10 Jun 2019, 13:00 UTC
Breakthrough Watch and the European Southern Observatory achieve “first light” on upgraded planet-finding instrument to search for Earth-like planets in nearest star systemNext Previous
5 Jun 2019, 17:00 UTC ** Summary: New ALMA observations reveal a never-before-seen disk of cool, interstellar gas wrapped around the supermassive black holeSupermassive Black HoleA black hole that has a million or as much as a billion solar masses. These large black holes lurk at the centers of most galaxies. at the center of the Milky Way. This nebulous disk gives astronomers new insights into the workings of accretion Accretion diskA disk of gas that accumulates around a center of gravitational attraction, such as a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole. As the gas spirals in, it becomes hot and emits energy at a variety of wavelengths, including X-ray and radio waves. : the siphoning of material onto the surface of a black hole. The results are published in the journal Nature. **Through decades of study, astronomers have developed a clearer picture of the chaotic and crowded neighborhood surrounding the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Our galactic center is approximately 26,000 light-years from Earth and the supermassive black hole there, known as Sagittarius A* (A “star”), is 4 million times the mass of our Sun.We now know that this region is brimming with roving stars, interstellar ... Next Previous
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NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 14 Jun 2019, 15:09 UTC As NASA's Cassini dove close to Saturn in its final year, the spacecraft provided intricate detail on the workings of Saturn's complex rings, new analysis shows.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 14 Jun 2019, 12:31 UTC When massive stars die at the end of their short lives, they light up the cosmos with bright, explosive bursts of light and material known as supernovae. A supernova event is incredibly energetic and intensely luminous — so much so that it forms what looks like an especially bright new star that slowly fades away over time.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 13 Jun 2019, 16:28 UTC After nearly 16 years of exploring the cosmos in infrared light, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope will be switched off permanently on Jan. 30, 2020. By then, the spacecraft will have operated for more than 11 years beyond its prime mission, thanks to the Spitzer engineering team's ability to address unique challenges as the telescope slips farther and farther from Earth.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 13 Jun 2019, 15:21 UTC For 10 years, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has scanned the sky for gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the universe’s most luminous explosions. A new catalog of the highest-energy blasts provides scientists with fresh insights into how they work.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 13 Jun 2019, 15:00 UTC On June 12, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft performed another significant navigation maneuver—breaking its own world record for the closest orbit of a planetary body by a spacecraft.
HubbleSite NewsCenter -- Latest News Releases 12 Jun 2019, 19:00 UTC Finding common table salt — sodium chloride — on the surface of a moon is more than just a scientific curiosity when that moon is Europa, a potential abode of life.
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SpaceFlight Insider 17 Jun 2019, 04:01 UTC It’s no secret that sending the first astronauts to Mars will be a monumental challenge marked with many “firsts.” Given that NASA hasn’t launched a manned mission beyond low-Earth orbit in 47 years – crews will need a guide to show them the way. Enter the next rover the U.S. space agency plans to send to the Red Planet.
SPACE.com 16 Jun 2019, 12:08 UTC This abstract night-sky photo shows the full moon peeking through wispy clouds and barren tree branches while surrounded by brilliant, blue lunar corona. A relatively rare sight, this optical phenomenon occurs when bright moonlight is diffracted by water droplets in thin clouds that drift in front of the lunar disk.
Centauri Dreams 14 Jun 2019, 17:53 UTC We’re getting first results from the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey (GPIES), a four-year look at 531 young, nearby stars that relies on the instrument’s capabilities at direct imaging. Data from the first 300 stars have been published in The Astronomical Journal, representing the most sensitive, and certainly the largest direct imaging survey for giant planets yet attempted. The results of the statistical analysis are telling: They suggest that planets slightly more massive than Jupiter in outer orbits around stars the size of the Sun are rare.
Universe Today 14 Jun 2019, 16:27 UTC When InSight landed on Mars on Nov. 26th, 2018, it deployed a parachute to slow its descent through the thin Martian atmosphere. As it approached the surface, it fired its retro rocket to slow it even more, and then gently touched down on the surface. As it did so, its retro rockets excavated two small pits in the Martian soil.
Bad Astronomy 14 Jun 2019, 13:00 UTC In 1961, the Swedish astronomer Bengt Westerlund was taking photographic plates of the sky near or on the plane of the Milky Way — that is, looking deep into the murk of our flattened disk of a galaxy. He was observing at Mt. Stromlo in Australia, where the Milky Way rises high above the horizon, giving fantastic views of the galaxy. In the images he found something very interesting: A dense cluster of stars, heavily obscured by clouds of dust between us and it. Cold interstellar dust (located far away from and between stars in the galaxy) is made of tiny grains of rocky or carbonaceous material, and is excellent at absorbing light. It not only makes objects behind it look fainter, but it also reddens the light, in the same way the Sun looks redder when it’s near the horizon (astronomers call this extinction).