Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) 12 Jul 2009, 15:00 UTC As we get closer to finding analogues of Earth, an important consideration for the characterization of extrasolar planetary atmospheres is what the transmission spectrum of our planet looks like. Recently a team of astronomers, using LIRIS on the William Herschel Telescope and ALFOSC on the Nordic Optical Telescope simultaneously, have been able to obtain for the first time the optical and near-infrared transmission spectrum of the Earth during a lunar eclipse.
Gemini Observatory 10 Jul 2009, 19:16 UTC Using the Altair adaptive optics system with the Gemini Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIFS) on Gemini North, a US/Australian team have obtained unprecedented high-spatial resolution integral field spectra of the Ultra-Compact H II Region K3-50A. The study reveals never-before-seen morphology and kinematics within this complex region of star formation
ESA Top News 10 Jul 2009, 08:15 UTC Herschel has carried out the first test observations with all its instruments, with spectacular results. Galaxies, star-forming regions and dying stars comprised the telescope’s first targets. The instruments provided spectacular data on their first attempt, finding water and carbon and revealing dozens of distant galaxies.
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory 9 Jul 2009, 17:00 UTC This beautiful image gives a new look at Stephan's Quintet, a compact group of galaxies discovered about 130 years ago and located about 280 million light years from Earth.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 8 Jul 2009, 19:07 UTC Engineers used straight-backward driving of a test rover on Earth on Wednesday, July 8, as they evaluate maneuvers that might be useful for getting Spirit out of a sandtrap on Mars.
Keck Observatory 8 Jul 2009, 17:00 UTC Mauna Kea, Hawai’i—Astronomers have yet again rewritten the record books for discovering the most distant supernovae. Using Hawaii’s W. M. Keck Observatory and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), a team has identified remnants of two massive stars that exploded roughly 11 billion years ago. Studying the deaths of these early stars is essential to understanding the evolution of the Universe and how its elements were formed and distributed to create later stars and even planets, said cosmologist Jeff Cooke of the University of California, Irvine. He added that while the newly identified explosions may be the farthest of any supernovae type found…
ASI Agenzia Spaziale Italiana 8 Jul 2009, 15:04 UTC For their entire lifespan they do nothing but spin in a vortex until they age, slow down and finally subside. But if they encounter a nearby star, some very old pulsars that are about to die and are almost immobile come back to life and start rotating again like spinning tops at dizzying speeds: 100, 200 and even 1000 revolutions per second. The revived pulsar spins with the energy of a second childhood infused by matter that it ‘steals’ from the nearby star. This ‘stellar resurrection’ phenomenon has been observed in gamma rays by the Fermi satellite (the result of an international collaboration between ASI, INFN and INAF) that has recently celebrated its first birthday. This discovery, announced by a team of researchers (which includes many Italians) in Science Express, the pre-print edition of the American journal Science, makes a pair with another head-spinning discovery for scientists dealing with high energies. In a second article, researchers have illustrated in detail how Fermi, the most powerful gamma-ray telescope in orbit, has managed to get images of previously unidentified cosmic objects that emit gamma radiation pulses. The mystery was solved with the help of LAT (Large Area Telescope), the Italian-made highly sensitive ...
ESA Top News 8 Jul 2009, 12:03 UTC On 29 and 30 June the ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, David Southwood, met NASA’s Associate Administrator for Science, Ed Weiler, in Plymouth, UK, to establish a way for a progressive programme for exploration of the Red Planet. The outcome of the bilateral meeting was an agreement to create a Mars Exploration Joint Initiative (MEJI) that will provide a framework for the two agencies to define and implement their scientific, programmatic and technological goals at Mars.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Press Releases 8 Jul 2009, 06:00 UTC The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. would like to an