Space


27 May 2014

Could heat from a Martian volcano create a habitable environment?


Scientists think that the heat from a volcano erupting beneath an immense glacier might have created large lakes of liquid water on Mars in the relatively recent past. And where there's water, there is also the possibility of life...

2 May 2014

Space station experiment identifies microbes that can survive unprotected in space


Scientists conducting a series of experiments on the International Space Station have found that some organisms can survive long periods exposed to the hostile environment of outer space, lending weight to the concept of panspermia, where life on Earth was seeded by bacterial colonies carried on comets and asteroids...

30 April 2014

Entire star cluster flung from distant galaxy


Astrophysicists have discovered an entire star cluster that has been ejected from the galaxy known as M87 at more than two million miles per hour. The newly discovered cluster, which astronomers named HVGC-1, will now travel through the void between the galaxies for all time...

28 April 2014

Newly discovered neighboring star as cold as the North Pole


Discovered using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and Spitzer Space Telescopes, a brown dwarf star only 7 light years distant appears to be the coldest of its kind - as chilly as Earth's North Pole...

25 April 2014

New Hubble analysis reveals hidden planetary disks


Using a new image processing technique, astronomers combing through data from the Hubble Space Telescope have identified five planetary disks around young stars much like our Sun. The disks, say the astronomers, are telltale evidence of newly formed planets...

21 April 2014

Niacin: the vitamin from outer space


Niacin, or vitamin B3, could have been delivered to Earth by carbon-rich meteorites, say NASA researchers, whose findings support a theory that the emergence of life on Earth may have been assisted by a supply of key molecules created in space and brought to Earth by comet and meteor impacts...

17 April 2014

Kepler mission identifies most Earth-like exoplanet yet discovered


An international team of astronomers have announced the discovery of a new rocky planet the same size as Earth that could have liquid water on its surface. The potentially habitable planet, dubbed Kepler-186f, was discovered using data from NASA's Kepler telescope and verified by the Gemini and Keck telescopes...

16 April 2014

Wobbly planets could be best place for finding life, say astrobiologists


Pivoting planets that lean one way and then change orientation within a relatively short time period might be surprisingly habitable. That's according to NASA scientists who say the climate effects generated on these wobbling worlds could prevent them from turning into glacier-covered ice lockers, even if those planets are somewhat far from their stars...

27 March 2014

Newly discovered dwarf planet hints at a much larger not-yet-seen planet


A newly discovered dwarf planet in the distant Oort cloud region of our Solar System indicates the potential presence of an enormous as yet undiscovered planet, perhaps up to 10 times the size of Earth...

26 March 2014

Work by celestial archaeologists hints at Earth's ultimate fate


For decades, astronomers have known that the atmospheres surrounding stars are often "polluted" with elements like carbon, silicon, and iron. How these elements came to be there has been an intriguing mystery that astronomers believe they have now solved...

6 March 2014

Astronomers witness mysterious disintegration of asteroid


Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have witnessed for the first time the breakup of an asteroid into as many as 10 smaller pieces...

24 January 2014

Solar wind creating interplanetary rain


Scientists have discovered that when tiny interplanetary dust particles are battered by the solar wind, the ion bombardment can free oxygen and hydrogen atoms from the dust, creating water molecules that can nurture microscopic life in space...

22 January 2014

Water vapor plumes observed erupting from dwarf planet


The Herschel space observatory has used its far-infrared capabilities to capture a clear spectral signature of water vapor venting from the largest object in the asteroid belt, Ceres...

11 January 2014

Mysterious "hypervelocity stars" observed fleeing the galaxy


Astronomers have discovered dozens of solitary stars that are moving fast enough to escape the gravitational grasp of the Milky Way galaxy. These cryptic hypervelocity stars appear to be traveling at speeds in excess of a million miles-per-hour, but scientists aren't sure what force could have given them such a kick...

7 January 2014

First exoplanet images from Gemini


After nearly a decade of development, construction, and testing, the world's most advanced instrument for directly imaging planets around other stars is pointing skyward and producing its first images of planets outside our solar system...

5 January 2014

Triple star system could reveal true nature of gravity


Astronomers have discovered a unique stellar system of two white dwarf stars and a superdense neutron star, all packed within a space smaller than Earth's orbit around the Sun. The closeness of the stars allows the scientists to make the most accurate measurements yet of the system's complex gravitational interactions, measurements that might resolve one of the principal outstanding problems of fundamental physics - the true nature of gravity...

16 December 2013

Innovative fiber optic imager may soon photograph exoplanets


A new instrument that combines two high-resolution telescope techniques - adaptive optics and interferometry - has for the first time resolved in visible light the individual stars in the binary star system Capella. Astronomers using the instrument say it holds great promise for eventually picking out and imaging planets around other stars...

