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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.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hubble traces the halo of a galaxy more accurately than ever before

There is more to a galaxy than first meets the eye. Extending far beyond the bright glow of a galaxy’s center, the swirling spiral arms, or the elliptical fuzz is an extra component — a dim halo of stars sprawling into space. These expan...

Transiting exoplanet with longest known year

Astronomers have discovered a transiting exoplanet with the longest known year. Kepler-421b circles its star once every 704 days. In comparison, Mars orbits our Sun once every 780 days. Most of the 1,800-plus exoplanets discovered to date are much cl...
Monday, July 21, 2014

Fingerprinting the formation of giant planets

A team of Brazilian and American astronomers used the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) observations of the system 16 Cygni to discover evidence of how giant planets like Jupiter form. One of the main models to form giant planets is called &ldqu...

Project yields sharpest map of Mars surface properties

A heat-sensing camera designed at Arizona State University (ASU) has provided data to create the most detailed global map yet made of martian surface properties. The map uses data from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS), a nine-band visual...
Friday, July 18, 2014

Peering into giant planets from in and out of this world

Lawrence Livermore scientists for the first time have experimentally re-created the conditions that exist deep inside giant planets, such as Jupiter, Uranus, and many of the planets recently discovered outside our solar system. Researchers can now r...
Thursday, July 17, 2014

The twofold comet: Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

As the European Space Agency’s (ESA) spacecraft Rosetta is slowly approaching its destination, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is again proving to be full of surprises. New images obtained by OSIRIS, the onboard scientific imaging system, confi...

Asteroid Vesta to reshape theories of planet formation

Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) researchers have a better understanding of the asteroid Vesta and its internal structure, thanks to numerical simulations and data from the space mission Dawn. Their findings question contemporary model...
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Comet ISON’s final hours

On November 28 of last year, thousands of people worldwide watched Comet ISON’s fiery ride past the Sun. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) have now reconstructed the comet’s activity during its final ...

Curiosity finds iron meteorite on Mars

This rock encountered by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is an iron meteorite called "Lebanon," similar in shape and luster to iron meteorites found on Mars by the previous generation of rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Lebanon is about 2 yards (2 meters)...
Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Silhouettes of early galaxies reveal few seeds for new stars

An international team of astronomers has discovered that gas around young galaxies is almost barren, devoid of the seeds from which new stars are thought to form — molecules of hydrogen. Without starlight to see them directly, the team, which ...

Out of an hours-long explosion, a stand-in for the first stars

Astronomers analyzing a long-lasting blast of high-energy light observed in 2013 report finding features strikingly similar to those expected from an explosion from the universe’s earliest stars. If this interpretation is correct, the outburst ...
Monday, July 14, 2014

NASA spacecraft observes further evidence of dry ice gullies on Mars

The gullies on Mars’ surface are primarily formed by the seasonal freezing of carbon dioxide, not liquid water as indicated by repeated high-resolution observations made by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The first reports of ...

Sun-like stars reveal their ages

Defining what makes a star “Sun-like” is as difficult as defining what makes a planet “Earth-like.” A solar twin should have a temperature, mass, and spectral type similar to our Sun. We also would expect it to be about 4.5 bi...
Friday, July 11, 2014

Brief pulse detected by Arecibo telescope appears to come from far beyond our galaxy

The discovery of a split-second burst of radio waves by scientists using the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico provides important new evidence of mysterious pulses that appear to come from deep outer space. The finding by an international team ...

Hubble sees spiral bridge of young stars between two ancient galaxies

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has photographed an unusual structure 100,000 light-years long that resembles a corkscrew-shaped string of pearls and winds around the cores of two colliding galaxies. The unique structure of the star spiral may y...
Thursday, July 10, 2014

Carbon monoxide predicts “red and dead” future of gas-guzzler galaxy

Astronomers have studied the carbon monoxide in a galaxy over 12 billion light-years from Earth and discovered that it’s running out of gas, quite literally, and headed for a “red and dead” future. The galaxy, known as ALESS65, was...

The Very Large Telescope clears up dusty mystery

A group of astronomers has been able to follow stardust being made in real time — during the aftermath of a supernova explosion. For the first time, they show that these cosmic dust factories make their grains in a two-stage process, starting s...
Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Astronomers bring the third dimension to a doomed star's outburst

In the middle of the 19th century, the massive binary system Eta Carinae underwent an eruption that ejected at least 10 times the Sun's mass and made it the second-brightest star in the sky. Now, a team of astronomers has used extensive new observati...

Laboratory models suggest that stretching forces shaped Jupiter moon’s surface

Processes that shaped the ridges and troughs on the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Ganymede are likely similar to tectonic processes seen on Earth, according to a team of researchers led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Tex...
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