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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Astronomy News

TONIGHT'S SKY
  
  
Sun
5:13 AM
8:32 PM
 
Sun
 
Moon
12:10 PM
12:40 AM
 
 
Waxing crescent
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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, June 10, 2016

SpaceX lays out a roadmap to getting humans to Mars in a decade

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, has always had the dream of sending the human race to Mars. Now, thanks to SpaceX’s advancements, that dream is not far off. In an interview with The Washington Post, Musk divulges some new details on his plan ...

Seasonal dust storms sighted on the Red Planet

After decades of research to discern seasonal patterns in Martian dust storms from images showing the dust, but the clearest pattern appears to be captured by measuring the temperature of the Red Planet's atmosphere. For six recent Martian years, t...
Thursday, June 9, 2016

How a global telescope could reveal black holes for the first time

Black holes are ready for their close-up, thanks to a new algorithm which could give astronomers a way to take the first image of a black hole by next spring. Katie Bouman, an MIT graduate student in computer science, developed the algorithm, which e...

Water may be hiding in the most unlikely of places

Water is a hot topic in the study of exoplanets, including “hot Jupiters,” whose masses are similar to that of Jupiter, but which are much closer to their parent star than Jupiter is to the Sun. They can reach a scorching 2,000 degrees Fa...
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How a college senior found 4 new planets

Michelle Kunimoto may not be the youngest person to discover a planet, but she’s pretty close. Before the recent University of British Columbia graduate has even entered grad school — let alone had time to breathe after her undergrad &m...

Computer simulations shed light on the Milky Way's missing red giants

New computer simulations from the Georgia Institute of Technology provide a conclusive test for a hypothesis of why the center of the Milky Way appears to be filled with young stars but has very few old ones. According to the theory, the remnants of ...

Astronomers witness a supermassive black hole feeding on cold gas clouds

Researchers working at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) caught a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy 1 billion light years away having a little snack of regurgitated cold gas clouds. The process gives the researc...
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Yes, we can take the gravitational wave hunt to space

Scientists at the European Space Agency have successfully engineered the quietest environment in the known universe, paving the way for deep-space gravitational wave detectors. In December 2015, the 22-nation ESA launched the LISA Pathfinder spacecra...

Universe’s first life might have been born on carbon planets

Our Earth consists of silicate rocks and an iron core with a thin veneer of water and life. But the first potentially habitable worlds to form might have been very different. New research suggests that planet formation in the early universe might hav...

We’re getting serious about mining asteroids

As humanity gobbles up natural resources to satisfy the demands of economic expansion, a growing number of enterprising corporations are eyeing outer space as the next source of valuable commodities. Asteroid mining is making the leap from science f...
Monday, June 6, 2016

Asteroseismology may help unravel the secrets of the Milky Way

Some of the oldest sounds in the galaxy resonate within the stars of M4, one of the oldest globular clusters in our galaxy. In a paper published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), researchers from the University of Bir...

“Wasteful” galaxies launch heavy elements into surrounding halos and deep space, study finds

Galaxies “waste” large amounts of heavy elements generated by star formation by ejecting them up to a million light-years away into their surrounding halos and deep space, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder...

Hubble spots heavy, ancient, metal-filled stars pulsing away

This 10.5-billion-year-old globular cluster, NGC 6496, is home to heavy-metal stars of a celestial kind! The stars comprising this spectacular spherical cluster are enriched with much higher proportions of metals — elements heavier than hydroge...
Friday, June 3, 2016

NASA’s Hubble finds universe is expanding faster than expected

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that the universe is expanding five to nine percent faster than expected. “This surprising finding may be an important clue to understanding those mysterious parts of the un...

A new planetarium show shines a light on a dark solar system mystery

In June 1846, Urbain le Verrier laid out the case for a planet tugging on Uranus, disturbing its orbit ever so slightly. His calculations told everyone where to look. That September, Neptune was found, becoming the eighth known planet in the solar sy...

Secrets revealed from Pluto’s “twilight zone”

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft took this stunning image of Pluto only a few minutes after closest approach on July 14, 2015. The image was obtained at a high phase angle — that is, with the Sun on the other side of Pluto, as viewed by New...
Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pluto’s heart: Like a cosmic “lava lamp”

Like a cosmic lava lamp, a large section of Pluto's surface is being constantly renewed by a process called convection that replaces older surface ices with fresher material. Combining computer models with topographic and compositional data gathered ...

New observational distance record promises important tool for studying galaxies

Astronomers have used new capabilities of the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to open a whole new realm of research into how galaxies evolve and interact with their surroundings over cosmic time. They detected the ...

Jupiter’s clouds hide huge pillars of ammonia gasses

When NASA’s Galileo mission sent a probe down into Jupiter’s clouds, it sent back an unusual find: The probe seemed to be plummeting into a thick stew of slow-moving ammonia, in contrast to the more varied upper atmosphere. Now, a Berke...
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Measuring the Milky Way: one massive problem, one new solution

It is a galactic challenge, to be sure, but Gwendolyn Eadie is getting closer to an accurate answer to a question that has defined her early career in astrophysics: what is the mass of the Milky Way? The short answer, so far, is 7 x 1011 solar masse...

For some comets, breaking up is not that hard to do

A new study led by Purdue University and the University of Colorado Boulder indicates the bodies of some periodic comets — objects that orbit the Sun in less than 200 years — may regularly split in two, then reunite down the road. In fac...

This Was How NASA Envisioned a Mars Trip in the 1950s

In the 1950s, NASA was just getting its footing. It became a new agency in 1958, launching its first satellite, Pioneer 1, later that year. But even at that time, the agency had big, ambitious plans brewing, including a feasibility study on using nuc...

King Tut May Have Carried Around a Meteor-Forged Dagger

Tutankhamun, the famous pharoah of Egypt who died at the age of 19 after a 10 year reign, may have owned, and been buried with, a dagger made of a meteorite. According to a new study published in The Meteoritical Society on March 29th, 2016, research...
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Kickstarter Shines a Light on Tabby's Star

A new Kickstarter campaign could help shine a light on the “most mysterious star in the galaxy.” Yale University professor Tabetha Boyajian, for whom Tabby’s Star is named, turned to a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for further...

ESA will use its martian “webcam” for serious science

Mars Express was launched in 2003 with a simple low-resolution camera to provide visual confirmation that its Beagle 2 lander had separated. Once that was done, the camera was switched off, and the craft got on with its main mission using its “...
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