13 Sep 2018, 15:00 UTC The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has started a new mission to shed light on the evolution of the earliest galaxies in the Universe. The BUFFALO survey will observe six massive galaxy clusters and their surroundings. The first observations show the galaxy cluster Abell 370 and a host of magnified, gravitationally lensed galaxies around it. Next Previous
12 Sep 2018, 11:00 UTC FORS2, an instrument mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, has observed the spiral galaxy NGC 3981 in all its glory. The image was captured as part of the ESO Cosmic Gems Programme, which makes use of the rare occasions when observing conditions are not suitable for gathering scientific data. Next Previous
6 Sep 2018, 19:20 UTC Astronomers have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to discover a ring of black holes or neutron stars in a galaxy 300 million light years from Earth. This ring, while not wielding power over Middle Earth, may help scientists better understand what happens when galaxies smash into one another in catastrophic impacts. Next Previous
29 Aug 2018, 11:00 UTC The Carina Nebula, one of the largest and brightest nebulae in the night sky, has been beautifully imaged by ESO’s VISTA telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. By observing in infrared light, VISTA has peered through the hot gas and dark dust enshrouding the nebula to show us myriad stars, both newborn and in their death throes. Next Previous
17 Aug 2018, 15:00 UTC The ALMA telescope in Chile has transformed how we see the universe, showing us otherwise invisible parts of the cosmos. This array of incredibly precise antennas studies a comparatively high-frequency sliver of radio light: waves that range from a few tenths of a millimeter to several millimeters in length. Recently, scientists pushed ALMA to its limits, harnessing the array’s highest-frequency (shortest wavelength) capabilities, which peer into a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that straddles the line between infrared light and radio waves. Next Previous
16 Aug 2018, 17:00 UTC Astronomers using the ultraviolet vision of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have captured one of the largest panoramic views of the fire and fury of star birth in the distant universe. The field features approximately 15,000 galaxies, about 12,000 of which are forming stars. Next Previous
9 Aug 2018, 17:47 UTC Imagine a place where the weather forecast is always the same: scorching temperatures, relentlessly sunny, and with absolutely zero chance of rain. This hellish scenario exists on the permanent daysides of a type of planet found outside our solar system dubbed an "ultrahot Jupiter." These worlds orbit extremely close to their stars, with one side of the planet permanently facing the star. What has puzzled scientists is why water vapor appears to be missing from the toasty worlds' atmospheres, when it is abundant in similar but slightly cooler planets. Observations of ultrahot Jupiters by NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes, combined with computer simulations, have served as a springboard for a new theoretical study that may have solved this mystery. Next Previous
2 Aug 2018, 18:34 UTC Thin, red veins of energized gas mark the location of one of the larger supernova remnants in the Milky Way galaxy in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Next Previous
30 Jul 2018, 15:00 UTC Astronomers using ALMA and NOEMA have made the first definitive detection of a radioactive molecule in interstellar space. The radioactive part of the molecule is an isotope of aluminium. The observations reveal that the isotope was dispersed into space after the collision of two stars, that left behind a remnant known as CK Vulpeculae. This is the first time that a direct observation has been made of this element from a known source. Previous identifications of this isotope have come from the detection of gamma rays, but their precise origin had been unknown. Next Previous
26 Jul 2018, 15:00 UTC Astronomers using ALMA studied a cataclysmic stellar explosion known as a gamma-ray burst, or GRB, and found its enduring “afterglow.” The rebound, or reverse shock, triggered by the GRB’s powerful jets slamming into surrounding debris, lasted thousands of times longer than expected. These observations provide fresh insights into the physics of GRBs, one of the universe’s most energetic explosions. Next Previous
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 21 Sep 2018, 13:38 UTC In the northern constellation of Coma Berenices (Berenice's Hair) lies the impressive Coma Cluster — a structure of over a thousand galaxies bound together by gravity. Many of these galaxies are elliptical types, as is the brighter of the two galaxies dominating this image: NGC 4860 (center). However, the outskirts of the cluster also host younger spiral galaxies that proudly display their swirling arms. Again, this image shows a wonderful example of such a galaxy in the shape of the beautiful NGC 4858, which can be seen to the left of its bright neighbor and which stands out on account of its unusual, tangled, fiery appearance.
Europlanet Research Infrastructure 20 Sep 2018, 10:02 UTC The discovery of a microorganism that gives a candy-pink lagoon in central Spain its startling colour is providing new evidence for how life could survive on a high-salt diet on Mars or Europa.
ESA Top News 20 Sep 2018, 09:00 UTC These prominent trenches were formed by faults that pulled the planet’s surface apart less than 10 million years ago.
NASA Lunar Science Institute 19 Sep 2018, 19:54 UTC The moon is often thought of as a lifeless and inactive place. But a new study reminds us that our pale celestial guardian is more dynamic than it seems from afar. Fresh measurements of its flimsy atmosphere back up the idea that our lunar companion is surrounded by an electric shell, and that shell seems to gather power when Earth shields it from the fury of the sun during a full moon.
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Centauri Dreams 21 Sep 2018, 17:19 UTC It’s the first image of the Earth and the Moon together taken from a CubeSat, one of a pair of such tiny spacecraft NASA has despatched to Mars as part of a mission called MarCO (Mars Cube One), which will work in conjunction with the InSight lander.
Starts With a Bang! 21 Sep 2018, 14:01 UTC It’s been nearly three years since one of the most exciting proposals concerning our own cosmic backyard came out: far out beyond Neptune, there might be another planet — even more massive than Earth — in our Solar System. Unlike the tiny worlds previously discovered in the Kuiper belt, like Pluto and Eris, this would be a world that was Super-Earth sized, at perhaps ten times the Earth’s mass, responsible for kicking bizarrely-orbiting objects into our view. As Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown proposed, there would be additional pieces of evidence one would expect, and some of them started to come in. But most scientists disagree that this is good evidence at all. Instead, they contend, the data is biased. When you account for that bias, there’s no need for Planet Nine at all.
The New York Times 21 Sep 2018, 00:29 UTC On Monday, astronomers who operate NASA’s new planet-hunting satellite TESS released what they call the satellite’s “first light science image.” Taken last August, it covers a swath of the Southern Sky showing stars and constellations and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, which are nearby galaxies in their own right, hanging like extragalactic fruit in nearby space.
Geekwire 20 Sep 2018, 23:43 UTC Stratolaunch Systems, the aerospace company created by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, says it’s exploring the development of a series of rocket planes that would serve as a testbed for hypersonic flight.
Astro Bob 20 Sep 2018, 22:50 UTC The International Space Station (ISS) has a cycle. For a week or more, it only makes passes during daylight hours, so it’s invisible. Then it comes back into view in the morning sky at dawn for a couple weeks then transitions into the evening sky. After a few weeks of evening passes, it begins a new cycle with a return to daylight-only passes.
Centauri Dreams 20 Sep 2018, 16:38 UTC We’ve only orbited one object in the Solar System known to exhibit cryovolcanism, but Ceres has a lot to teach us about the subject. Unlike the lava-spewing volcanoes of Earth, an ice volcano can erupt with ammonia, water or methane in liquid or vapor form. What appear to be cryovolcanoes can be found not only on Ceres but Titan, and the phenomenon appears likely on Pluto and Charon. Neptune’s moon Triton is a special case, with rugged volcanic terrain in evidence, as opposed to much smoother surfaces without obvious volcanoes elsewhere.