19 Feb 2019, 15:30 UTC A volunteer working with the NASA-led Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project has found the oldest and coldest known white dwarf — an Earth-sized remnant of a Sun-like star that has died — ringed by dust and debris. Astronomers suspect this could be the first known white dwarf with multiple dust rings. Next Previous
31 Jan 2019, 15:00 UTC Next Previous
23 Jan 2019, 18:00 UTC Next Previous
14 Jan 2019, 14:10 UTC New research that included astronomers Luca Matra and David J. Wilner of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian has found the first confirmed example of a double star system that has flipped its surrounding disc to a position that leaps over the orbital plane of those stars. The international team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) to obtain high-resolution images of the Asteroid belt-sized disc. Next Previous
9 Jan 2019, 22:15 UTC Next Previous
9 Jan 2019, 22:14 UTC On Nov. 22, 2014, astronomers spotted a rare event in the night sky: A supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy, nearly 300 million light-years from Earth, ripping apart a passing star. The event, known as a tidal disruption flare, for the black hole’s massive tidal pull that tears a star apart, created a burst of X-ray activity near the center of the galaxy. Since then, a host of observatories have trained their sights on the event, in hopes of learning more about how black holes feed. Now researchers at MIT and elsewhere have pored through data from multiple telescopes’ observations of the event, and discovered a curiously intense, stable, and periodic pulse, or signal, of X-rays, across all datasets. The signal appears to emanate from an area very close to the black hole’s event horizon — the point beyond which material is swallowed inescapably by the black hole. The signal appears to periodically brighten and fade every 131 seconds, and persists over at least 450 days. The researchers believe that whatever is emitting the periodic signal must be orbiting the black hole, just outside the event horizon, near the Innermost Stable Circular Orbit, or ISCO — the ... Next Previous
9 Jan 2019, 16:02 UTC Next Previous
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 22 Feb 2019, 20:02 UTC NASA's Curiosity rover is busy making new discoveries on Mars. The rover has been climbing Mount Sharp since 2014 and recently reached a clay region that may offer new clues about the ancient Martian environment's potential to support life. Curiosity encountered a hurdle last Friday, when a hiccup during boot-up interrupted its planned activities and triggered a protective safe mode. The rover was brought out of this mode on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and is otherwise operating normally, having successfully booted up over 30 times without further issues.
New Horizons 22 Feb 2019, 18:20 UTC The mission team called it a "stretch goal" – just before closest approach, precisely point the cameras on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft to snap the sharpest possible pics of the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule, its New Year's flyby target and the farthest object ever explored. Now that New Horizons has sent those stored flyby images back to Earth, the team can enthusiastically confirm that its ambitious goal was met.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 22 Feb 2019, 15:00 UTC This picture showcases a gravitational lensing system called SDSS J0928+2031. Astronomers are using NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope observations of this type of lensing to research how stars form and evolve in distant galaxies.
NASA Breaking News 21 Feb 2019, 20:50 UTC NASA has selected 12 science and technology demonstration payloads to fly to the Moon as early as the end of this year, dependent upon the availability of commercial landers. These selections represent an early step toward the agency’s long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and, later, Mars.
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AmericaSpace 22 Feb 2019, 20:05 UTC The Falcon 9 rocket which launched last night’s SpaceX mission performed beautifully on its third flight, delivering Indonesia’s PSN-6 satellite “Nusantara Satu” to orbit, along with a U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) microsat and – most notably – deploying a moonlander developed by Israel’s SpaceIL organization.
Centauri Dreams 22 Feb 2019, 18:28 UTC Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 is a project worth investigating. Using a database drawn from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 is probing the cosmos at infrared wavelengths. Volunteers search the WISE data in a ‘citizen science’ effort that has already discovered more than 1,000 likely brown dwarfs. Now we have news of an intriguing white dwarf showing apparently multiple rings of gas and dust.
Bad Astronomy 22 Feb 2019, 14:00 UTC Here's a fun thing about galaxies: Sometimes they collide. It's hard to imagine such a colossal event, a cataclysm on a scale a million trillion kilometers across. When it happens, the gravity of each galaxy grapples with the other, distorting their shapes, drawing out tens-of-thousands-of-light-years-long streamers of gas and stars, stretching toward each others like the yearning of a lover's arms.
Scientific American 22 Feb 2019, 12:00 UTC Orange skies, icy dunes and methane clouds—no, it’s not some post-apocalyptic picture of Earth. It’s what Saturn’s moon Titan might look like to explorers. While it doesn’t sound like paradise, scientists, including my colleagues in chemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder, think Titan has enough in common with Earth that it’s worth studying. But is there life on Titan? Right now, we can’t say for sure.
Universe Today 22 Feb 2019, 05:01 UTC Billions of years ago, Mars was likely a much warmer and wetter place than the cold, dry, barren world we see today. Whether there was life there or not remains an open question. But there’s a massive, growing wall of evidence showing that Mars may have had the necessary conditions for life in the past, including at least one system of river valley networks.