Astronomy & Space News

  • Bright points in sun's atmosphere mark patterns deep in its interior
    18 April 2014, 1:17 am
    Like a balloon bobbing along in the air while tied to a child's hand, a tracer has been found in the sun's atmosphere to help track the flow of material coursing underneath the sun's surface.
  • Vitamin B3 might have been made in space, delivered to Earth by meteorites
    18 April 2014, 1:17 am
    Ancient Earth might have had an extraterrestrial supply of vitamin B3 delivered by carbon-rich meteorites, according to a new analysis. The result supports a theory that the origin of life may have been assisted by a supply of key molecules created in space and brought to Earth by comet and meteor impacts.
  • First potentially habitable Earth-sized planet confirmed by Gemini and Keck observatories
    17 April 2014, 8:19 pm
    The first Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of another star has been confirmed by observations with both the W. M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini Observatory. The initial discovery, made by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, is one of a handful of smaller planets found by Kepler and verified using large ground-based telescopes. It also confirms that Earth-sized planets do exist in the habitable zone of other stars.
  • A cross-section of the universe
    17 April 2014, 6:44 pm
    An image of a galaxy cluster gives a remarkable cross-section of the universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range from cosmic near neighbors to objects seen in the early years of the universe. The 14-hour exposure shows objects around a billion times fainter than can be seen with the naked eye.
  • Mars: Meteorites yield clues to Red Planet's early atmosphere
    16 April 2014, 8:33 pm
    Geologists analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars to understand the history of the Martian atmosphere. Their new article shows the atmospheres of Mars and Earth diverged in important ways early in the solar system's 4.6 billion year evolution.
  • Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life
    15 April 2014, 9:37 pm
    A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research. In fact, sometimes it may help. That's because such "tilt-a-worlds," as astronomers sometimes call them -- turned from their orbital plane by the influence of companion planets -- are less likely than fixed-spin planets to freeze over, as heat from their host star is more evenly distributed.
  • NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of a Saturn moon
    15 April 2014, 12:03 am
    NASA's Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet's known moons.
  • Cosmic slurp: Supercomputers help astronomers understand and predict how black holes swallow stars
    14 April 2014, 9:08 pm
    A 'tidal disruption' occurs when a star orbits too close to a black hole and gets usurped. Researchers are using supercomputers to simulate tidal disruptions to better understand the dynamics of the process. Doing so will help astronomers find many more possible candidates of tidal disruptions in sky surveys and reveal details of how stars and black holes interact.
  • International Space Station to beam video via laser back to Earth
    14 April 2014, 4:30 pm
    A team of about 20 working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., through the lab's Phaeton early-career-hire program, led the development of the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) investigation, which is preparing for an April 14 launch to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX-3 mission. The goal? NASA's first optical communication experiment on the orbital laboratory.
  • Faraway moon or faint star? Possible exomoon found
    12 April 2014, 3:41 pm
    Titan, Europa, Io and Phobos are just a few members of our solar system's pantheon of moons. Are there are other moons out there, orbiting planets beyond our sun? Researchers have spotted the first signs of an "exomoon," and though they say it's impossible to confirm its presence, the finding is a tantalizing first step toward locating others. The discovery was made by watching a chance encounter of objects in our galaxy, which can be witnessed only once.


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Copyright © 2014 Alfonso Fernandez-Barandiaran