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20 Jun 2019, 16:00 UTC Summary: Using the both ALMA and the VLT, astronomers have imaged the cold, rock-strewn rings encircling the planet Uranus. Rather than observing the reflected sunlight from these rings, ALMA and the VLT imaged the millimeter and mid-infrared “glow” naturally emitted by the frigidly cold particles of the rings themselves.The rings of Uranus are invisible to all but the largest telescopes — they weren’t even discovered until 1977 — and they stand out as surprisingly bright in new thermal images of the planet taken by two large telescopes in Chile.The thermal glow gives astronomers another window onto the rings, which have been seen only because they reflect a little light in the visible, or optical, range and in the near-infrared. The new images taken by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)Funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and its international partners (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ), ALMA is among the most complex and powerful astronomical observatories on Earth or in space. The telescope is an array of 66 high-precision dish antennas in northern Chile. See more here and the Very Large Telescope (VLT) allowed the team for the first time to measure the temperature of the rings: a cool 77 Kelvin, ... Next Previous
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 16 Aug 2019, 19:44 UTC NASA’s Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3) completed an initial set of tool operations, bringing the idea of using water ice or methane from other worlds as fuel for spacecraft one step closer to reality. The ability to store and transfer cryogens (super-cold hydrogen, oxygen and methane) will help spacecraft journey father into our solar system and beyond.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 16 Aug 2019, 11:30 UTC Although it looks more like an entity seen through a microscope than a telescope, this rounded object, named NGC 2022, is certainly not algae or tiny, blobby jellyfish. Instead, it is a vast orb of gas in space, cast off by an aging star. The star is visible in the orb's center, shining through the gases it formerly held onto for most of its stellar life.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 15 Aug 2019, 14:00 UTC If our eyes could see high-energy radiation called gamma rays, the Moon would appear brighter than the Sun! That’s how NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has seen our neighbor in space for the past decade.
NCCR PlanetS 14 Aug 2019, 17:03 UTC New interior models of Jupiter based on data gathered by NASA’s Juno mission suggested that the giant gas planet might not have a small compact core but rather a diluted, “fuzzy” one. Now, an international team with researchers of the University of Zürich and the NCCR PlanetS has found an explanation for this surprising Juno result. A giant impact occurring shortly after Jupiter’s formation may have disrupted and diluted its original compact core.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 13 Aug 2019, 20:22 UTC On July 24, 1969, Apollo 11 command module Columbia splashed down in the Pacific, fulfilling President Kennedy's goal to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth. Among the mission's many firsts was the acquisition and return of the first samples from another celestial body. Findings based on the 47 pounds (21.5 kilograms) of lunar rock and soil rewrotethe textbooks on both the Moon and solar system, and the samples are still being studied today by researchers using new and more sensitive instruments.
Carl Sagan Institute 13 Aug 2019, 18:43 UTC Harsh ultraviolet radiation flares from red suns, once thought to destroy surface life on planets, might help uncover hidden biospheres. Their radiation could trigger a protective glow from life on exoplanets called biofluorescence, according to new Cornell research.
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Centauri Dreams 16 Aug 2019, 18:57 UTC The faint glow of a directly imaged planet will one day have much to tell us, once we’ve acquired equipment like the next generation of extremely large telescopes (ELTs), with their apertures measuring in the tens of meters. Discovering the makeup of planetary atmospheres is an obvious deep dive for biosignatures, but there is another. Biofluorescence, a kind of reflective glow from life under stress, could be detectable in some conditions at astronomical distances.
Parker Solar Probe Mission Blog 16 Aug 2019, 17:00 UTC After Parker Solar Probe’s successful first year in space, the mission team has decided to extend science observations as the spacecraft approaches its third solar encounter.
Starts With a Bang! 16 Aug 2019, 14:01 UTC For many years, astronomers have looked forward to a coming revolution in ground-based astronomy: going from the current generation of 8-to-10 meter telescopes to the next generation of 30-meter class telescopes. Approximately a decade ago, a variety of partnerships selected their preferred sites, instruments to build, and facilities to construct. Now, in 2019, two of them are right on track, while one — the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii — is years behind. The overwhelming majority of astronomers recognize that the preferred site for TMT, atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, would be the technically superior location to build it. But doing so would ignore the objections of many citizens whose concerns and values have been marginalized for over a century. As astronomers prepare for a field-defining choice, here’s what everyone should know.
Scientific American 15 Aug 2019, 18:00 UTC Canadian telescope finds eight more repeating blasts—energetic events from deep in the cosmos
Centauri Dreams 15 Aug 2019, 17:22 UTC So much rides on the successful launch and deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope that I never want to take its capabilities for granted. But assuming that we do see JWST safely orbiting the L2 Lagrange point, the massive instrument will stay in alignment with Earth as it moves around the Sun. allowing its sunshield to protect it from sunlight and solar heating.