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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.

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Hubble image shows cosmic wind creating "Pillars of Destruction"

Astronomers have long known that powerful cosmic winds can sometimes blow through galaxies, sweeping out interstellar material and stopping future star formation. Now they have a clearer snapshot of how it happens. A Yale University analysis of one ...

Fossil star clusters reveal their age

Using a new age-dating method and the W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, an international team of astronomers have determined that ancient star clusters formed in two distinct epochs — the first 12.5 billion years ago and the second 11.5 billi...
Friday, July 24, 2015

New Horizons team finds haze, flowing ice on Pluto

Flowing ice and a surprising extended haze are among the newest discoveries from NASA’s New Horizons mission, which reveal distant Pluto to be an icy world of wonders. “We knew that a mission to Pluto would bring some surprises, and now &...

Brown dwarfs, stars share formation process, new study indicates

Astronomers using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) have discovered jets of material ejected by still-forming young brown dwarfs. The discovery is the first direct evidence that brown dwarfs, intermediate in mass between stars and planets, ar...
Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pulsar punches hole in stellar disk

A fast-moving pulsar appears to have punched a hole in a disk of gas around its companion star and launched a fragment of the disk outward at a speed of about 4 million mph (6.4 million km/h). NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is tracking this c...

Kepler mission discovered bigger, older cousin to Earth

NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-sized planet in the “habitable zone” around a Sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the...
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

ALMA witnesses assembly of galaxies in the early universe for the first time

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has been used to detect the most distant clouds of star-forming gas yet found in normal galaxies in the early universe. The new observations allow astronomers to start to see how the first galax...

New Horizons finds second mountain range in Pluto’s “heart”

A newly discovered mountain range lies near the southwestern margin of Pluto’s Tombaugh Regio (Tombaugh Region), situated between bright icy plains and dark heavily cratered terrain. This image was acquired by New Horizons’ Long Range Rec...
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New Horizons captures two of Pluto's smaller moons

Pluto has five known moons. In order of distance from Pluto, they are: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. While Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, has grabbed most of the lunar spotlight, two of Pluto’s smaller and lesser-known satellite...

Dead galaxies in Coma Cluster may be packed with dark matter

Galaxies in a cluster roughly 300 million light-years from Earth could contain as much as 100 times more dark matter than visible matter, according to an Australian study. The research used powerful computer simulations to study galaxies that have f...
Monday, July 20, 2015

Internet investor Yuri Milner joins with Berkeley in $100 million search for extraterrestrial intelligence

The Breakthrough Prize Foundation and its founder, internet investor Yuri Milner, have signed a contract with the University of California, Berkeley, to lead a major escalation in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). The foundation h...

Satellite camera provides “EPIC” view of Earth

A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) away. The color images of Earth from NASA’s Earth Polychromatic...
Friday, July 17, 2015

Gaia satellite and amateur astronomers spot one in a billion star

An international team of researchers, with the assistance of amateur astronomers, has discovered a unique binary star system — the first known such system where one star completely eclipses the other. It is a type of a two-star system known as ...

Pluto’s icy plains, pits, and mountains take shape in Tombaugh Regio

NASA’s New Horizons team released the latest set of Pluto imagery Friday afternoon. And among the most fascinating finds are the dwarf planet’s smooth, craterless plains — informally dubbed Sputnik Planum — which push up agai...
Thursday, July 16, 2015

The mysterious “lakes” on Saturn’s moon Titan

Saturn's moon Titan is home to seas and lakes filled with liquid hydrocarbons, but what forms the depressions on the surface? A new study using data from the joint NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) Cassini mission suggests the moon's surface disso...

A dark matter bridge in our cosmic neighborhood

By using the best available data to monitor galactic traffic in our neighborhood, Noam Libeskind from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) and his collaborators have built a detailed map of how nearby galaxies move. In it, they have d...
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Jupiter twin discovered around solar twin

An international group of astronomers has used the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) 3.6-meter telescope to identify a planet just like Jupiter orbiting at the same distance from a Sun-like star, HIP 11915. According to current theories, th...

Pluto’s bright heart and Charon’s dark spot revealed in HD

NASA has released the latest batch of images of Pluto and its complex system of moons, revealing the dwarf planet’s heart in stunning detail. The white heart shape was Pluto’s most prominent feature as the New Horizons spacecraft was sti...

Discovery of a new class of particles at the LHC

The LHCb experiment at CERN’s Large Hadson Collider has reported the discovery of a class of particles known as pentaquarks. “The pentaquark is not just any new particle,” said LHCb spokesperson Guy Wilkinson. “It represents ...
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pluto and Charon show craters, dark spots, and even signs of snow as New Horizons flies by

Today, astronomy took the greatest step forward in understanding the outer solar system since Clyde Tombaugh first found Pluto on the blink comparator at Lowell Observatory in 1930. NASA's New Horizons sent its signal home just before 9 p.m. EDT Tues...

NASA's three-billion-mile journey to Pluto reaches historic encounter

After a decadelong journey through our solar system, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto on Tuesday, about 7,750 miles (12,500 kilometers) above the surface — roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India — making i...

Astronomy summer school radar observations shine new light on near-Earth asteroid

A team of scientists participating in a radio astronomy summer school had the unexpected opportunity to observe a recently discovered near-Earth asteroid as it zipped past our planet July 7. The observations were made using the combined power of the ...

Live coverage: New Horizons' historic Pluto flyby

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has been traveling for nine and a half years, speeding ever closer to our solar system’s last major unexplored world: Pluto. For the first time ever, scientists are getting close-up views of the most popular...
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