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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, May 22, 2015

Hubble observes one-of-a-kind star nicknamed “Nasty”

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered surprising new clues about a hefty, rapidly aging star whose behavior has never been seen before in our Milky Way Galaxy. In fact, the star is so weird that astronomers have nicknam...

NASA’s WISE spacecraft discovers most luminous galaxy in universe

A remote galaxy shining with the light of more than 300 trillion Suns has been discovered using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). The galaxy is the most luminous found to date and belongs to a new class of objects rec...
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Newly dedicated observatory to search for gravitational waves

First run scheduled for fall 2015 Seeking to expand how we observe and understand the universe where we live, the National Science Foundation (NSF) this week helped dedicate the Advanced Laser Gravitational Wave Observatories (Advanced LIGO) at the L...

Galaxy’s snacking habits revealed

A team of Australian and Spanish astronomers has caught a greedy galaxy gobbling on its neighbors and leaving crumbs of evidence about its dietary past. Galaxies grow by churning loose gas from their surroundings into new stars or by swallowing neig...
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The dreadful beauty of Medusa

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have captured the most detailed image ever taken of the Medusa Nebula. As the star at the heart of this nebula made its transition into retirement, ...

Astronomers observe a supernova colliding with its companion star

Type Ia supernovae, one of the most dazzling phenomena in the universe, are produced when small dense stars called white dwarfs explode with ferocious intensity. At their peak, these supernovae can outshine an entire galaxy. Although thousands of sup...
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Scientists at Keck discover the fluffiest galaxies

An international team of researchers led by Pieter van Dokkum at Yale University has used the W. M. Keck Observatory to confirm the existence of the most diffuse class of galaxies known in the universe. These “fluffiest galaxies” are near...
Monday, May 18, 2015

Astronomers baffled by discovery of rare quasar quartet

Using the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, a group of astronomers led by Joseph Hennawi of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have discovered the first quadruple quasar: four rare active black holes situated in close proximity to one another. Th...

OSIRIS discovers balancing rock on Comet 67P

Scientists from Rosetta’s OSIRIS team have discovered an extraordinary formation on the larger lobe of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the Aker region. From a group of three boulders, the largest one with a diameter of approximately 98 feet ...
Friday, May 15, 2015

Hubble catches a stellar exodus in action

Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have captured for the first time snapshots of fledgling white dwarf stars beginning their slow-paced, 40-million-year migration from the crowded center of an ancient star cluster to the less popu...

Magnetar near supermassive black hole delivers surprises

In 2013, astronomers announced they had discovered a magnetar exceptionally close to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way using a suite of space-borne telescopes, including NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Magnetars are dense ...
Thursday, May 14, 2015

Cause of galactic death: strangulation

Astronomers have partially solved an epic whodunit: What kills galaxies so that they can no longer produce new stars? As murder mysteries go, it’s a big one: How do galaxies die and what kills them? A new study has found that the primary cause...

Left-handed cosmic magnetic field could explain missing antimatter

The discovery of a “left-handed” magnetic field that pervades the universe could help explain a long-standing mystery — the absence of cosmic antimatter. A group of scientists, led by Tanmay Vachaspati from Arizona State University ...
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

NASA research reveals Europa’s mystery dark material could be sea salt

NASA laboratory experiments suggest the dark material coating some geological features of Jupiter's moon Europa is likely sea salt from a subsurface ocean, discolored by exposure to radiation. The presence of sea salt on Europa's surface suggests the...

The Very Large Telescope discovers new kind of globular star cluster

Observations with the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have discovered a new class of “dark” globular star clusters around the giant galaxy Centaurus A. These mysterious objects look similar ...

NASA’s New Horizons spots Pluto’s faintest known moons

It’s a complete Pluto family photo — or at least a photo of the family members we’ve already met. For the first time, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has photographed Kerberos and Styx — the smallest and faintest of Pl...
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lopsided star explosion holds the key to other supernova mysteries

New observations of a recently exploded star are confirming supercomputer model predictions made at Caltech that the deaths of stellar giants are lopsided affairs in which debris and the stars’ cores hurtle off in opposite directions. While ob...

Ceres showcases bright spots

The mysterious bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres are better resolved in a new sequence of images taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on May 3 and 4, 2015. The images were taken from a distance of 8,400 miles (13,600 kilometers). In this close...
Monday, May 11, 2015

ALMA discovers proto super star cluster

Globular clusters — dazzling agglomerations of up to a million ancient stars — are among the oldest objects in the universe. Though plentiful in and around many galaxies, newborn examples are vanishingly rare and the conditions necessary ...

MESSENGER reveals Mercury’s ancient magnetic field

New data from MESSENGER, the spacecraft that orbited Mercury for four years before crashing into the planet April 30, reveal that Mercury’s magnetic field is almost 4 billion years old. The discovery helps scientists piece together the history ...
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