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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, September 15, 2014

“Hot Jupiters” provoke their own host suns to wobble

Blame the “hot Jupiters.” These large gaseous exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — can make their suns wobble when they wend their way through their own solar systems to snuggle up against their suns, according to ...

"J" marks the spot for Rosetta's lander

Rosetta’s lander Philae will target Site J, an intriguing region on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko that offers unique scientific potential with hints of activity nearby and minimum risk to the lander compared to the other candidate sites...
Friday, September 12, 2014

Mars Curiosity rover arrives at martian mountain

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has reached the Red Planet’s Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-sized mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission’s long-term prime destination. “Curiosity now will begin a new c...

Gaia discovers its first supernova

While scanning the sky to measure the positions and movements of stars in our galaxy, Gaia has discovered its first stellar explosion in another galaxy far away. This powerful event, now named Gaia14aaa, took place in a distant galaxy some 500 mill...
Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mysterious quasar sequence explained

Quasars are supermassive black holes that live at the centers of distant massive galaxies. They shine as the most luminous beacons in the sky across the entire electromagnetic spectrum by rapidly accreting matter into their gravitationally inescapabl...

Watch coverage of a significant flare surging off the Sun

The Sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 1:48 p.m. EDT on September 10, 2014. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass throu...
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First evidence for water ice clouds found outside solar system

A team of scientists led by Carnegie's Jacqueline Faherty has discovered the first evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside our solar system. Water ice clouds exist on our gas giant planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune &mdash...

Hubble finds supernova companion star after two decades of searching

Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered a companion star to a rare type of supernova. The discovery confirms a long-held theory that the supernova, dubbed SN 1993J, occurred inside what is called a binary system, where two in...
Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Interactive dark matter could explain Milky Way’s missing satellite galaxies

Scientists believe they have found a way to explain why there are not as many galaxies orbiting the Milky Way as expected. Computer simulations of the formation of our galaxy suggest that there should be many more small galaxies around the Milky Way ...

Scientists find evidence of “diving” tectonic plates on Jupiter’s moon Europa

Scientists have found evidence of plate tectonics on Jupiter’s moon Europa. This indicates the first sign of this type of surface-shifting geological activity on a world other than Earth. Researchers have clear visual evidence of Europa’...
Monday, September 08, 2014

Evidence of forming planet discovered 335 light-years from Earth

An international team of scientists led by a Clemson University astrophysicist has discovered new evidence that planets are forming around a star about 335 light-years from Earth. The team found carbon-monoxide emission that strongly suggests a plan...

Half of all exoplanet host stars are binaries

Imagine living on an exoplanet with two suns. One you orbit, and the other is a very bright, nearby neighbor looming large in your sky. With this “second sun” in the sky, nightfall might be a rare event, perhaps only coming seasonally to ...
Friday, September 05, 2014

Closest-ever comet orbiter streams data from bi-lobed “rubber ducky”

As the spacecraft Rosetta approaches an oddly-shaped “rubber ducky” for the closest comet observations ever made, the spacecraft’s instruments are already gathering data that may lead to new insights about how these heavenly bodies ...

Asteroid to safely pass close to Earth on Sunday

A small asteroid, designated 2014 RC, will safely pass close to Earth on Sunday, September 7, 2014. At the time of closest approach, based on current calculations to be about 2:18 p.m. EDT, the asteroid will be roughly over New Zealand. From its refl...
Thursday, September 04, 2014

Newly identified galactic supercluster is home to the Milky Way

Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT), among others, have determined that our Milky Way Galaxy is part of a newly identified ginormous supercluster of galaxies, which they have dubbed “Laniakea,&rd...

Icy aquifers on Titan transform methane rainfall

The NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) Cassini mission has revealed hundreds of lakes and seas spread across the north polar region of Saturn’s moon Titan. These lakes are filled not with water but with hydrocarbons, a form of organic compoun...
Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Cosmic forecast: Dark clouds will give way to sunshine

Lupus 4, a spider-shaped blob of gas and dust, blots out background stars like a dark cloud on a moonless night in this intriguing new image. Although gloomy for now, dense pockets of material within clouds such as Lupus 4 are where new stars form an...
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Orion rocks! Pebble-sized particles may jump-start planet formation

Rocky planets like Earth start out as microscopic bits of dust tinier than a grain of sand, or so theories predict. Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Green Bank Telescope (GBT) have discovered that filaments of star-for...
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