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Hubble maps a double-star system’s outbursts, and a fortuitous alignment of stars will allow us to search for planets around our nearest stellar neighbor. Hubble Maps 3-D Structure of Ejected Material Around Erupting Star Rare Stellar Alignment Offers Opportunity to Hunt for Planets
Pluto's new moons have new names, given by the public via popular vote. P4 and P5, as they were previously known, are now called Styx and Kerberos. The names match Pluto's mythological theme, since Pluto in Greek mythology was the lord of the underworld. International Astronomical Union news...
At a distance of 4.2 light-years from Earth, Proxima Centauri is just 0.2 light-years from the more-distant binary star Alpha Centauri A+B. These three stars are considered part of the triple-star system that is closest to Earth, although right now Proxima Centauri is the closest of the three...
NASA’s twin GRAIL probes were launched in 2011 to fly to the Moon and measure changes in the gravity of that body. The analysis of the data has just been published and shows a detailed map of the gravity variations. Although mass concentrations under the Moon’s surface were known, the new...
High tides happen every day, but some are higher than others. Some of the highest tides, called “perigean high tides,” occur when the Moon is closest to Earth in its monthly orbit.  When coastal storms take place during these tides, major flooding can result. National Oceanic and Atmospheric...
A new comet discovered in September 2012 is on its way for a close approach to the Sun and perhaps a brilliant appearance in Earth’s skies late in 2013. Called Comet ISON, it will be closest to the Sun in November 28, 2013 and could become visible by eye even in broad daylight. Science@NASA on...
Radio observations of the region between the two spiral galaxies nearest our own, Andromeda and Triangulum, have verified the presence of hydrogen gas clouds. The clouds are hard to find, since they are mostly composed of ionized gas that is difficult to detect. There is a trace of neutral...
New research tells us that water located deep inside both Earth and the Moon may have come from the same source, and that source is likely ancient meteorites, similar to the asteroids now populating the asteroid belt. Science Daily on the discovery Nature.com discusses the topic
Astronomers have discovered signs of rocky debris in the vicinity of white dwarf stars in the Hyades star cluster. It's possible that the debris indicates the presence of Earth-sized planets in the neighborhood. HubbleSite news release on the discovery
Using new technology, researchers have discovered an important pair of pre-biotic molecules in interstellar space. The new discoveries indicate that some basic chemicals are key steps on the path to life and may have formed on dusty ice grains floating between stars. National Radio Astronomy...
Hubble studies a strange, ancient visitor to our galaxy. Join HubbleWatch for a discussion of the "Methuselah star" HD 140283, a fast-moving star with a long and odd past. Hubble Finds Birth Certificate of Oldest Known Star
New NASA research shows that hydrogen peroxide is abundant across much of the surface of Jupiter's moon, Europa. If this material could mix into the ocean below the moon’s icy surface, it could be important energy supply for simple forms of life. Keck Observatory news release on the...
Gone but not forgotten, the Russian Mars 3 lander descended to the surface of the red planet in 1971. This first lander on Mars was meant to take images, but it unexpectedly failed and its transmissions were short-lived. Through the power of citizen scientists, the lander may have been found in...
The iconic Horsehead nebula has been the subject of astronomical imagery by amateurs and professionals alike. The region has clouds of ionized hydrogen as well as areas of dark dust that obscure new-forming stars. A new image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope shows new features and hidden stars...
The NASA spacecraft WISE has discovered a pair of stars that is now known to be the third-closest star system to Sun. The last closest system to Earth was discovered in 1916.  The newly discovered star pair is composed of two cool “brown dwarfs” 6.5 light years away from our Sun. Penn State...
The solar system -- especially the inner part -- is bathed in charged particles from the Sun and cosmic radiation. Several planets with magnetic fields, including Earth, are somewhat protected from the particles because they become trapped high above the surface by magnetic field lines. The Van...
The impact of a meteorite in Russia in February 2013 and the flyby of asteroid debris highlights that the solar system is full of rocky material. While the asteroid has been observed for some time, the smaller meteorite was unexpected. Many meteorites hit the Earth each year, but these events...
Rock samples collected in February 2013 by NASA's Curiosity rover show ancient Mars could have supported living microbes. The rover found the soil contains sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon – all elements critical for life. NASA news release on the discovery Mars...
In the three years since NASA launched the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), the spacecraft has provided continuous, high-resolution views of the Sun, helping us better understand our star and its influence on us. Among other accomplishments, SDO also has studied the atmosphere of Venus as the...
In Arthur C. Clarke's short story "Sunjammer," a spaceship designer develops a spacecraft with a large "solar sail" that propels it through space using radiation pressure from the Sun. In recent years, solar sails have jumped from the pages of science fiction into real life. In 2014, NASA plans...
A new study suggests that many of the "super-Earth" planets astronomers have discovered orbiting other stars are probably more like "mini-Neptunes" than like our rocky planet. However, moons orbiting these planets might still hold potential for hosting life. Royal Astronomical Society news...
In 2011 and 2012, NASA's Dawn spacecraft orbited the second-largest asteroid in our solar system, Vesta, providing unprecedented views of its surface. Computer simulations based on Dawn's observations suggest that violent collisions with two other space rocks carved out two giant craters on the...
Hubble finds that a planet orbiting the bright star Fomalhaut takes a wild and potentially destructive path through a vast debris field surrounding the star. Hubble Reveals Rogue Planetary Orbit for Fomalhaut b
A meteorite blasted from Mars long ago and found in the Sahara Desert in 2011 contains much more water than other Martian meteorites found so far. NASA news release BBC article on "Black Beauty"
For 520 days straight, six volunteers remained confined to a mock spacecraft in Moscow, Russia, in an experiment that simulated a round-trip voyage to Mars. Results of the study show why maintaining a healthy sleep schedule will be vital during the real thing. Space.com on Mars 500 sleep study ...
By studying archived ultraviolet observations from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) spacecraft, astronomers have determined that galaxy NGC 6872, located 212 million light-years away, is the largest spiral galaxy known. NASA news release GALEX mission
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has uncovered evidence that groundwater once seeped into a deep crater on Mars and formed a lake. Jet Propulsion Laboratory news release Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
Astronomers have found a stream of stars that they think is the remnant of a star cluster that's being ingested by our Milky Way galaxy. Yale University news release Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Taking shape 16,500 feet above sea level in the bone-dry Atacama Desert of Chile is a vast array of 66 radio antennas that will change the way we see our universe. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, will reveal never-before-seen details that could hold clues to galaxy...
What was galaxy formation like in the universe's early days? Astronomers have long wondered, and the Hubble Space Telescope is now helping to answer that question. By examining ever-deeper Hubble exposures, astronomers have identified several galaxies that formed more than 13 billion years ago,...
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