29 Nov 2017, 19:00 UTC A NASA-led team has found evidence that the oversized planet WASP-18b is wrapped in a smothering stratosphere loaded with carbon monoxide and devoid of water. The findings come from a new analysis of observations made by the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. Next Previous
29 Nov 2017, 11:00 UTC Astronomers using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have conducted the deepest spectroscopic survey ever. They focused on the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, measuring distances and properties of 1600 very faint galaxies including 72 galaxies that have never been detected before, even by Hubble itself. This groundbreaking dataset has already resulted in 10 science papers that are being published in a special issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics. This wealth of new information is giving astronomers insight into star formation in the early Universe, and allows them to study the motions and other properties of early galaxies — made possible by MUSE’s unique spectroscopic capabilities. Next Previous
27 Nov 2017, 16:00 UTC
Science Release: Hubble and Gaia team up to measure 3D stellar motion with record-breaking precisionNext Previous
20 Nov 2017, 16:00 UTC For the first time ever astronomers have studied an asteroid that has entered the Solar System from interstellar space. Observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that this unique object was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky or high-metal-content object. The new results appear in the journal Nature on 20 November 2017. Next Previous
16 Nov 2017, 16:38 UTC Twice as big as Earth, the super-Earth 55 Cancri e was thought to have lava flows on its surface. The planet is so close to its star, the same side of the planet always faces the star, such that the planet has permanent day and night sides. Based on a 2016 study using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists speculated that lava would flow freely in lakes on the starlit side and become hardened on the face of perpetual darkness. The lava on the dayside would reflect radiation from the star, contributing to the overall observed temperature of the planet. Next Previous
16 Nov 2017, 16:00 UTC This artist’s impression shows a cutaway view of the parts of the Universe that SDSS-V will study. SDSS-V will study millions of stars to create a map of the entire Milky Way. Farther out, the survey will get the most detailed view yet of the largest nearby galaxies like Andromeda in the Northern Hemisphere and the Large Magellanic Cloud in the Southern hemisphere. Even farther out, the survey will measure quasars, bright points of light powered by matter falling into giant black holes. Image Credit: Artist’s Conception of SDSS-V: Image by Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science/SDSS The next generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V), directed by Juna Kollmeier of the Carnegie Institution for Science, will move forward with mapping the entire sky following a $16 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The grant will kickstart a groundbreaking all-sky spectroscopic survey for a next wave of discovery, anticipated to start in 2020. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has been one of the most-successful and influential surveys in the history of astronomy, creating the most-detailed three-dimensional maps of the universe ever made, with deep multi-color images of one third of the sky, and spectra for more than three ... Next Previous
15 Nov 2017, 11:00 UTC This artist’s impression shows the temperate planet Ross 128 b, with its red dwarf parent star in the background. This planet, which lies only 11 light-years from Earth, was found by a team using ESO’s unique planet-hunting HARPS instrument. The new world is now the second-closest temperate planet to be detected after Proxima b. It is also the closest planet to be discovered orbiting an inactive red dwarf star, which may increase the likelihood that this planet could potentially sustain life. Ross 128 b will be a prime target for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope, which will be able to search for biomarkers in the planet's atmosphere. Next Previous
6 Nov 2017, 18:10 UTC Next Previous
ESA Human Spaceflight and Exploration 12 Dec 2017, 14:10 UTC ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli will return to Earth on 14 December after his third mission to the International Space Station.
ASI Agenzia Spaziale Italiana 12 Dec 2017, 12:17 UTC Data collected by the Cassini spacecraft, before it was deliberately crashed into Saturn's atmosphere in September 2017, show that the planet's illustrious rings are casting a shadow in ionized particles over the planet. Cassini has transmitted a hoard of valuable data from Saturn since it arrived at the planet in 2004.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 11 Dec 2017, 20:12 UTC
ESA Top News 11 Dec 2017, 08:11 UTC A young massive star that began life around 25 times more massive than our own Sun is shedding shells of material and fast winds to create this dynamic scene captured by ESA’s XMM-Newton. The image shows the detailed structure of the Crescent Nebula that shed a shell of material as it expanded into a red giant some 200 000 years ago. Fast winds emitted more recently have now collided with that material, causing the gasses in the bubble to heat up and emit X-rays, seen as blue in the image. Other features can also be seen, such as the green hue, generated by oxygen atoms, where the star’s wind is interacting with the surrounding interstellar medium. Density differences in the surrounding material may give rise to the different structures, such as the extended bubble segment to the top right. The star will likely end its life in a violent supernova explosion. The Crescent Nebula sits in the constellation of Cygnus about 5000 light-years away, exactly at a location in the sky that has not been accessible to XMM-Newton until recently. Although it has been well studied by other X-ray telescopes, astronomers working on XMM-Newton, which was launched on 10 December ...
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Centauri Dreams 12 Dec 2017, 17:25 UTC We’re getting interesting results from analysis of Juno’s close flybys of Jupiter. The spacecraft has detected hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur ions moving at relativistic speeds in a new radiation zone just outside the atmosphere. We have its JEDI (Jupiter Energetic Particle Detector Instrument) to thank for the detection, which was made during approaches as close as 3400 kilometers from the cloud tops. Fast moving atoms without an electric charge — energetic neutral atoms — are thought to be the source of the new radiation zone as they move from gas around Io and Europa and become ionized in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere.
io9 Space 12 Dec 2017, 15:32 UTC Tomorrow night (weather permitting), you might be able to peer up to the sky and see some of the year’s brightest meteors, the Geminids. And now, thanks to new research, you may have a better understanding of why they sometimes blow up and make those spectacular flashes.
io9 Space 12 Dec 2017, 14:10 UTC Last night was supposed to mark a historic mission for SpaceX: the first re-launch of a reusable rocket to the International Space Station. That launch has now been delayed to tomorrow at 11:24 EST at the earliest, according to a NASA blog.
Scientific American 12 Dec 2017, 14:00 UTC Most of the alien worlds closest to our own are found around the smallest, dimmest nearby stars
All About Space 12 Dec 2017, 13:55 UTC Juno’s MWR instrument can split up the different layers of Jupiter’s atmosphere to see how far down the GRS exists. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI The weird and wonderful nature of Jupiter keeps bringing us new surprises, as the NASA spacecraft, Juno, continues on it’s journey over the gas giant’s cloud tops. This time, the spacecraft has revealed that the famous cloud-top feature, the Great Red Spot (GRS), on Jupiter penetrates far below the cloud tops. Not only that, but there are two new radiation zones that had been unexplored prior to the mission. This news was announced recently at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans. Juno has many science instruments onboard, but the one responsible for uncovering the true depth of the GRS is the Microwave Radiometer (MWR). “Juno’s Microwave Radiometer has the unique capability to peer deep below Jupiter’s clouds,” says Michael Janssen, Juno co-investigator from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “It is proving to be an excellent instrument to help us get to the bottom of what makes the Great Red Spot so great.” “One of the most basic questions about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is: how deep are the roots?” says Scott ...
SPACE.com 12 Dec 2017, 12:23 UTC The region around a black hole is a playground of immense forces and energies. Now, astronomers have measured the magnetic field surrounding a black hole located roughly 8,000 light-years away, and found it was thousands of times weaker than they had thought it would be. The results confirmed decades-old models of black holes and revealed new puzzles in need of explanation.