole in a disk of gas around its companion star and launched a fragment of the disk outward at a speed of about 4 million mph (6.4 million km/h). NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is tracking this c...

Kepler mission discovered bigger, older cousin to Earth

NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-sized planet in the “habitable zone” around a Sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the...
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

ALMA witnesses assembly of galaxies in the early universe for the first time

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has been used to detect the most distant clouds of star-forming gas yet found in normal galaxies in the early universe. The new observations allow astronomers to start to see how the first galax...

New Horizons finds second mountain range in Pluto’s “heart”

A newly discovered mountain range lies near the southwestern margin of Pluto’s Tombaugh Regio (Tombaugh Region), situated between bright icy plains and dark heavily cratered terrain. This image was acquired by New Horizons’ Long Range Rec...


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