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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.

Friday, April 17, 2015

NASA’s New Horizons nears historic encounter with Pluto

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is three months from returning to humanity the first-ever close-up images and scientific observations of distant Pluto and its system of large and small moons. "Scientific literature is filled with papers on the charac...

Dawn glimpses Ceres’ north pole

After spending more than a month in orbit on the dark side of dwarf planet Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft has captured several views of the sunlit north pole of this intriguing world. These images were taken April 10 from a distance of 21,000 miles (3...
Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spitzer, Ogle spot planet deep within our galaxy

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has teamed up with a telescope on the ground to find a remote gas planet about 13,000 light-years away, making it one of the most distant planets known. The discovery demonstrates that Spitzer — from its unique p...

Giant galaxies die from the inside out

Astronomers have shown for the first time how star formation in "dead" galaxies sputtered out billions of years ago. The European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have revealed that...
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rosetta and Philae find comet not magnetized

Studying the properties of a comet can provide clues to the role that magnetic fields played in the formation of solar system bodies almost 4.6 billion years ago. The infant solar system was once nothing more than a swirling disk of gas and dust but,...

Dark matter may not be completely dark after all

For the first time, dark matter may have been observed interacting with other dark matter in a way other than through the force of gravity. Observations of colliding galaxies made with the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telesc...
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

NASA-funded study explains Saturn’s epic tantrums

The long-standing mystery of why Saturn seethes with enormous storms every 30 years may have been solved by scientists working with data from NASA’s Cassini mission. The tempests, which can grow into bright bands that encircle the entire planet...

Mars rover’s weather data bolster case for brine

Martian weather and soil conditions that NASA’s Curiosity rover has measured, together with a type of salt found in martian soil, could put liquid brine in the soil at night. Perchlorate identified in martian soil by the Curiosity mission, and...
Monday, April 13, 2015

Mars has belts of glaciers consisting of frozen water

Mars has distinct polar ice caps, but the Red Planet also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as surface of the ground, but radar meas...

Dawn’s Ceres color map reveals surface diversity

A new color map of dwarf planet Ceres, which NASA's Dawn spacecraft has been orbiting since March, reveals the diversity of the surface of this planetary body. Differences in morphology and color across the surface suggest Ceres was once an active bo...
Friday, April 10, 2015

Our Sun came late to the Milky Way's star birth party

In one of the most comprehensive multi-observatory galaxy surveys yet, astronomers find that galaxies like our Milky Way underwent a stellar “baby boom,” churning out stars at a prodigious rate, about 30 times faster than today. Our Sun, ...
Thursday, April 09, 2015

A new view of the Moon's formation

Within the first 150 million years after our solar system formed, a giant body roughly the size of Mars struck and merged with Earth, blasting a huge cloud of rock and debris into space. This cloud would eventually coalesce and form the Moon. For a...
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Sun experiences seasonal changes, new research finds

The Sun undergoes a type of seasonal variability with its activity waxing and waning over the course of nearly two years, according to a new study by a team of researchers led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). This behavior affe...

Complex organic molecules discovered in infant star system

For the first time, astronomers have detected the presence of complex organic molecules, the building blocks of life, in a protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star, indicating that the conditions that spawned our Earth and Sun are not unique in t...
Tuesday, April 07, 2015

ALMA disentangles complex birth of giant stars

Overview A research group led by Aya Higuchi from Ibaraki University, conducted observations of the massive star-forming region IRAS 16547-4247 with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The observation results show the presence of...

ALMA sees Einstein ring in stunning image of lensed galaxy

Astronomers have discovered that a distant galaxy — seen from Earth with the aid of a gravitational lens — appears like a cosmic ring, thanks to the highest resolution images ever taken with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Arra...
Monday, April 06, 2015

Supernova crime scene blames a single white dwarf

Using archival data from the Japan-led Suzaku X-ray satellite, astronomers have determined the pre-explosion mass of a white dwarf star that blew up thousands of years ago. The measurement strongly suggests the explosion involved only a single white ...

Curiosity sniffs out history of martian atmosphere

NASA's Curiosity rover is using a new experiment to better understand the history of the martian atmosphere by analyzing xenon. While NASA's Curiosity rover concluded its detailed examination of the rock layers of the "Pahrump Hills" in Gale Crater ...
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