14 Feb 2018, 15:00 UTC Beauty, grace, mystery — this magnificent spiral galaxy has all the qualities of a perfect galactic Valentine. Captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the galaxy NGC 3344 presents itself face-on, allowing astronomers a detailed look at its intricate and elegant structure. And Hubble’s ability to observe objects over a wide range of different wavelengths reveals features that would otherwise remain invisible. Next Previous
5 Feb 2018, 16:00 UTC A new study has found that the seven planets orbiting the nearby ultra-cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 are all made mostly of rock, and some could potentially hold more water than Earth. The planets' densities, now known much more precisely than before, suggest that some of them could have up to 5 percent of their mass in the form of water — about 250 times more than Earth's oceans. Next Previous
31 Jan 2018, 23:41 UTC A new self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle on Vera Rubin Ridge, which it has been investigating for the past several months. Directly behind the rover is the start of a clay-rich slope scientists are eager to begin exploring. In coming weeks, Curiosity will begin to climb this slope. In the image, north is on the left and west is on the right, with Gale Crater's rim on the horizon of both edges. Next Previous
31 Jan 2018, 11:00 UTC A dark cloud of cosmic dust snakes across this spectacular wide field image, illuminated by the brilliant light of new stars. This dense cloud is a star-forming region called Lupus 3, where dazzlingly hot stars are born from collapsing masses of gas and dust. This image was created from images taken using the VLT Survey Telescope and the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope and is the most detailed image taken so far of this region. Next Previous
23 Jan 2018, 18:51 UTC Some Mars experts are eager and optimistic for a dust storm this year to grow so grand it darkens skies around the entire Red Planet. This biggest type of phenomenon in the environment of modern Mars could be examined as never before possible, using the combination of spacecraft now at Mars. Next Previous
18 Jan 2018, 15:00 UTC Next Previous
17 Jan 2018, 11:00 UTC Astronomers using ESO’s MUSE instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a star in the cluster NGC 3201 that is behaving very strangely. It appears to be orbiting an invisible black hole with about four times the mass of the Sun — the first such inactive stellar-mass black hole found in a globular cluster and the first found by directly detecting its gravitational pull. This important discovery impacts on our understanding of the formation of these star clusters, black holes, and the origins of gravitational wave events. Next Previous
10 Jan 2018, 19:18 UTC Next Previous
10 Jan 2018, 07:15 UTC Astronomers have looked back to a time soon after the Big Bang, and have discovered swirling gas in some of the earliest galaxies to have formed in the Universe. These ‘newborns’ – observed as they appeared nearly 13 billion years ago – spun like a whirlpool, similar to our own Milky Way.An international team led by Renske Smit from the Kavli Institute of Cosmology at the University of Cambridge used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to open a new window onto the distant Universe, and have identified normal star-forming galaxies at a very early stage in cosmic history. The results are reported in the journal Nature, and will be presented at the 231st meeting of the American Astronomical Society.Light from distant objects takes time to reach Earth, so observing objects that are billions of light years away enables us to look back in time and directly observe the formation of the earliest galaxies. The Universe at that time, however, was filled with an obscuring “haze” of neutral hydrogen gas, which makes it difficult to see the formation of the very first galaxies with optical telescopes.Smit and her colleagues used ALMA to observe two small newborn galaxies, as they existed ... Next Previous
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 16 Feb 2018, 14:28 UTC This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the galaxy cluster PLCK G004.5-19.5. It was discovered by the ESA Planck satellite through the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect — the distortion of the cosmic microwave background radiation in the direction of the galaxy cluster by high-energy electrons in the intracluster gas. The large galaxy at the center is the brightest galaxy in the cluster, and above it a thin, curved gravitational lens arc is visible. This arc is caused by the gravitational forces of the cluster bending the path of light from stars and galaxies behind it, in a similar way to how a glass lens bends light.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 15 Feb 2018, 18:00 UTC Three billion miles away on the farthest known major planet in our solar system, an ominous, dark storm – once big enough to stretch across the Atlantic Ocean from Boston to Portugal – is shrinking out of existence as seen in pictures of Neptune taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
ESA Top News 15 Feb 2018, 08:15 UTC Vapour cloud trail left by the Chelyabinsk asteroid as seen by M. Ahmetvaleev on 15 February 2013.
