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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, September 2, 2015

Comet Hitchhiker would take tour of small bodies

Catching a ride from one solar system body to another isn't easy. You have to figure out how to land your spacecraft safely and then get it on its way to the next destination. The landing part is especially tricky for asteroids and comets, which have...
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

LISA Pathfinder set for launch site

LISA Pathfinder, the European Space Ageny’s (ESA) demonstrator for spaceborne observations of gravitational waves, is ready to leave for Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Scheduled for launch on a Vega rocket later this year, ...
Monday, August 31, 2015

New Horizons selects Kuiper Belt target

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits nearly a billion miles bey...

Utah's Canyonlands becomes newest dark sky park

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has granted Gold-Tier International Dark-Sky Park status to Canyonlands National Park, an honor reserved for the darkest of dark skies and the most stunning of starscapes. “It is truly a pleasure to...
Friday, August 28, 2015

Hubble finds that the nearest quasar is powered by a double black hole

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have found that Markarian 231 (Mrk 231), the nearest galaxy to Earth that hosts a quasar, is powered by two central black holes furiously whirling about each other. The finding suggests that quas...

Interstellar seeds could create oases of life

We only have one example of a planet with life: Earth. But within the next generation, it should become possible to detect signs of life on planets orbiting distant stars. If we find alien life, new questions will arise. For example, did that life ar...
Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hawaii’s Supreme Court begins to hear Thirty Meter Telescope case

Hawaii’s Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments today over the fate of the Thirty Meter Telescope, which could one day become the world’s largest. The Associated Press has put together a nice summary of the recent legal battle here. S...

Discovering dust-obscured active galaxies as they grow

A group of researchers from Ehime University, Princeton University, and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), among others, has performed an extensive search for dust-obscured galaxies (DOGs) using data obtained from the Subaru Strat...

Chandra data suggest giant collision triggered “radio phoenix”

Astronomers have found evidence for a faded electron cloud “coming back to life,” much like the mythical phoenix, after two galaxy clusters collided. This “radio phoenix,” so-called because the high-energy electrons radiate pr...
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

NASA satellites help explain coronal heating

Modern telescopes and satellites have helped us measure the blazing hot temperatures of the Sun from afar. Mostly, the temperatures follow a clear pattern: The Sun produces energy by fusing hydrogen in its core, so the layers surrounding the core gen...

New Hubble image of the Twin Jet Nebula

The shimmering colors visible in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image show off the remarkable complexity of the Twin Jet Nebula. The new image highlights the nebula's shells and knots of expanding gas in striking detail. Two iridescent lobes of...
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UCLA physicist tests theories of dark energy by mimicking the vacuum of space

Scientist uses cold atoms to probe dark energy, which is responsible for the acceleration of the universe. Besides the atoms that make up our bodies and all of the objects we encounter in everyday life, the universe also contains mysterious dark mat...

Dawn sends sharper scenes from Ceres

The closest views yet of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall conical mountain, crater formation features, and narrow braided fractures. "Dawn is performing flawle...
Monday, August 24, 2015

The tumultuous heart of our galaxy

This new image of powerful remnants of dead stars and their mighty action on the surrounding gas from the European Southern Agency’s (ESA) XMM-Newton X-ray observatory reveals some of the most intense processes taking place at the center of our...

NASA’s next big spacecraft mission could visit an ice giant

Today marks 26 years since NASA made its one and only visit to Neptune. And for years, planetary scientists have bemoaned a predicted 50-year gap between that flyby from Voyager 2 and its next mission. NASA’s Jim Green took a step toward narrow...
Friday, August 21, 2015

New data from Antarctic detector firms up cosmic neutrino sighting

Researchers using the IceCube Neutrino Observatory have sorted through the billions of subatomic particles that zip through its frozen cubic-kilometer-sized detector each year to gather powerful new evidence in support of 2013 observations confirming...

Cassini’s final breathtaking close views of Dione

A pockmarked icy landscape looms beneath NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in new images of Saturn’s moon Dione taken during the mission’s last close approach to the small icy world. Two of the new images show the surface of Dione at the be...
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mars rover moves onward after “Marias Pass” studies

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is driving toward the southwest after departing a region where for several weeks it investigated a geological contact zone and rocks that are unexpectedly high in silica and hydrogen content. The hydrogen indicates water b...

Scientists think "planetary pebbles" were the building blocks for the largest planets

Researchers at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Queen’s University in Canada have unraveled the mystery of how Jupiter and Saturn likely formed. This discovery changes our view of how all planets might have formed. The largest plan...
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