Astronomy & Space News

  • NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory celebrates 15th anniversary
    22 July 2014, 6:48 pm
    Fifteen years ago, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. Since its deployment on July 23, 1999, Chandra has helped revolutionize our understanding of the universe through its unrivaled X-ray vision.
  • NASA's Fermi finds a 'transformer' pulsar
    22 July 2014, 6:04 pm
    In late June 2013, an exceptional binary containing a rapidly spinning neutron star underwent a dramatic change in behavior never before observed. The pulsar's radio beacon vanished, while at the same time the system brightened fivefold in gamma rays, the most powerful form of light, according to measurements by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
  • Hubble traces halo of a galaxy more accurately than ever before: An in-depth look at giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A
    22 July 2014, 4:22 pm
    Astronomers have probed the extreme outskirts of the stunning elliptical galaxy Centaurus A. The galaxy's halo of stars has been found to extend much further from the galaxy's center than expected and the stars within this halo seem to be surprisingly rich in heavy elements. This is the most remote portion of an elliptical galaxy ever to have been explored.
  • Transiting exoplanet with longest known year: 704 Earth days
    21 July 2014, 8:22 pm
    Astronomers have discovered a transiting exoplanet with the longest known year. Kepler-421b circles its star once every 704 days. In comparison, Mars orbits our Sun once every 780 days. Most of the 1,800-plus exoplanets discovered to date are much closer to their stars and have much shorter orbital periods.
  • Oceans vital for possibility for alien life
    21 July 2014, 2:34 am
    Researchers have made an important step in the race to discover whether other planets could develop and sustain life. New research shows the vital role of oceans in moderating climate on Earth-like planets Until now, computer simulations of habitable climates on Earth-like planets have focused on their atmospheres. But the presence of oceans is vital for optimal climate stability and habitability.
  • Looking back at the Jupiter crash 20 years later
    18 July 2014, 4:30 pm
    Twenty years ago, human and robotic eyes observed the first recorded impact between cosmic bodies in the solar system, as fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into the atmosphere of Jupiter. Between July 16 and July 22, 1994, space- and Earth-based assets managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, joined an armada of other NASA and international telescopes, straining to get a glimpse of the historic event.
  • NASA rover's images show laser flash on Martian rock
    18 July 2014, 4:22 pm
    Flashes appear on a baseball-size Martian rock in a series of images taken Saturday, July 12 by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the arm of NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover. The flashes occurred while the rover's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument fired multiple laser shots to investigate the rock's composition.
  • Rosetta spacecraft approaching twofold comet
    18 July 2014, 4:20 pm
    As the European Space Agency's spacecraft Rosetta is slowly approaching its destination, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet is again proving to be full of surprises. New images obtained by OSIRIS, the onboard scientific imaging system, confirm the body's peculiar shape hinted at in earlier pictures. Comet 67P is obviously different from other comets visited so far.
  • Lunar pits could shelter astronauts, reveal details of how 'man in the moon' formed
    18 July 2014, 12:04 am
    While the moon's surface is battered by millions of craters, it also has over 200 holes -- steep-walled pits that in some cases might lead to caves that future astronauts could explore and use for shelter, according to new observations.
  • Sharpest map of Mars surface properties
    16 July 2014, 8:13 pm
    A heat-sensing camera has provided data to create the most detailed global map yet made of Martian surface properties. Surface properties tell geologists about the physical nature of a planet or moon's surface. Is a particular area coated with dust, and if so, how thick is it likely to be? Where are the outcrops of bedrock? How loose are the sediments that fill this crater or that valley? A map of surface properties lets scientists begin to answer questions such as these.

 

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Copyright © 2014 Alfonso Fernandez-Barandiaran