ESA Top News 15 Feb 2018, 08:10 UTC A new international accelerator, the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR), now under construction near Darmstadt, Germany, at the existing GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research (GSI), will provide particle beams like the ones that exist in space and make them available to scientists for studies that will be used to make spacecraft more robust and help humans survive the rigours of spaceflight.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 14 Feb 2018, 14:53 UTC As part of an engineering test, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft captured this image of the Earth and Moon using its NavCam1 imager on January 17 from a distance of 39.5 million miles (63.6 million km). When the camera acquired the image, the spacecraft was moving away from home at a speed of 19,000 miles per hour (8.5 kilometers per second).
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 13 Feb 2018, 20:02 UTC A chunk of Mars will soon be returning home. A piece of a meteorite called Sayh al Uhaymir 008 (SaU008) will be carried on board NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission, now being built at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. This chunk will serve as target practice for a high-precision laser on the rover's arm.
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Many Worlds 19 Feb 2018, 12:05 UTC Northern Lights over a frozen lake in Northern Norway, inside the Arctic Circle near Alta. The displays can go on for hours, or can disappear for days or weeks. It all depends on solar flares. (Ongajok.no)May I please invite you to join me in the presence of one of the great natural phenomena and spectacles of our world.Not only is it enthralling to witness and scientifically crucial, but it’s quite emotionally moving as well.Why? Because what’s before me is a physical manifestation of one of the primary, but generally invisible, features of Earth that make life possible. It’s mostly seen in the far northern and far southern climes, but the force is everywhere and it protects our atmosphere and us from the parched fate of a planet like Mars.I’m speaking, of course, of the northern lights, the Aurora Borealis, and the planet’s magnetic fields that help turn on the lights.My vantage point is the far northern tip of Norway, inside the Arctic Circle. It’s stingingly cold in the silent woods, frozen still for the long, dark winter, and it’s always an unpredictable gift when the lights show up.But they‘re out tonight, dancing in bright green and sometimes gold-tinged arches and ...
Laurel's Pluto Blog 18 Feb 2018, 21:14 UTC Pluto, known to humanity just since 1930, has been a solar system planet for four billion years but was discovered as one 88 years ago today, on February 18, 1930, by astronomer and planetary scientist Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.
AmericaSpace 18 Feb 2018, 21:02 UTC Ten years ago, this month, Space Shuttle Atlantis sprang from historic Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, to kickstart the final phase of International Space Station (ISS) construction. A decade since the first elements of the football-field-sized outpost had been placed into orbit, the core structure was in place, ready to accept the pressurized modules of the international partners. First up was Columbus, the largest single contribution of the European Space Agency (ESA).
io9 Space 18 Feb 2018, 20:15 UTC Asteroid mining is about more than just heading up into space and bringing back a rock full of platinum—you actually need to land something on just the right asteroid. Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket launched by Elon Musk-led SpaceX two weeks ago, may have changed the game, says one astronomer. “Instead of a few hundred we may have thousands of ore bearing asteroids available”.
io9 Space 18 Feb 2018, 19:30 UTC Elon Musk’s SpaceX has delayed the next scheduled launch of its Falcon 9 rocket to at least Wednesday, February 21st for further testing of the rocket’s fairing, the $5 million section at its tip that deploys the rocket’s payload, Space.com reported.
Geekwire 18 Feb 2018, 02:39 UTC Mining asteroids for water and other resources could someday become a trillion-dollar business, but not without astronomers to point the way. At least that’s the view of Martin Elvis, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who’s been taking a close look at the science behind asteroid mining.