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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.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Spots on Pluto fascinate as New Horizons gets the all clear

New color images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft show two very different faces of the mysterious dwarf planet, one with a series of intriguing spots along the equator that are evenly spaced. Each of the spots is about 300 miles (480 kilomet...

Rosetta spacecraft sees sinkholes on comet

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft first began orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014. Almost immediately, scientists began to wonder about several surprisingly deep, almost perfectly circular pits on the come...
Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Unexpectedly little black hole monsters rapidly suck up surrounding matter

Using the Subaru Telescope, researchers at the Special Astrophysical Observatory in Russia and Kyoto University in Japan have found evidence that enigmatic objects in nearby galaxies — called ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) — exhibit ...

Buried in the heart of a giant

This rich view of an array of colorful stars and gas was captured by the Wide Field Imager (WFI) camera on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile. It shows a young open cluster...
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Exposed water ice detected on Rosetta comet’s surface

Using the high-resolution science camera on board the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft, scientists have identified more than a hundred patches of water ice a few meters in size on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. ...

New Horizons sees Pluto’s “bright fringe,” Charon’s “dark pole”

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft doesn’t pass Pluto until July 14, but the mission team is making new discoveries as the piano-sized probe bears down on the Pluto system. In a long series of images obtained by New Horizons’ telescopi...
Monday, June 29, 2015

Monster black hole wakes up after 26 years

Over the past week, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Integral satellite has been observing an exceptional outburst of high-energy light produced by a black hole that is devouring material from its stellar companion. X-rays and gamma rays poin...

Can planets be rejuvenated around dead stars?

For a planet, this would be like a day at the spa. After years of growing old, a massive planet could, in theory, brighten up with a radiant youthful glow. Rejuvenated planets, as they are nicknamed, are only hypothetical. But new research from NASA&...
Friday, June 26, 2015

New supercomputer model shows planet-making waves in nearby debris disk

A new NASA supercomputer simulation of the planet and debris disk around the nearby star Beta Pictoris reveals that the planet’s motion drives spiral waves throughout the disk, a phenomenon that causes collisions among the orbiting debris. Patt...

M87 has swallowed an entire galaxy in the last billion years

New observations with the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) have revealed that the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 (M87) has swallowed an entire medium-sized galaxy over the last billion years. For the first ti...
Thursday, June 25, 2015

ALMA detects first traces of carbon “smog” permeating interstellar atmospheres of early galaxies

Astronomers study the elements scattered between the stars to learn about the internal workings of galaxies, their motion, and chemistry. To date, however, attempts to detect the telltale radio signature of carbon in the early universe have been thwa...

Hubble sees a “behemoth” bleeding atmosphere around a warm Neptune-sized exoplanet

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an immense cloud of hydrogen dubbed "The Behemoth" bleeding off a planet orbiting a nearby star. The enormous comet-like feature is about 50 times the size of the parent star. The hydrog...
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Get set for Asteroid Day

With less than one week to go before the first official Asteroid Day on June 30, local organizers are making final preparations for more than 50 public events worldwide to increase education and awareness about asteroids and how to better detect them...

Chandra captures X-ray echoes pinpointing distant neutron star

Astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have discovered the largest and brightest set of rings from X-ray light echoes ever observed. These extraordinary rings, produced by an intense flare from a neutron star, provide astronomers a ...

NASA simulation suggests black holes may make ideal dark matter labs

A new NASA computer simulation shows that dark matter particles colliding in the extreme gravity of a black hole can produce strong, potentially observable gamma-ray light. Detecting this emission would provide astronomers with a new tool for underst...
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Veteran spacecraft reaches 60,000th lap around Mars, no pit stops

NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft reached a major milestone today when it completed its 60,000th orbit since arriving at the Red Planet in 2001. Named after the bestselling novel 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, Odyssey began orbiting M...

Astronomers discover more than 800 dark galaxies in the famous Coma Cluster

A group of researchers from the Stony Brook University (the State University of New York) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan has discovered 854 ultra-dark galaxies in the Coma Cluster by analyzing archival data from the Subaru Telesco...
Monday, June 22, 2015

Hubble sees the “teenage years” of quasars

Astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope’s infrared vision to uncover the mysterious early formative years of quasars, the brightest objects in the universe. Hubble’s sharp images unveil chaotic galaxy collisions that give birth t...

Magnetic field discovery gives clues to galaxy-formation processes

Astronomers making a detailed multi-telescope study of a nearby galaxy have discovered a magnetic field coiled around the galaxy’s main spiral arm. The discovery, they said, helps explain how galactic spiral arms are formed. The same study also...
Friday, June 19, 2015

Hot lava flows discovered on Venus

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Venus Express has found the best evidence yet for active volcanism on Earth’s neighbor planet. Seeing the planet’s surface is extremely difficult due to its thick atmosphere, but radar observations...

The Very Large Array reveals “bashful” black hole in neighboring galaxy

Thanks to the extraordinary sensitivity of the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), astronomers have detected what they believe is the long-sought radio emission coming from a supermassive black hole at the center of one of our closest neighboring ...
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