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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, January 30, 2015

Cassini catches Titan naked in the solar wind

Researchers studying data from NASA’s Cassini mission have observed that Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, behaves much like Venus, Mars, or a comet when exposed to the raw power of the solar wind. The observations suggest that unmagnetized b...

Gravitational waves remain elusive, according to Planck

Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from the European Space Agency's (ESA) Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial gravitational wave...

Black hole chokes on a swallowed star

A five-year analysis of an event captured by a tiny telescope at McDonald Observatory and followed up by telescopes on the ground and in space has led astronomers to believe they witnessed a giant black hole tear apart a star. On January 21, 2009, t...
Thursday, January 29, 2015

Some potentially habitable planets began as gaseous, Neptune-like worlds

Two phenomena known to inhibit the potential habitability of planets — tidal forces and vigorous stellar activity — might instead help chances for life on certain planets orbiting low-mass stars, University of Washington (UW) astronomers ...

Dawn spacecraft captures best-ever view of dwarf planet

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has returned the sharpest images ever seen of the dwarf planet Ceres. The images were taken 147,000 miles (237,000 kilometers) from Ceres on January 25 and represent a new milestone for a spacecraft that soon will become the fi...
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gigantic ring system around J1407b

Astronomers at Leiden Observatory in The Netherlands and the University of Rochester in New York have discovered that the planetary ring system that they see eclipse the young Sun-like star J1407 is of enormous proportions, much larger and heavier th...

Citizen scientists lead astronomers to mystery objects in space

Sometimes it takes a village to find new and unusual objects in space. Volunteers scanning tens of thousands of starry images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, using the Web-based Milky Way Project, recently stumbled upon a new class of curiositie...
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Asteroid that flew past Earth has moon

Scientists working with NASA's 230-foot-wide (70 meters) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, have released the first radar images of asteroid 2004 BL86. The images show the asteroid, which made its closest approach January 26, 2015, ...

Kepler astronomers discover ancient star with five Earth-sized planets

Astronomers poring over four years of data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft have discovered a star that’s 11.2 billion years old and has at least five Earth-sized planets. “We thus show that Earth-sized planets have formed throughout ...
Monday, January 26, 2015

Hilltop panorama marks Mars rover’s 11th anniversary

A panorama from one of the highest elevations that NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reached in its 11 years on Mars includes the U.S. flag at the summit. The view is from the top of “Cape Tribulation,” a raised section...

Rosetta watches comet shed its dusty coat

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta mission is providing unique insight into the life cycle of a comet’s dusty surface, watching 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it sheds the dusty coat it has accumulated over the past four years. The ...
Friday, January 23, 2015

Getting to know Rosetta's comet

In a special edition of the journal Science, initial results are presented from seven of Rosetta’s 11 science instruments based on measurements made during the approach to and soon after arriving at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in Augu...
Thursday, January 22, 2015

Getting to know Rosetta's comet

In a special edition of the journal Science, initial results are presented from seven of Rosetta’s 11 science instruments based on measurements made during the approach to and soon after arriving at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in Augu...

Chandra celebrates the International Year of Light

The year 2015 has been declared the International Year of Light (IYL) by the United Nations. Organizations, institutions, and individuals involved in the science and applications of light will be joining together for this yearlong celebration to help...

Black hole on a diet creates a “changing look” quasar

Yale University astronomers have identified the first “changing look” quasar, a gleaming object in deep space that appears to have its own dimmer switch. The discovery may offer a glimpse into the life story of the universe’s great...
Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Telescope on NASA’s SDO collects its 100 millionth image

On January 19, 2015, at 12:49 p.m. EST, an instrument on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured its 100 millionth image of the Sun. The instrument is the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), which uses four telescopes working parallel to gather ei...
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dawn delivers new image of Ceres

As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft closes in on Ceres, new images show the dwarf planet at 27 pixels across, about three times better than the calibration images taken in early December. These are the first in a series of images that will be taken for n...
Monday, January 19, 2015

Snapshot of cosmic burst of radio waves

A strange phenomenon has been observed by astronomers right as it was happening — a “fast radio burst.” The eruption is described as an extremely short, sharp flash of radio waves from an unknown source in the universe. Over the pa...

NEOWISE: A yearlong look at the sky

NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft discovered and characterized 40 near-Earth objects (NEOs) in the first year after the mission was restarted in December 2013. Eight of the discoveries have been classified as po...
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