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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.

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...
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rosetta's Philae probe lands on comet

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta mission has soft-landed its Philae probe on a comet, the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved. After a tense wait during the seven-hour descent to the surface of Comet 67P/...

Venturing into the upper atmosphere of Venus

As the end of its eight-year adventure at Venus edges ever closer, European Space Agency (ESA) scientists have been taking a calculated risk with the Venus Express spacecraft in order to carry out unique observations of the planet’s rarefied ou...

Jupiter’s red spot is likely a sunburn, not a blush

The ruddy color of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is likely a product of simple chemicals being broken apart by sunlight in the planet’s upper atmosphere, according to a new analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini mission. The results contra...

Live Coverage: Rosetta mission Philae comet touchdown

After traveling over 4 billion miles, and spending more than a decade in transit, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft’s final stage is in progress: landing a probe, called Philae, on the surface of Comet 67P. The tricky maneuve...
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ALMA finds best evidence yet for galactic merger in distant protocluster

Nestled among a triplet of young galaxies more than 12.5 billion light-years away is a cosmic powerhouse: a galaxy that is producing stars nearly 1,000 times faster than our Milky Way. This energetic starburst galaxy, known as AzTEC-3, together with ...

Cassini sails into new ocean adventures on Titan

NASA’s Cassini mission continues its adventures in extraterrestrial oceanography with new findings about the hydrocarbon seas on Saturn’s moon Titan. During a flyby in August, the spacecraft sounded the depths near the mouth of a flooded ...

Tail discovered on long-known asteroid

A two-person team of Carnegie’s Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory has discovered a new active asteroid, called 62412, in the solar system’s main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is the first comet-li...

Rosetta readies for lander's comet touchdown

.@philae2014’s first postcard just after separation – it’s of me! #CometLanding Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA pic.twitter.com/OXJwGunL3V— ESA Rosetta Mission (@ESA_Rosetta) November 12, 2014
Monday, November 10, 2014

Mars spacecraft reveal comet flyby effects on martian atmosphere

Two NASA and one European spacecraft that obtained the first up-close observations of a comet flyby of Mars on October 19 have gathered new information about the basic properties of the comet’s nucleus and directly detected the effects on the m...

Rocket experiment finds the universe brighter than we thought

A NASA sounding rocket experiment has detected a surprising surplus of infrared light in the dark space between galaxies, a diffuse cosmic glow as bright as all known galaxies combined. The glow is thought to be from orphaned stars flung out of galax...
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