NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 22 Sep 2017, 19:09 UTC To celebrate the legacy of ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, which had significant NASA contributions, the European Space Agency (ESA) has designated this week as Herschel Week, highlighting some of the mission's accomplishments.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 22 Sep 2017, 13:41 UTC Galaxy NGC 6753, imaged here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is a whirl of color — the bursts of blue throughout the spiral arms are regions filled with young stars glowing brightly in ultraviolet light, while redder areas are filled with older stars emitting in the cooler near-infrared.
ASTRON 22 Sep 2017, 07:14 UTC The Pierre Auger Collaboration, in which ASTRON is a partner, reports observational evidence demonstrating that cosmic rays with energies a million times greater than that of the protons accelerated in the Large Hadron Collider come from much further away than from our own Galaxy. These findings are published in Science on 22 September 2017.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) 21 Sep 2017, 19:50 UTC Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio telescope system have discovered the closest pair of supermassive black holes yet found. The black holes are at the core of a galaxy called NGC 7674, about 400 million light-years from Earth. With a combined mass roughly 40 million times that of the Sun, the two black holes apparently are separated by only about one light-year. The previous record-holder, also discovered with the VLBA, is a pair of supermassive black holes some 24 light-years apart. The black holes in NGC 7674 are estimated to orbit each other about once every 100,000 years. The presence of two such monsters at the center of a single galaxy means that the galaxy merged with another some time in the past. The discovery was made by researchers from the National Center for Radio Astrophysics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, in Pune, India, and the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. They announced their discovery in the journal Nature Astronomy, and in a press release. The Long Baseline Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 21 Sep 2017, 14:06 UTC Cambridge, MA - When fast radio bursts, or FRBs, were first detected in 2001, astronomers had never seen anything like them before. Since then, astronomers have found a couple of dozen FRBs, but they still don’t know what causes these rapid and powerful bursts of radio emission.
Europlanet Research Infrastructure 21 Sep 2017, 10:00 UTC European Planetary Science Congress 2017 Press Notice Thursday, 21st September Solar eruption ‘photobombed’ Mars encounter with Comet Siding Spring When Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) passed just 140,000 kilometres from Mars on 19th October 2014, depositing a large amount of debris in the martian atmosphere, space agencies coordinated multiple spacecraft to witness the largest meteor shower in recorded history. It was a rare opportunity, as this kind of planetary event occurs only once every 100,000 years. However, scientists analysing the data have found that a very powerful Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) launched by the Sun also arrived at Mars 44 hours before the comet, creating significant disturbances in the martian upper atmosphere and complicating analysis of the data. Results describing the combined effects of the comet and the CME throughout the martian atmosphere are being presented in a special session at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2017 in Riga on Thursday, 21st September. Dr Beatriz Sanchez-Cano, of the University of Leicester and co-organiser of the session, explains: “Comet Siding Spring flew very close to Mars, at one third of the Earth-Moon distance. This is one of the most exciting planetary events that we’ll see in our lifetime. Mars was ...
SETI Institute 20 Sep 2017, 21:25 UTC Presented by the SETI Institute and SRI, the next SETI Talks will feature SETI Institute scientist Matt Tiscareno. Matt has been working on Cassini since 2004, studying Saturn’s rings using images from the main camera. In the past few years, Matt took a leading role in planning Cassini’s close-up images of Saturn’s rings during the Ring Grazing Orbits and the Grand Finale.
HubbleSite NewsCenter -- Latest News Releases 20 Sep 2017, 17:00 UTC An Asteroid That Split in Two 5,000 Years Ago Is Spouting a Comet Tail Astronomers categorize the minor bodies in the solar system according to their location and physical composition. Comets are a loose collection of ice and dust that fall in toward the Sun from beyond the orbits of the major planets, and grow long tails of dust and gas along the way. Asteroids are rocky or metallic and are relegated to a zone between Mars and Jupiter. But nature isn't that tidy. The Hubble Space Telescope photographed a pair of asteroids orbiting each other that have a tail of dust, which is definitely a comet-like feature. The odd object, called 2006 VW139/288P, is the first known binary asteroid that is also classified as a main-belt comet. Roughly 5,000 years ago, 2006 VW139/288P probably broke into two pieces due to a fast rotation.