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23 Aug 2021, 21:39 UTC Using the powerful 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera (DECam) in Chile, astronomers just ten days ago discovered an asteroid with the shortest orbital period of any known asteroid in the Solar System. Next Previous
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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 22 Oct 2021, 10:30 UTC This observation from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope showcases Arp 86, a peculiar pair of interacting galaxies which lies roughly 220 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. Arp 86 is composed of the two galaxies NGC 7752 and NGC 7753 – NGC 7753 is the large spiral galaxy dominating this image, and NGC 7752 is its smaller companion. The diminutive companion galaxy almost appears attached to NGC 7753, and it is this peculiarity that has earned the designation “Arp 86” – signifying that the galaxy pair appears in the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies compiled by the astronomer Halton Arp in 1966. The gravitational dance between the two galaxies will eventually result in NGC 7752 being tossed out into intergalactic space or entirely engulfed by its much larger neighbor.
The University of Arizona Astronomy News 21 Oct 2021, 04:04 UTC By combining Hubble Space Telescope observations with theoretical models, a team of astronomers has gained insights into the chemical and physical makeup of a variety of exoplanets known as hot Jupiters. The findings provide a new and improved "field guide" for this group of planets and inform ideas about planet formation in general.
NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center 20 Oct 2021, 18:00 UTC Video capture during future lunar landings could play an important role in contributing to researchers’ understanding of disturbances in lunar surface materials – called regolith – caused by the lander’s rocket plume. With support from NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, on Oct. 14, 2021, researchers from Los Angeles-based Zandef Deksit put a high-tech video capture and regolith sensor payload called ExoCam to the test. The desert environment of Mojave, California, provided a stand-in for the surface of the Moon, and the Xodiac vertical takeoff vertical landing (VTVL) platform from Masten Space Systems was the test vehicle.
MIT 20 Oct 2021, 15:00 UTC Young planetary systems generally experience extreme growing pains, as infant bodies collide and fuse to form progressively larger planets. In our own solar system, the Earth and moon are thought to be products of this type of giant impact. Astronomers surmise that such smashups should be commonplace in early systems, but they have been difficult to observe around other stars.
Las Cumbres Observatory 19 Oct 2021, 18:11 UTC The Gaia spacecraft was launched in 2013 by the European Space Agency. According to NASA, “Its goal is to create the largest, most precise three-dimensional map of the Milky Way by surveying about 1% of the galaxy's 100 billion stars.” Photometry and spectroscopy are also possible for many of the observed objects. The observation mode is based on continuous scanning by two telescopes simultaneously with a 64-day precession movement around the Sun. This scanning mode allows Gaia to map the entire sky in several months and also makes it impossible to follow-up a specific target when necessary.
NASA Breaking News 16 Oct 2021, 10:23 UTC NASA’s Lucy mission, the agency’s first to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, launched at 5:34 a.m. EDT Saturday on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
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Centauri Dreams 22 Oct 2021, 09:55 UTC If you could send out a fleet of small lightsails, accelerated to perhaps 20 percent of the speed of light, you could put something of human manufacture into the Alpha Centauri triple star system within about 20 years. So goes, of course, the thinking of Breakthrough Starshot, which continues to investigate whether such a proposal is practicable. As the feasibility study continues, we’ll learn whether the scientists involved have been able to resolve some of the key issues, including especially data return and the need for power onboard to make it happen.
Astronomy Now 21 Oct 2021, 14:11 UTC The Perseverance Mars rover, after collecting and storing two samples of martian rock and soil from the floor of Jezero Crater, paused 12 September to capture a panoramic view looking toward the South Séítah geologic unit. Made up of 84 enhanced-colour images, the mosaic shows the remnants of an ancient delta formation at top left, where water once flowed into Jezero forming a large lake that may have hosted microbial life. Near the top of the image at far right is the path Perseverance took to reach the photo-shoot location. The imagery was captured by the Mastcam-Z camera, provided by Arizona State University, while the rover was parked on elevated terrain. Click twice on the image below to zoom into the mosaic.
The Planetary Society Blog 20 Oct 2021, 17:19 UTC A joint European-Russian mission to find signs of life on Mars.