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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, October 01, 2014

Swift mission observes mega flares from a mini star

On April 23, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a nearby red dwarf star. The initial blast from this record-setting series of explosions was as much as 10,000 times mo...

Wild ducks take flight in open cluster

The Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile has taken this beautiful image, dappled with blue stars, of one of the most star-rich open clusters currently kn...
Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Rosetta to deploy lander on November 12

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta mission will deploy its lander, Philae, to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 12. Philae’s landing site, currently known as Site J, is located on the smaller of the comet&...

Cassini watches mysterious feature evolve in Titan sea

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is monitoring the evolution of a mysterious feature in a large hydrocarbon sea on Saturn’s moon Titan. It has now been observed twice by Cassini’s radar experiment, but its appearance changed between the tw...
Monday, September 29, 2014

New molecule found in space connotes life origins

Hunting from a distance of 27,000 light-years, astronomers have discovered an unusual carbon-based molecule — one with a branched structure — contained within a giant gas cloud in interstellar space. Like finding a molecular needle in a c...
Friday, September 26, 2014

MAVEN spacecraft returns first Mars observations

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has obtained its first observations of the extended upper atmosphere surrounding Mars. The Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) instrument obtained these false-color images ei...
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hubble snaps what looks like a young galaxy in the local universe

Astronomers usually have to peer far into the distance to see back in time and view the universe as it was when it was young. This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of galaxy DDO 68, otherwise known as UGC 5340, was thought to offer an except...

Earth’s water is older than the Sun

Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth’s water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into bein...
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Major milestone in the search for water on distant planets

Astronomers have found water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet about four times bigger than Earth in the constellation Cygnus, which is about 124 light-years from our home planet. In the quest to learn about planets beyond our solar system, this di...

Data from Planck measure contaminants in the BICEP2 observation

Scientists of the Planck collaboration, and in particular the Trieste team, have conducted a series of in-depth checks on the discovery recently publicized by the BICEP2 project — the Antarctic observatory — which announced last spring th...
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding hints of gravitational waves in the stars

Scientists have shown how gravitational waves — invisible ripples in the fabric of space and time that propagate through the universe — might be “seen” by looking at the stars. The new model proposes that a star that oscillate...

Infant solar system shows signs of windy weather

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around a T Tauri star, an infant analog of our Sun. This may help explain why some T Tauri stars have disks that...
Monday, September 22, 2014

Most metal-poor star hints at universe’s first supernovae

A team of researchers led by Miho N. Ishigaki at the Kavli IPMU, the University of Tokyo, pointed out that the elemental abundance of the most iron-poor star can be explained by elements ejected from supernova explosions of the universe’s first...

NASA's newest Mars mission spacecraft enters orbit around the Red Planet

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft successfully entered Mars’ orbit at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Septempter 21, where it now will prepare to study the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere as never done before. MA...
Friday, September 19, 2014

Pulse of a dead star powers intense gamma rays

Our Milky Way Galaxy is littered with the still-sizzling remains of exploded stars. When the most massive stars explode as supernovae, they don't fade into the night but sometimes glow ferociously with high-energy gamma rays. What powers these energ...

Latest measurements from the AMS experiment unveil new territories in the flux of cosmic rays

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) collaboration has presented its latest results based on the analysis of 41 billion particles detected with the space-based AMS detector aboard the International Space Station. The results provide new insights int...
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hubble helps astronomers find smallest known galaxy with supermassive black hole

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found a monster lurking in a very unlikely place. New observations of the ultra-compact dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1 have revealed a supermassive black hole at its heart, making this tiny galaxy the...

Mars spacecraft ready for September 21 orbit insertion

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is nearing its scheduled September 21 insertion into martian orbit after completing a 10-month interplanetary journey of 442 million miles (711 million kilometers). Flight contro...
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