International Year of Astronomy Press Releases 17 Dec 2009, 17:52 UTC On 9 and 10 January 2010 the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) will be brought to an official close with a ceremony to be held in Padova, Italy, in the Aula Magna of the University of Padova, where Galileo taught experimental physics and astronomy. The final event of this global celebration of astronomy and its contribution to society and culture will be attended by the key figures behind IYA2009 as well as prominent astronomers. The press is invited to attend.
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory 17 Dec 2009, 17:00 UTC Supernova remnants representing two different types of supernova explosions.
ESA Human Spaceflight and Exploration 17 Dec 2009, 15:36 UTC The unique particle physics detector known as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer will soon arrive at ESA’s ESTEC facility in the Netherlands to undergo final testing in Europe prior to being shipped to the Kennedy Space Center in the spring of 2010 and its launch to the International Space Station on the STS-134 Shuttle Endeavour mission in July 2010.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 16 Dec 2009, 20:12 UTC Researchers are receiving new science data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter after the spacecraft's six science instruments resumed observations today.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 16 Dec 2009, 18:03 UTC December 16, 2009: Astronomers announced today that they have discovered a "super-Earth" orbiting a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth. They found the distant planet with a small fleet of ground-based telescopes no larger than those many amateur astronomers have in their backyards.
HubbleSite NewsCenter -- Latest News Releases 16 Dec 2009, 18:00 UTC Get larger image formatsNASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered the smallest object ever seen in visible light in the Kuiper Belt, a vast ring of icy debris that is encircling the outer rim of the solar system just beyond Neptune.
ESO Top News 16 Dec 2009, 18:00 UTC Astronomers have discovered the second super-Earth exoplanet  for which they have determined the mass and radius, giving vital clues about its structure. It is also the first super-Earth where an atmosphere has been found. The exoplanet, orbiting a small star only 40 light-years away from us, opens up dramatic new perspectives in the quest for habitable worlds. The planet, GJ1214b, has a mass about six times that of Earth and its interior is likely to be mostly made of water ice. Its surface appears to be fairly hot and the planet is surrounded by a thick atmosphere, which makes it inhospitable for life as we know it on Earth.
ASI Agenzia Spaziale Italiana 16 Dec 2009, 13:48 UTC Italy and Russia will jointly assemble the Millimetron super telescope. The announcement was made during the Italo-Russo summit at Villa Madama. In the presence of the heads of government of both countries, Enrico Saggese, the president of the Italian Space Agency, and Anatoly Nikolayevich Perminov, the head of the Russian agency ROSCOSMOS, signed an agreement regarding bilateral cooperation on the cosmological observation mission. As part of this agreement Italy will contribute the polarimetric spectrometer, one of Millimetron’s principal instruments. Millimetron is a Russian space mission that plans to construct an orbiting observatory equipped with a mirror 12 metres in diameter, an absolute record in the history of space missions. The telescope will operate in a wide band of the electromagnetic spectrum, in the submillimetre, millimetre and far infrared (a wavelength between 20 µm and 20 mm) wavelength regions and will enable astronomers to observe the Universe with unprecedented sensitivity, angular resolution and spectro-polarimetric capacity. These electromagnetic bands are one of the most promising windows for observing the Universe, being full of scientific information and relatively unexplored. Millimetron will be able to throw light on the cold Universe, the cosmological structures on a wide scale, the nature of dark matter and ...
ASI Agenzia Spaziale Italiana 16 Dec 2009, 13:22 UTC After the earthquake of 6 April, COSMO-SkyMed has continued to acquire images of Abruzzo for the Department of Civil Protection, for the purpose of surveying the earth movements in detail. The Department’s objectives were particularly demanding due to the large size of the area concerned and the number of images that had to be acquired before they could have reliable measurements using interferometric techniques. Managing to reach the objectives in only a few months is a success story that was made possible by the unique operational capacity of COSMO. The first results of this monitoring exercise have now been made available by the MORFEO pilot project, one of the earth observation projects undertaken in collaboration with the Department of Civil Protection. MORFEO is an acronym which in Italian stands for "landslide monitoring and risk using earth observation data". It is a coordinated research and development initiative to create a prototypal system for supporting the Department of Civil Protection in evaluating and mitigating landslide risk. In order to monitor the deformations of the Earth’s surface it predominantly uses DinSAR technology, which offers a geographic and spatially distributed vision of the deformations to complement in situ measurements and GPS. Various interferometric services ...