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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 06, 2016

Watch the Transit of Mercury Across the Sun

On Monday, a rare event will take place: Mercury will transit across the face of the sun. Similar to the way we see exoplanets, Earth observers will be able to see dips in light as the tiny planet makes its way across the face of the sun, blotting ou...

SpaceX pulled off its hardest sea landing yet

SpaceX had its second successful at-sea return of a first stage rocket last night, bringing a Falcon 9 back down from orbit. But the feat was even harder than last month’s successful return: the rocket came down at 4,400 miles per hour. Those speeds...
Thursday, May 05, 2016

ALMA measures mass of black hole with extreme precision

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a team of astronomers has delved remarkably deep into the heart of a nearby elliptical galaxy to study the motion of a disk of cold interstellar gas encircling the supermassive black hole...

Second strongest shock wave found in merging galaxy clusters

The discovery by a student at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) of the second strongest merger shock in clusters of galaxies ever observed has generated excitement that is opening doors to further scientific exploration. Sarthak Dasadia...
Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Pluto’s interaction with the solar wind is unique, study finds

Pluto behaves less like a comet than expected and somewhat more like a planet like Mars or Venus in the way it interacts with the solar wind — a continuous stream of charged particles from the Sun. This is according to the first analysis of Pl...

Scientists Spot Strange Sunspots Around Nearby Star

A star like the Sun has an internal driving in the form of a magnetic field that can be seen on the surface as sunspots. Now astrophysicists from the Niels Bohr Institute have observed a distant star in the constellation Andromeda with a different po...
Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Ancient Volcanos Point to Extensive Ice on Mars

Volcanoes erupted beneath an ice sheet on Mars billions of years ago, far from any ice sheet on the Red Planet today, new evidence from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests. The research about these volcanoes helps show there was extensive ice...

Second ExoMars mission moves to next launch opportunity in 2020

On March 14, 2016, the Roscosmos State Corporation and the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the jointly developed ExoMars 2016 interplanetary mission, comprising of the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli lander, on a Proton rocket from ...
Monday, May 02, 2016

Three potentially habitable worlds found around nearby ultracool dwarf star

Astronomers using the TRAPPIST telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla have discovered three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to th...

Although boiling, water does shape martian terrain

At present, liquid water on Mars only exists in small quantities as a boiling liquid, and only during the warmest time of day in summer. Its role has therefore been considered insignificant until now. However, an international team has now shown that...
Friday, April 29, 2016

An asteroid got knocked into a cometary orbit long ago

Astronomers at the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy and the European Southern Observatory have found something where it shouldn’t be: an apparent asteroid following a comet’s path. The object, Comet 2014 S3, has an 860...

Powerful winds spotted from mysterious X-ray binaries

At X-ray wavelengths, the celestial sky is dominated by two types of astronomical objects: supermassive black holes, sitting at the centers of large galaxies and ferociously devouring the material around them, and binary systems, consisting of a stel...
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fermi helps link cosmic neutrino to blazar blast

Nearly 10 billion years ago, the black hole at the center of a galaxy known as PKS B1424-418 produced a powerful outburst. Light from this blast began arriving at Earth in 2012. Now astronomers using data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope a...
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Astronomers Spy a Massive Supernova in a Nearby Galaxy

A giant star that exploded 30 million years ago in a galaxy near Earth had a radius prior to going supernova that was 200 times larger than our sun, according to astrophysicists at Southern Methodist University, Dallas. The sudden blast hurled materi...

Curiosity leaves rough terrain for smoother, science rich lakebed

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has nearly finished crossing a stretch of the most rugged and difficult-to-navigate terrain encountered during the mission's 44 months on Mars. The rover climbed onto the Naukluft Plateau of lower Mount Sharp in early Marc...

SpaceX reportedly sets its sights on Mars "as soon as 2018"

UPDATE: In a blog post, NASA deputy administrator Dava Newman hints at a future SpaceX collaboration, saying, "In exchange for Martian entry, descent, and landing data from SpaceX, NASA will offer technical support for the firm’s plan to attemp...
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cassini Finds a Lake On Titan That's Almost Completely Methane

Saturn's largest moon is covered in seas and lakes of liquid hydrocarbons – and one sea has now been found to be filled with pure methane, with a seabed covered by a sludge of organic-rich material, and possibly surrounded by wetlands. Of all ...

Astronomers Find a Moon Hiding Around Makemake in Hubble Data

In 2005, Caltech astronomers Mike Brown and Chad Trujillo discovered dwarf planet Makemake, currently believed to be the third largest object in the Kuiper Belt after Pluto and Eris. But at the time, astronomers believed it was alone out there on its...

Mars’ surface revealed in unprecedented detail

The surface of Mars, including the location of Beagle-2, has been shown in unprecedented detail by University College London (UCL) scientists using a revolutionary image stacking and matching technique. Exciting pictures of the Beagle-2 lander, the ...
Monday, April 25, 2016

Mission Manager Update: Kepler recovered and returned to the K2 mission

The Kepler spacecraft has recovered from a system failure and, as of Friday, April 22, is back on the job as the K2 mission searching for exoplanets — planets beyond our solar system. The team began the process of returning the spacecraft to s...

Could NASA’s asteroid mission visit a third world?

NASA’s Dawn mission has yielded some impressive results thus far, and it isn’t over yet. After launching in 2007, the probe orbited the asteroid Vesta for a year in 2011 before moving on to the dwarf planet Ceres. Now, according to a repo...
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