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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Astronomy Magazine News


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Waning gibbous
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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, May 20, 2016

European astronomers may have found a new way to find alien planets

EU researchers have pioneered new calibration strategies for detecting "habitable" planets outside our solar system – with impressive results already. The existence of extra-terrestrial life presupposes the existence of habitable planets &ndas...

The Sky This Week: May 20 - May 29

Friday, May 20 • Another comet in the growing crowd of such objects discovered by the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii makes its appearance in May’s morning sky. Comet PANSTARRS (C/2013 X1) currently glows around 7th magnitude in eastern Aq...
Thursday, May 19, 2016

First evidence of icy comets orbiting a sun-like star

An international team of astronomers has found evidence of ice and comets orbiting a nearby sun-like star, which could give a glimpse into how our own solar system developed. Using data from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), the researchers...

Ancient tsunamis pummeled the surface of Mars

Not only was Mars once a wet planet. New evidence, published today in Nature’s Scientific Reports, paints a picture of violent tsunamis as well. Tsunamis on Earth are often caused by earthquakes on the ocean floor or similar events. To an exten...

Astronomers confirm the faintest early galaxy ever detected

An international team of scientists has detected and confirmed the faintest early-universe galaxy ever using the W. M. Keck Observatory on the summit on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The team detected the galaxy as it was 13 billion years ago, or when the univ...

Watch Mars in Opposition LIVE With Slooh Observatory

Sunday night, Mars will make its closest approach to Earth, known as opposition. Slooh Observatory will be livecasting the event, which you can see in the below media player. Opposition occurs when a planet anterior to Earth sits directly "behind" it...
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Uranus May Have a Layer That Keeps Its Glow Dim

A transition zone within Uranus' mantle may help solve the mystery of its faint glow. The ice giant shines far less than its sibling, Neptune, for reasons that have remained tantalizingly out of reach for decades. A new model suggests that including ...

Europa’s ocean may have an Earth-like chemical balance

A new NASA study modeling conditions in the ocean of Jupiter's moon Europa suggests that the necessary balance of chemical energy for life could exist there, even if the moon lacks volcanic hydrothermal activity. Europa is strongly believed to hide ...

New Horizons collects first science on a Kuiper Belt object past Pluto

Warming up for a possible extended mission as it speeds through deep space, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has now twice observed 1994 JR1, a 90-mile-wide (145 kilometers) Kuiper Belt object (KBO) orbiting more than 3 billion miles (5 billion k...
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dwarf planet Haumea’s lunar system smaller than anticipated

Haumea, a dwarf planet on the edge of our solar system, doesn’t have the same kind of moons as its well-known cousin Pluto, according to a new study. This is despite original evidence that suggested they both formed in similar giant impacts, ad...

Clues to ancient giant asteroid found in western Australia

Scientists have found evidence of a huge asteroid that struck Earth early in its life with an impact larger than anything humans have experienced. Tiny glass beads called spherules, found in northwestern Australia, were formed from vaporized materia...
Monday, May 16, 2016

Andre Brahic, discoverer of Neptune’s rings, dies at age 73

French astrophysicist Andre Brahic, one of the discoverers of Neptune's rings, died in Paris Sunday at the age of 73, his publisher Odile Jacob said. "He was a brilliant character... extraordinarily warm, profound and authentic, great scholar and a...

Hunting for hidden life on worlds orbiting old red stars

All throughout the universe, there are stars in varying phases and ages. Planetary diversity suggests that around other stars, initially frozen worlds could be the size of Earth and provide habitable conditions once the star becomes older. The oldest...
Friday, May 13, 2016

How a small satellite could reveal big details about Jupiter’s icy moon

While NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have been busy putting together flagship missions to the Europa system, a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts proposal seeks a way to do a cheap mission with the potential to map ice thickness and even sea...

Small blue galaxy could shed new light on Big Bang

A faint blue galaxy about 30 million light-years from Earth located in the constellation Leo Minor could shed new light on conditions at the birth of the universe. Astronomers at Indiana University recently found that a galaxy nicknamed Leoncino, or...

Scientists find “birthmarks” from Earth’s infancy

Richard Walker from the University of Maryland and fellow scientists have found two “birthmarks” within Earth’s mantle, consisting of silicate material formed when our planet was less than 50 million years old. The team of research...
Thursday, May 12, 2016

The rise and fall of martian lakes

There is a wealth of evidence, collected over the past few decades, suggesting liquid water was abundant in the early history of Mars. However, the size, evolution, and duration of standing bodies of water such as lakes on Mars' surface are still a m...

New analysis shows no long-term dimming around “alien megastructure” star

Tabby’s Star has been one of the most attention grabbing stars out there in the astronomy world. But when headlines suggest that there’s the very, very off-chance of an “alien megastructure” in orbit around the star, it’...

This map shows where in the sky you might find habitable exoplanets

We know of more than 3,000 planets out there in our galaxy, and the list keeps growing. But of all those planets out there, only a small handful are considered habitable. Some exoplanets are too big to have a solid surface. Others are too close in to...

Second cycle of martian seasons completing for Curiosity rover

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover completed its second martian year since landing inside Gale Crater nearly four Earth years ago, recording environmental patterns through two full cycles of martian seasons. The repetition helps distinguish seasonal effect...
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Astronomers find a system of planets that keep each other in the tightest formation seen

There’s something strange going on in the Kepler-223 system. Four sub-Neptune-size worlds migrated close into their star at some point, and they never migrated back out. They hold such a tight resonance that they’ve since been unable to m...

2007 OR10: Largest unnamed world in the solar system

Dwarf planets tend to be a mysterious bunch. With the exception of Ceres, which resides in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, all members of this class of minor planets in our solar system lurk in the depths beyond Neptune. They are far...

Metal content in early galaxies challenges star-forming theory

An International team led by scientists at ETH Zurich in Switzerland used the W. M. Keck Observatory to study the role of star formation rates in metal contents of distant galaxies. What they discovered is the amount of metals is similar, irrespectiv...
Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Kepler mission just doubled its catalog of exoplanet finds

Today, researchers on NASA’s Kepler planet hunting mission didn’t announce one new interesting planet, as they usually do. Instead, they announced about 1,200 of them. That more than doubles the number of confirmed planets in the catalog....

Flying observatory detects atomic oxygen in martian atmosphere

An instrument onboard the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) detected atomic oxygen in the atmosphere of Mars for the first time in 40 years. These atoms were found in the upper layers of the martian atmosphere known as the meso...
Monday, May 9, 2016

New model could help find gravitational waves in binary pulsars

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany, have developed an accurate model for the detection and interpretation of gravitational waves emitted by neutron stars in binary systems. This model contains, for th...

Stellar occultation offers new insights on Enceladus’ geysers

The Cassini spacecraft viewed a bright star passing behind a plume of gas and dust spewing from Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The Saturn-orbiting Cassini probe, using its Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS), was able to measure the amount of wat...
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