14 December 2013

First pics from Chinese Moon rover Yutu


The Chinese lunar probe Chang'e-3 has successfully touched down on the Moon in the crater Sinus Iridum and its rover Yutu has sent back its first pictures from the surface of the Moon...

12 December 2013

Water vapor seen gushing from Europa


The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered water vapor erupting from the south pole of Jupiter's moon Europa. Astronomers were already reasonably certain that Europa harbored a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust, but the new images are the first observational evidence of the existence of water beneath the moon's surface...

9 December 2013

Curiosity rover finally demystifies radiation hazards on Mars


A manned mission to Mars doesn't just depend on overcoming technological hurdles. With no magnetic field and only a thin atmosphere, the surface of Mars is exposed to much greater amounts of radiation than the surface of the Earth. Quantifying the health risks to astronauts from this radiation has been difficult, but thanks to the Curiosity rover, nearly a year's worth of radiation measurements are now available...

4 December 2013

Europa report: moon's ocean currents make life possible


A team of scientists who have been modeling the subsurface ocean on Jupiter's moon Europa say that the ocean's deep currents and circulation patterns likely create heat and energy transfers capable of sustaining biological life...

3 December 2013

Hubble spots water on distant exoplanets


Peering into the atmospheres of planets many trillions of miles away using the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists have found the signature of water on five exoplanets...

2 December 2013

Comet ISON: ashes to ashes, dust to dust


After several days of continued observations, NASA scientists still don't know whether the bright spot seen moving away from the Sun was a cloud of dust or the remnant nucleus of Comet ISON, but they conclude that whatever it was has likely now disintegrated completely...

29 November 2013

"I'm back!" Comet ISON hangs on in there


When ISON failed to reappear after its close encounter with the Sun, NASA scientists thought it had disintegrated completely. However, a bright streak observed by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory late on Thanksgiving could mean the comet's nucleus is still intact...

28 November 2013

Dude, where's my comet?


Comet ISON, which was due to emerge from behind the Sun today, has failed to appear, indicating that the comet disintegrated during its close encounter with the Sun...

27 November 2013

Thanksgiving close encounter looms for comet ISON


As the comet ISON heads toward its closest approach to the Sun tomorrow, scientists have been trying to work out if the comet might already have broken up from the intense heat and gravitational forces of the Sun...

7 November 2013

"Freakish" asteroid resembles rotating lawn sprinkler


Using the Hubble space telescope, astronomers have discovered a "weird and freakish object" resembling a rotating lawn sprinkler in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter...

4 November 2013

Habitable Earth-like planets? New analysis suggests there are billions


Although NASA's Kepler space telescope is no longer functioning, astronomers examining the data it provided say they now have enough information to answer its main research question: How many of the 200 billion stars in our galaxy have habitable planets?

23 October 2013

New titleholder for most distant galaxy hints at universe's opaque beginnings


Newly discovered galaxy z8-GND-5296 is providing astronomers with an intriguing glimpse of what the universe was like when it was only about 700 million years old - 13.1 billion years ago...

18 October 2013

Distant galaxy poses astronomical puzzle


Astronomers have found the most distant gravitational lens yet - a galaxy that deflects and intensifies the light of an even more distant object. However, the discovery poses a mystery: lenses of this kind should be exceedingly rare, so astronomers either have been phenomenally lucky, or, a re-think of our models of galactic evolution is required...

10 October 2013

Water discovered in remnants of destroyed exoplanet


Astrophysicists have found the first evidence of a water-rich rocky planetary body outside our solar system in its shattered remains orbiting a white dwarf 170 light years away...

1 October 2013

Exoplanet has its clouds mapped


Scientists using data from the Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes have created the first cloud map of a planet beyond our solar system, a Jupiter-like world known as Kepler-7b...

24 September 2013

My god, it's full of stars. Astronomers discover densest galaxy


Alpha Centauri, our closest neighboring star lies about 4 light years distant; now imagine as many as 10,000 stars crammed into that relatively small space. Astronomers say that's about the density of a newly discovered ultra-compact dwarf galaxy...

8 September 2013

Inflatable antennae give micro-satellites long-range comms


The shoebox-sized satellites known as CubeSats are making space exploration cheaper and more accessible, but their smaller, less powerful antennae have until now limited their communication range...

16 July 2013

New Neptunian moon discovered by Hubble


The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a new moon orbiting the distant blue-green planet Neptune, making a total of 14 that are known to be circling the giant planet...

11 July 2013

A blue planet where it rains glass


Astronomers making visible-light observations with the Hubble Space Telescope have deduced the actual color of a planet orbiting another star 63 light-years away...

4 July 2013

"Extreme" astrophysical event likely cause of mysterious radio bursts


Mysterious bursts of radio waves originating from billions of light years away may be coming from magnetars, say the scientists who detected them...

