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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, June 29, 2015

Monster black hole wakes up after 26 years

Over the past week, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Integral satellite has been observing an exceptional outburst of high-energy light produced by a black hole that is devouring material from its stellar companion. X-rays and gamma rays poin...

Can planets be rejuvenated around dead stars?

For a planet, this would be like a day at the spa. After years of growing old, a massive planet could, in theory, brighten up with a radiant youthful glow. Rejuvenated planets, as they are nicknamed, are only hypothetical. But new research from NASA&...
Friday, June 26, 2015

New supercomputer model shows planet-making waves in nearby debris disk

A new NASA supercomputer simulation of the planet and debris disk around the nearby star Beta Pictoris reveals that the planet’s motion drives spiral waves throughout the disk, a phenomenon that causes collisions among the orbiting debris. Patt...

M87 has swallowed an entire galaxy in the last billion years

New observations with the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) have revealed that the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 (M87) has swallowed an entire medium-sized galaxy over the last billion years. For the first ti...
Thursday, June 25, 2015

ALMA detects first traces of carbon “smog” permeating interstellar atmospheres of early galaxies

Astronomers study the elements scattered between the stars to learn about the internal workings of galaxies, their motion, and chemistry. To date, however, attempts to detect the telltale radio signature of carbon in the early universe have been thwa...

Hubble sees a “behemoth” bleeding atmosphere around a warm Neptune-sized exoplanet

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an immense cloud of hydrogen dubbed "The Behemoth" bleeding off a planet orbiting a nearby star. The enormous comet-like feature is about 50 times the size of the parent star. The hydrog...
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Get set for Asteroid Day

With less than one week to go before the first official Asteroid Day on June 30, local organizers are making final preparations for more than 50 public events worldwide to increase education and awareness about asteroids and how to better detect them...

Chandra captures X-ray echoes pinpointing distant neutron star

Astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have discovered the largest and brightest set of rings from X-ray light echoes ever observed. These extraordinary rings, produced by an intense flare from a neutron star, provide astronomers a ...

NASA simulation suggests black holes may make ideal dark matter labs

A new NASA computer simulation shows that dark matter particles colliding in the extreme gravity of a black hole can produce strong, potentially observable gamma-ray light. Detecting this emission would provide astronomers with a new tool for underst...
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Veteran spacecraft reaches 60,000th lap around Mars, no pit stops

NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft reached a major milestone today when it completed its 60,000th orbit since arriving at the Red Planet in 2001. Named after the bestselling novel 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, Odyssey began orbiting M...

Astronomers discover more than 800 dark galaxies in the famous Coma Cluster

A group of researchers from the Stony Brook University (the State University of New York) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan has discovered 854 ultra-dark galaxies in the Coma Cluster by analyzing archival data from the Subaru Telesco...
Monday, June 22, 2015

Hubble sees the “teenage years” of quasars

Astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope’s infrared vision to uncover the mysterious early formative years of quasars, the brightest objects in the universe. Hubble’s sharp images unveil chaotic galaxy collisions that give birth t...

Magnetic field discovery gives clues to galaxy-formation processes

Astronomers making a detailed multi-telescope study of a nearby galaxy have discovered a magnetic field coiled around the galaxy’s main spiral arm. The discovery, they said, helps explain how galactic spiral arms are formed. The same study also...
Friday, June 19, 2015

Hot lava flows discovered on Venus

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Venus Express has found the best evidence yet for active volcanism on Earth’s neighbor planet. Seeing the planet’s surface is extremely difficult due to its thick atmosphere, but radar observations...

The Very Large Array reveals “bashful” black hole in neighboring galaxy

Thanks to the extraordinary sensitivity of the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), astronomers have detected what they believe is the long-sought radio emission coming from a supermassive black hole at the center of one of our closest neighboring ...
Thursday, June 18, 2015

ALMA weighs supermassive black hole at center of distant spiral galaxy

Supermassive black holes lurk at the center of every large galaxy. These cosmic behemoths can be millions to billions of times more massive than the Sun. Determining just how massive, however, has been daunting, especially for spiral galaxies and the...

Exoplanet smaller than Earth gets its size and mass measured

A team of astronomers has measured the mass and size of a Mars-sized planet orbiting a red dwarf star about 200 light years from our solar system. The planet, named Kepler-138b, is the first exoplanet smaller than Earth to have both its mass and its ...
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Best observational evidence of first-generation stars in the universe

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) have discovered the brightest galaxy in the early universe and found strong evidence that examples of the first generation of stars lurk within it. These mas...

Scientists find methane in Mars meteorites

An international team of researchers has discovered traces of methane in martian meteorites, a possible clue in the search for life on the Red Planet. The researchers examined samples from six meteorites of volcanic rock that originated on Mars. The...
Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Different faces of Pluto emerging in new images from New Horizons

The surface of Pluto is becoming better resolved as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft speeds closer to its July flight through the Pluto system. A series of new images obtained by the spacecraft’s telescopic Long Range Reconnaissance Image...

Lab mimicry opens a window to the deep interiors of stars and planets

The matter that makes up distant planets and even more distant stars exists under extreme pressure and temperature conditions. This matter includes members of a family of seven elements called the noble gases, some of which — such as helium and...
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