McDonald Observatory 9 Jan 2019, 16:02 UTC
ESA Top News 9 Jan 2019, 07:26 UTC The last component of British-built chameleon satellite, Eutelsat Quantum, is getting ready to leave home for good. The final piece of equipment is part of the new SSTL platform; the chassis that provides a payload with structure, power and the ability to propel itself through space. Representing a major first for the company, the platform weighs in at just over 1 tonne, which is an order of magnitude bigger than any other satellite they have built in the past. The new technologies aboard – the home-grown structure, momentum wheels and gyros – contribute to the platform enabling SSTL to enter the global geostationary satellite market.
Sloan Digital Sky Survey 8 Jan 2019, 18:29 UTC Today, at the 233rd AAS meeting in Seattle, astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) announce that they have developed a new tool to find otherwise-hidden galaxy mergers in data from the Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA) survey of SDSS. These results show that by going beyond simple searches for merging galaxies based just on how they look, astronomers will now be able find more galaxy mergers than ever before.
HubbleSite NewsCenter -- Latest News Releases 8 Jan 2019, 18:00 UTC Rocky planets orbiting red dwarf stars may be bone dry and lifeless, according to a new study using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Water and organic compounds, essential for life as we know it, may get blown away before they can reach the surface of young planets.
Hubble Space Telescope News 7 Jan 2019, 17:00 UTC The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the most detailed image yet of a close neighbour of the Milky Way — the Triangulum Galaxy, a spiral galaxy located at a distance of only three million light-years. This panoramic survey of the third-largest galaxy in our Local Group of galaxies provides a mesmerising view of the 40 billion stars that make up one of the most distant objects visible to the naked eye.
ESA Top News 7 Jan 2019, 12:13 UTC When ESA’s planned Hera mission journeys to its target binary asteroid system, it will not be alone. The spacecraft will carry two tiny CubeSats for deployment around – and eventual landing on – the Didymos asteroids. Each companion spacecraft will be small enough to fit inside a briefcase, as compared to the desk-sized Hera.
MIT 4 Jan 2019, 18:18 UTC There are more than 3,900 confirmed planets beyond our solar system. Most of them have been detected because of their “transits” — instances when a planet crosses its star, momentarily blocking its light. These dips in starlight can tell astronomers a bit about a planet’s size and its distance from its star. But knowing more about the planet, including whether it harbors oxygen, water, and other signs of life, requires far more powerful tools. Ideally, these would be much bigger telescopes in space, with light-gathering mirrors as wide as those of the largest ground observatories. NASA engineers are now developing designs for such next-generation space telescopes, including “segmented” telescopes with multiple small mirrors that could be assembled or unfurled to form one very large telescope once launched into space. NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope is an example of a segmented primary mirror, with a diameter of 6.5 meters and 18 hexagonal segments. Next-generation space telescopes are expected to be as large as 15 meters, with over 100 mirror segments.
New Horizons 2 Jan 2019, 05:02 UTC Scientists from NASA's New Horizons mission released the first detailed images of the most distant object ever explored — the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule. Its remarkable appearance, unlike anything we've seen before, illuminates the processes that built the planets four and a half billion years ago.