NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 22 Jun 2018, 13:55 UTC In astronomy, the devil is in the details — as this image, taken by the NASA/ESA (European Space Agency) Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide-Field Camera 3, demonstrates. The numerous fuzzy blobs and glowing shapes scattered across this image make up a galaxy cluster named RXC J0949.8+1707. Located to the upper right of the frame sits an especially beautiful and interesting barred spiral galaxy, seen face-on. In the past decade, astronomers peering at this galaxy have possibly discovered not one but three examples of a cosmic phenomenon known as a supernova, the magnificently bright explosion of a star nearing the end of its life.
ESO Top News 21 Jun 2018, 18:00 UTC Astronomers using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, have made the most precise test yet of Einstein’s general theory of relativity outside the Milky Way. The nearby galaxy ESO 325-G004 acts as a strong gravitational lens, distorting light from a distant galaxy behind it to create an Einstein ring around its centre. By comparing the mass of ESO 325-G004 with the curvature of space around it, the astronomers found that gravity on these astronomical length-scales behaves as predicted by general relativity. This rules out some alternative theories of gravity.
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory 21 Jun 2018, 15:00 UTC A new study using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory indicates that black holes have squelched star formation in small, yet massive galaxies known as "red nuggets", as reported in our latest press release. The results suggest some red nugget galaxies may have used some of the untapped stellar fuel to grow their central supermassive black holes to unusually massive proportions.
ESA Top News 21 Jun 2018, 12:00 UTC All high-resolution images and the underpinning data from Rosetta’s pioneering mission at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko are now available in ESA’s archives, with the last release including the iconic images of finding lander Philae, and Rosetta’s final descent to the comet’s surface.
MIT 21 Jun 2018, 03:59 UTC Scientists at MIT and elsewhere have analyzed data from K2, the follow-up mission to NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, and have discovered a trove of possible exoplanets amid some 50,000 stars. In a paper that appears online today in The Astronomical Journal, the scientists report the discovery of nearly 80 new planetary candidates, including a particular standout: a likely planet that orbits the star HD 73344, which would be the brightest planet host ever discovered by the K2 mission.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 20 Jun 2018, 19:06 UTC A storm of tiny dust particles has engulfed much of Mars over the last two weeks and prompted NASA's Opportunity rover to suspend science operations. But across the planet, NASA's Curiosity rover, which has been studying Martian soil at Gale Crater, is expected to remain largely unaffected by the dust. While Opportunity is powered by sunlight, which is blotted out by dust at its current location, Curiosity has a nuclear-powered battery that runs day and night.
ESA Top News 20 Jun 2018, 17:00 UTC After a nearly twenty-year long game of cosmic hide-and-seek, astronomers using ESA’s XMM-Newton space observatory have finally found evidence of hot, diffuse gas permeating the cosmos, closing a puzzling gap in the overall budget of ‘normal’ matter in the Universe.
ESA Top News 20 Jun 2018, 16:00 UTC Sometimes, nature is the best art director! When Uwe Reichert grabbed his camera and tripod on the evening of 16 June 2018, he intended simply to image the conjunction of the then-three-day old Moon and the bright Venus. In his backyard, near Heidelberg, Germany, trees and bushes blocked the view towards the western horizon, so he strolled through the neighbourhood searching for a better viewpoint. After taking a few pictures from various positions, he finally ended up on the outskirts of the town where he could see both celestial objects shining above some scattered clouds in the far distance. He set the focal length of his 100-400mm telephoto lens to 180mm, chose a small aperture of f/10 so that bright Venus might produce some pictorial rays and switched the sensitivity to ISO 4000 to keep the exposure time short enough to avoid blurring due to Earth’s rotation. By cosmic chance, in the same instant that he pressed the button of the camera's remote control, Reichert saw something bright falling from the sky.
ESA Top News 19 Jun 2018, 09:20 UTC Have you ever considered yourself capable of manipulating gravity? When you grip an object, you are doing just that. Gravity is constantly exerting its force on objects, most notably by keeping everything weighed down. But when you lift a cup to your mouth, you are playing against gravity. Despite gravity being a force of nature, living with it does not come naturally to humans; we learn how to work with gravity in infancy when we pick up objects and learn to adjust our grip to its weight and gravitational force.