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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.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The strange chemistry that creates ‘impossible’ clouds on Titan

Strange chemistry may explain a seemingly impossible cloud in Titan’s upper atmosphere. Scientists looking through Cassini’s 2010 data recently noticed something strange in an infrared snapshot of Titan’s stratosphere: a wide, thin,...
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

This is where space blobs come from

A combination of observation and modelling sheds new light on how Lyman-Alpha blobs form and why they shine so brightly. Lyman-Alpha blobs are among the rarest denizens of the distant universe. They’re giant clouds of hydrogen gas spanning hund...

ESA releases striking new photos from Comet 67P

ESA has released a series of vivid images taken by its Rosetta probe of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko to the public. Rosetta is will be ending its mission on September 30 with a controlled crash onto the comet. There it will join Philae, the probe&...
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Researchers now know why some minor planets have rings

A team of researchers has discovered what causes the rings around two centaurs, minor planets that orbit the Sun between Jupiter and Neptune. The researchers used computer simulations to test what caused the rings, using factors such as tidal pull,...
Monday, September 19, 2016

Mathematical Model Explains Pluto’s Frozen Heart

Now we know why there’s a glacier deep in Pluto’s frozen heart. The 2.5 mile-deep, 650-mile wide slab of nitrogen ice covers the Sputnik Planum region of Pluto’s northern hemisphere. A new numerical model explains how the glacier, a...

Celestial navigation is returning to the Naval Academy cirriculum

The Navy is once again teaching celestial navigation as a back up in case GPS systems become unusable. Celestial navigation, sometimes referred to as astronavigation, is a way for a navigator to use celestial bodies and angular measurements to know ...
Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cosmic microwaves show reionization happened later than thought

New analysis of data taken by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Planck spacecraft of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) has revealed that the “epoch of reionization” occurred much later than previously thought. The universe was ...
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

'It's Just Too Perfect': Inside the First Gravitiational Wave Detection

A year ago today, a select group of scientists became the first people on the planet to learn that, after a century of theory and experiments, Albert Einstein was right all along. Researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observator...

Can the moon make an earthquake worse?

When an earthquake occurs, it represents the release of years, sometimes decades or centuries, of pent-up stress. Somewhere along the fault line, a section of rock can take the strain no longer and gives way, allowing a tectonic plate to jerk into mo...

Charon is flecked with a smudgy layer of Pluto's atmosphere

When NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent back the first high-resolution images of Pluto and its moon Charon, scientists quickly realized the outer solar system was more active than they’d previously thought. The first images of Charon rev...
Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A star is evolving on a timescale we can see

It’s hard to watch stars evolve. Take our Sun, for example; it’s been a big, hot orb for pretty much all of human history. Star SAO 244567 in the Stingray Nebula continues to prove that some old stars can quick face-lifts, and aren’...

The Moon may be obliterated pieces of Earth reformed

Our moon has a violent past that just got a little more fearsome. Planetary formation is not for the weak of heart. Building a planet from countless grains of dust and tendrils of gas is a violent process of colliding, coalescing, and melting into bi...
Monday, September 12, 2016

Jeff Bezos debuted a massive rocket plan to take Blue Origin into deep space

Blue Origin on Monday announced it’s adding a bigger, badder addition to its future stable of reusable rocket boosters. The spacecraft, dubbed the New Glenn, is designed to provide the lift for missions into low Earth orbit and beyond, and come...

Hundreds of black holes congregate surprisingly peacefully in a Milky Way star cluster

Black holes get along with each other better than expected. A team at the University of Surrey found hundreds of black holes in a large globular cluster of stars, when previously it was thought that they’d eject each other. According to comput...

Curiosity captures a snapshot of Mars' past

Curiosity, NASA’s rover currently exploring Mars, captured images on Thursday, September 8 of layered rock formations in the “Murray Buttes” region of Mount Sharp. The images, which were taken by Curiosity’s Mastcam, show the...
Friday, September 09, 2016

After a successful launch, OSIRIS-REx is headed for an asteroid encounter

Smoke and fire covered the ground as the NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission launched into space. Blasting out of Earth’s orbit on Thursday, September 8, the mission begins its two-year journey to sample an asteroid. It will be seven long years bef...

Astronomers find fossil stars from the beginning of the galaxy

Toward in our galaxy’s center lies Terzan 5, a celestial object shrouded in mystery. For decades, astronomers thought this conglomeration was a globular cluster of a million stars that all formed around the same time. Research published in 2009...
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