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News

Your online destination for news articles on planets, cosmology, NASA, space missions, and more. You’ll also find information on how to observe upcoming visible sky events such as meteor showers, solar and lunar eclipses, key planetary appearances, comets, and asteroids.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hubble finds that the nearest quasar is powered by a double black hole

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have found that Markarian 231 (Mrk 231), the nearest galaxy to Earth that hosts a quasar, is powered by two central black holes furiously whirling about each other. The finding suggests that quas...

Interstellar seeds could create oases of life

We only have one example of a planet with life: Earth. But within the next generation, it should become possible to detect signs of life on planets orbiting distant stars. If we find alien life, new questions will arise. For example, did that life ar...
Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hawaii’s Supreme Court begins to hear Thirty Meter Telescope case

Hawaii’s Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments today over the fate of the Thirty Meter Telescope, which could one day become the world’s largest. The Associated Press has put together a nice summary of the recent legal battle here. S...

Discovering dust-obscured active galaxies as they grow

A group of researchers from Ehime University, Princeton University, and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), among others, has performed an extensive search for dust-obscured galaxies (DOGs) using data obtained from the Subaru Strat...

Chandra data suggest giant collision triggered “radio phoenix”

Astronomers have found evidence for a faded electron cloud “coming back to life,” much like the mythical phoenix, after two galaxy clusters collided. This “radio phoenix,” so-called because the high-energy electrons radiate pr...
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

NASA satellites help explain coronal heating

Modern telescopes and satellites have helped us measure the blazing hot temperatures of the Sun from afar. Mostly, the temperatures follow a clear pattern: The Sun produces energy by fusing hydrogen in its core, so the layers surrounding the core gen...

New Hubble image of the Twin Jet Nebula

The shimmering colors visible in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image show off the remarkable complexity of the Twin Jet Nebula. The new image highlights the nebula's shells and knots of expanding gas in striking detail. Two iridescent lobes of...
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UCLA physicist tests theories of dark energy by mimicking the vacuum of space

Scientist uses cold atoms to probe dark energy, which is responsible for the acceleration of the universe. Besides the atoms that make up our bodies and all of the objects we encounter in everyday life, the universe also contains mysterious dark mat...

Dawn sends sharper scenes from Ceres

The closest views yet of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall conical mountain, crater formation features, and narrow braided fractures. "Dawn is performing flawle...
Monday, August 24, 2015

The tumultuous heart of our galaxy

This new image of powerful remnants of dead stars and their mighty action on the surrounding gas from the European Southern Agency’s (ESA) XMM-Newton X-ray observatory reveals some of the most intense processes taking place at the center of our...

NASA’s next big spacecraft mission could visit an ice giant

Today marks 26 years since NASA made its one and only visit to Neptune. And for years, planetary scientists have bemoaned a predicted 50-year gap between that flyby from Voyager 2 and its next mission. NASA’s Jim Green took a step toward narrow...
Friday, August 21, 2015

New data from Antarctic detector firms up cosmic neutrino sighting

Researchers using the IceCube Neutrino Observatory have sorted through the billions of subatomic particles that zip through its frozen cubic-kilometer-sized detector each year to gather powerful new evidence in support of 2013 observations confirming...

Cassini’s final breathtaking close views of Dione

A pockmarked icy landscape looms beneath NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in new images of Saturn’s moon Dione taken during the mission’s last close approach to the small icy world. Two of the new images show the surface of Dione at the be...
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mars rover moves onward after “Marias Pass” studies

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is driving toward the southwest after departing a region where for several weeks it investigated a geological contact zone and rocks that are unexpectedly high in silica and hydrogen content. The hydrogen indicates water b...

Scientists think "planetary pebbles" were the building blocks for the largest planets

Researchers at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Queen’s University in Canada have unraveled the mystery of how Jupiter and Saturn likely formed. This discovery changes our view of how all planets might have formed. The largest plan...
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Solar system formation doesn’t mean a thing without that spin

New work from Carnegie’s Alan Boss and Sandra Keiser provides surprising new details about the trigger that may have started the earliest phases of planet formation in our solar system. For decades, it’s been hypothesized that our solar ...
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dark Energy Survey finds more celestial neighbors

Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey (DES), using one of the world’s most powerful digital cameras, have discovered eight more faint celestial objects hovering near our Milky Way Galaxy. Signs indicate that they, like the objects found by the s...

LADEE spacecraft finds neon in lunar atmosphere

The Moon's thin atmosphere contains neon, a gas commonly used in electric signs on Earth because of its intense glow. While scientists have speculated on the presence of neon in the lunar atmosphere for decades, NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Envir...
Monday, August 17, 2015

First use of ISS astronaut pictures for light pollution studies

Scientists are tapping into photographs taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to reliably measure the amount of light pollution worldwide. This study not only includes the well-known signatures of cities and streets, but al...

Celestial firework marks nearest galaxy collision

A spectacular galaxy collision has been discovered lurking behind the Milky Way. The closest such system ever found, the discovery was announced by a team of astronomers led by Quentin Parker at the University of Hong Kong and Albert Zijlstra at the ...
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