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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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A colorful gathering of middle-aged stars

The MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile has captured a richly colorful view of the bright star cluster NGC 3532. Some of the stars still shine with a hot bluish color, but many ...

“Eye of Sauron” provides new way of measuring distances to galaxies

A team of scientists led by Sebastian Hoenig from the University of Southampton in England has accurately measured the distance to the nearby NGC 4151 galaxy, using the W. M. Keck Observatory Interferometer. The team employed a new technique they dev...
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Studying the complex aftermath of a supernova

A supernova that signals the death of a massive star sends titanic shock waves rumbling through interstellar space. An ultra-dense neutron star is usually left behind, which is far from dead, as it spews out a blizzard of high-energy particles. Two n...
Monday, November 24, 2014

Subaru Telescope detects sudden appearance of galaxies in the early universe

A team of astronomers using the Subaru Telescope’s Suprime-Cam to perform the Subaru Ultra-Deep Survey for Lyman-alpha Emitters have looked back more than 13 billion years to find seven early galaxies that appeared quite suddenly within 700 mil...

NASA issues “remastered” view of Jupiter’s moon Europa

Scientists have produced a new version of what is perhaps NASA’s best view of Jupiter’s ice-covered moon, Europa. The mosaic of color images was obtained in the late 1990s by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. This is the first time that NA...
Friday, November 21, 2014

Second time through, Mars Curiosity rover examines chosen rocks

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has completed a reconnaissance "walkabout" of the first outcrop it reached at the base of the mission's destination mountain and has begun a second pass examining selected rocks in the outcrop in more detail. Exposed laye...

Gravity may have saved the universe after the Big Bang

New research by a team of European physicists could explain why the universe did not collapse immediately after the Big Bang. Studies of the Higgs particle — discovered at CERN in 2012 and responsible for giving mass to all particles — h...
Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hubble observations cast further doubt on how globular clusters formed

Thanks to the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, some of the most mysterious cosmic residents have just become even more puzzling. New observations of globular clusters in a small galaxy show they are very similar to those found in the Milky Way, and s...

Swift mission probes an exotic object

An international team of researchers analyzing decades of observations from many facilities, including NASA's Swift satellite, has discovered an unusual source of light in a galaxy some 90 million light-years away. The object's curious properties ma...
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spooky alignment of quasars across billions of light-years

New observations with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have revealed alignments of the largest structures ever discovered in the universe. A European research team has found that the rotation axes of the c...

Mars has macroweather too

Weather, which changes day to day due to constant fluctuations in the atmosphere, and climate, which varies over decades, is familiar. More recently, a third regime, called “macroweather,” has been used to describe the relatively stable r...
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Geologic maps of Vesta from the Dawn mission published

Images from NASA’s Dawn mission have been used to create a series of high-resolution geological maps of the large asteroid Vesta, revealing the variety of surface features in unprecedented detail. Geological mapping is a technique used to deri...

Rosetta's Philae finds hard ice and organic molecules

Before going into hibernation at 0h36m UT November 15, the Philae lander was able to conduct some work using power supplied by its primary battery. With its 10 instruments, the mini laboratory sniffed the atmosphere, drilled, hammered and studied Com...
Monday, November 17, 2014

Pioneering Philae completes main mission before hibernation

Rosetta’s lander has completed its primary science mission after nearly 57 hours on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. After being out of communication visibility with the European Space Agency (ESA) lander since for just over 12 hours Fri...

First observations of the surfaces of objects from the Oort Cloud

Astronomers have discovered two unusual objects in comet-like orbits that originate in the Oort Cloud but with almost no activity, giving scientists a first look at their surfaces. These results are particularly intriguing because the surfaces are di...

New map shows frequency of small asteroid impacts

A map released by NASA’s Near Earth Object (NEO) Program reveals that small asteroids frequently enter and disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere with random distribution around the globe. Released to the scientific community, the map visuali...
Friday, November 14, 2014

The party’s over for these youthful compact galaxies

Researchers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory have uncovered young, massive, compact galaxies whose raucous star-making parties are ending early. The firestorm of star birth has blasted out most of the remaining ...

Magnetic fields frozen into meteorite grains tell shocking tale of solar system birth

The most accurate laboratory measurements yet made of magnetic fields trapped in grains within a primitive meteorite are providing important clues to how the early solar system evolved. The measurements point to shock waves traveling through the clou...

X-ray telescopes find black hole may be a neutrino factory

The giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way may be producing mysterious particles called neutrinos. If confirmed, this would be the first time that scientists have traced neutrinos back to a black hole. The evidence for this came from three ...

Philae continues to work as battery power dwindles

UPDATE [4:35 p.m. CST]: Philae reestablished connection with Rosetta and is uploading the results of its past few hours, including a success with the SD2 system. With their next commands, mission scientists will attempt to turn the lander to a positi...
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Amateur, professional astronomers alike thrilled by extreme storms on Uranus

The normally bland face of Uranus has become increasingly stormy, with enormous cloud systems so bright that for the first time ever amateur astronomers are able to see details in the planet's hazy blue-green atmosphere. "The weather on Uranus is in...

Rosetta's Philae lander captures first images from comet's surface

Now more than 24 hours past its separation from the Rosetta spacecraft, the Philae lander finds itself in an interesting position on the surface of Comet 67P/Churuymov-Gerasimenko. According to mission scientists, the probe officially landed three ti...

Follow the dust to find planets

Researchers studying what appears to be a beefed-up version of our solar system have discovered that it is encased in a halo of fine dust. The findings are based on infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency...
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