1 July 2013

Lots more habitable planets out there, thanks to clouds


An intriguing new study that calculates the influence of cloud behavior on climate doubles the number of potentially habitable planets orbiting red dwarfs, the most common type of stars in the universe...

25 June 2013

Nearby star may have 3 habitable planets


Astronomers have announced that the star Gliese 667C is likely orbited by between five and seven planets and three of these planets are in the so-called habitable zone around the star - the zone where liquid water could exist...

11 June 2013

Plastic could work as shield against space radiation hazards


Experiments carried out aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate that light plastic materials may provide sufficient radiation shielding for astronauts on future missions into deep space...

6 June 2013

Comet smash simulations hint at life's cosmic origins


Computationally intensive simulations show that cometary impacts alone could have produced the building blocks of life without the need for "special" conditions, such as the presence of catalysts or UV radiation...

3 June 2013

Earth's Milky Way neighborhood gets upsized


Earth resides between two major spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy in what was thought to be a smaller spur structure called the Local Arm. Now, however, new observations indicate that our Local Arm is in fact much more like the adjacent major arms...

29 May 2013

Mysterious "anti-glitch" observed in neutron star's rotation


Astronomers using NASA's Swift X-ray Telescope have observed a spinning neutron star suddenly slowing down, a never before seen event that is expected to catalyze renewed efforts to better understand the puzzling physics of these bizarre stellar remnants...

13 May 2013

New technique for finding distant planets makes its first discovery


For the first time, astrophysicists from Tel Aviv University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have discovered an exoplanet using a new technique that relies on Einstein's special theory of relativity...

9 May 2013

Hubble identifies Earth-like debris in white dwarfs' atmospheres


The Hubble Space Telescope has found the building blocks of Earth-like planets - silicon and carbon - in an unlikely place: the atmospheres of a pair of burnt-out white dwarf stars...

29 April 2013

Giant vortex at Saturn's north pole finally revealed


The Cassini spacecraft has provided scientists with the first close-up views of a massive hurricane-like vortex swirling around Saturn's north pole. The vortex - about 20 times larger than the average hurricane on Earth - spins inside a large, mysterious, six-sided weather pattern which astronomers call "the hexagon"...

23 April 2013

Hubble snaps pic of faraway comet ISON


Hubble has given astronomers their clearest view yet of ISON, a newly-discovered sun-grazer comet that could light up the sky later this year...

28 March 2013

Ancient asteroid caused global firestorm on Earth


A new analysis of charcoal sedimentation has revealed that the dino-destroying asteroid that impacted Mexico dumped enough heat in the atmosphere to trigger an infrared "heat pulse" around the entire planet...

10 March 2013

Scientists propose test run for nuking asteroid


After five years of work, a team of scientists from Iowa State University are proposing a $500 million test launch of an asteroid interception system...

5 March 2013

New evidence that comets may have seeded life on Earth


A new experiment simulating conditions in deep space has shown that linked pairs of amino acids - essential building blocks shared by all living things - could have been created on icy interplanetary dust and then carried to Earth...

27 February 2013

Supermassive black hole spins super-fast


Imagine a sphere more than 2 million miles across spinning so fast that its surface is traveling at nearly the speed of light. Such an object exists: the supermassive black hole at the center of the spiral galaxy NGC 1365...

25 February 2013

First discovery of ET life will likely be around a white dwarf star, say astrophysicists


Detecting extraterrestrial life from tell-tale atmospheric signatures is much easier to do when the planet under observation is orbiting a dying star, say Harvard Smithsonian scientists who believe that white dwarf systems are the best candidates for catching our first glimpse of life outside our solar system...

18 February 2013

Russian scientists locate meteorite fragments


Russia's Ria Novosti news agency has reported that Russian scientists have located fragments from the meteor that broke up dramatically over the Urals region on Friday...

7 February 2013

Rare strobe-like binary protostar found


The Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes have teamed up to uncover a mysterious infant star that behaves like a strobe light, a phenomenon that astronomers think is caused by periodic interactions between two newly formed stars that are gravitationally bound to each other...

6 February 2013

Earth-like planets may be closer than previously thought


A new analysis of data from NASA's Kepler space telescope indicates that many red dwarf stars have habitable, Earth-sized planets, raising the prospect that the closest Earth-like planet could be just 13 light-years away...

9 January 2013

Asteroid belt spotted around Vega


Astronomers say they have spotted evidence for an asteroid belt encircling Vega, a star 25 lights years from Earth. The discovery hints that Vega could be very similar to our own solar system and may contain Earth-like planets...

8 January 2013

Habitable planets galore, suggests Kepler data-crunching


A detailed analysis of the first three years of data from NASA's Kepler mission, which already has discovered thousands of potential exoplanets, contains good news for those searching for habitable worlds outside our solar system...

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