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Updated: 19 hours 51 min ago

NASA'S OSIRIS-REx spacecraft slingshots past Earth

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 4:25pm
NASA's asteroid sample return spacecraft successfully used Earth's gravity on Friday to slingshot itself on a path toward the asteroid Bennu, for a rendezvous next August.

Positive, negative or neutral, it all matters: NASA explains space radiation

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 9:09am
Charged particles may be small, but they matter to astronauts. NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) is investigating these particles to solve one of its biggest challenges for a human journey to Mars: space radiation and its effects on the human body.

Detecting cosmic rays from a galaxy far, far away

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 2:12pm
Where do cosmic rays come from? Solving a 50-year-old mystery, a collaboration of researchers has discovered it's much farther than the Milky Way.

Solar eruption ‘photobombed’ Mars encounter with Comet Siding Spring

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 9:50am
When Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) passed just 140,000 kilometers from Mars on 19th October 2014, depositing a large amount of debris in the Martian atmosphere, space agencies coordinated multiple spacecraft to witness the largest meteor shower in recorded history. It was a rare opportunity, as this kind of planetary event occurs only once every 100,000 years.

Unique type of object discovered in our solar system

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 2:47pm
Astronomers have observed the intriguing characteristics of an unusual type of object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter: two asteroids orbiting each other and exhibiting comet-like features, including a bright coma and a long tail. This is the first known binary asteroid also classified as a comet.

New concept of terrestrial planet formation

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 1:17pm
Scientists are proposing a new way of understanding the cooling and transfer of heat from terrestrial planetary interiors and how that affects the generation of the volcanic terrains that dominate the rocky planets.

Is the Milky Way an 'outlier' galaxy? Studying its 'siblings' for clues

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 11:33am
The most-studied galaxy in the universe -- the Milky Way -- might not be as 'typical' as previously thought, according to a new study. Early results from the Satellites Around Galactic Analogs (SAGA) Survey indicate that the Milky Way's satellites are much more tranquil than other systems of comparable luminosity and environment. Many satellites of those 'sibling' galaxies are actively pumping out new stars, but the Milky Way's satellites are mostly inert.

Mercury's poles may be icier than scientists thought

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 12:31pm
A new study identifies three large surface ice deposits near Mercury's north pole, and suggests there could be many additional small-scale deposits that would dramatically increase the planet's surface ice inventory.

Size matters in the detection of exoplanet atmospheres

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 9:26am
A group-analysis of 30 exoplanets orbiting distant stars suggests that size, not mass, is a key factor in whether a planet’s atmosphere can be detected. The largest population-study of exoplanets to date successfully detected atmospheres around 16 ‘hot Jupiters’, and found that water vapor was present in every case.

Solar wind impacts on giant 'space hurricanes' may affect satellite safety

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 9:10am
Could the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Costa Rica set off a hurricane in California? For most people, this hypothetical scenario may be difficult to imagine on Earth -- particularly when a real disaster strikes. Yet, in space, similarly small fluctuations in the solar wind as it streams toward the Earth's magnetic shield actually can affect the speed and strength of 'space hurricanes,' a researcher explains.

When radio galaxies collide, supermassive black holes form tightly bound pairs

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 12:35pm
Supermassive black holes found in the centers of galaxies can form gravitationally bound pairs when galaxies merge, according to a new study.

Secrets of bright, rapidly spinning star revealed

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 11:18am
Almost 50 years after it was first predicted that rapidly rotating stars would emit polarized light, scientists have succeeded in observing the phenomenon for the first time. They have now detected the polarized light from Regulus, one of the brightest stars in the night sky.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft ends its historic exploration of Saturn

Sat, 09/16/2017 - 10:30am
A thrilling epoch in the exploration of our solar system has come to a close, as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made a fateful plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, ending its 13-year tour of the ringed planet. Cassini's plunge brings to a close a series of 22 dives between Saturn and its rings, a feat never before attempted by any spacecraft.

Star formation influenced by local environmental conditions

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 10:36am
Three scientists have carried out extensive computer simulations related to star formation. They conclude that the present idealized models are lacking when it comes to describing details in the star formation process.

The return of the comet-like exoplanet

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 3:23pm
Astronomers have focused the Hubble Space Telescope on an exoplanet that had already been seen losing its atmosphere, which forms an enormous cloud of hydrogen, giving the planet the appearance of a giant comet. During earlier observations, it was not possible to cover the whole cloud, whose shape was predicted by numerical simulations. Thanks to these new observations, the scientists have finally been able to confirm the initial predictions.

Hubble observes pitch black planet

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 3:22pm
Astronomers have discovered that the well-studied exoplanet WASP-12b reflects almost no light, making it appear essentially pitch black. This discovery sheds new light on the atmospheric composition of the planet and also refutes previous hypotheses about WASP-12b's atmosphere. The results are also in stark contrast to observations of another similarly sized exoplanet.

Physicists offer explanation for diverse galaxy rotations

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 3:22pm
Physicists have found a simple and viable explanation for the diversity observed in galactic rotations. They report that diverse galactic-rotation curves, a graph of rotation speeds at different distances from the center, can be naturally explained if dark matter particles are assumed to strongly collide with one another in the inner halo, close to the galaxy's center -- a process called dark matter self-interaction.

New supernova analysis reframes dark energy debate

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 7:31pm
The accelerating expansion of the Universe may not be real, but could just be an apparent effect, according to new research. The new study finds the fit of Type Ia supernovae to a model universe with no dark energy to be very slightly better than the fit to the standard dark energy model.

First global map of water in moon's soil

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 7:30pm
A new study maps the trace concentrations of water implanted in the lunar soil by the solar wind, a water source that could be used as resource in future lunar exploration.

New gravity map suggests Mars has a porous crust

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 7:30pm
Scientists have found evidence that Mars' crust is not as dense as previously thought, a clue that could help researchers better understand the Red Planet's interior structure and evolution.