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Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago

Cosmic blast from the past

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 11:17am
Three decades ago, a massive stellar explosion sent shockwaves not only through space but also through the astronomical community. SN 1987A was the closest observed supernova to Earth since the invention of the telescope and has become by far the best studied of all time, revolutionizing our understanding of the explosive death of massive stars.

Saturn's rings viewed in the mid-infrared show bright Cassini division

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 9:25am
Researchers has succeeded in measuring the brightnesses and temperatures of Saturn's rings using the mid-infrared images taken by the Subaru Telescope in 2008. They reveal that, at that time, the Cassini Division and the C ring were brighter than the other rings in the mid-infrared light and that the brightness contrast appeared to be the inverse of that seen in the visible light. The data give important insights into the nature of Saturn's rings.

Mars More Earth-like than moon-like

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 9:25am
Mars' mantle may be more complicated than previously thought, report researchers. Their report documents geochemical changes over time in the lava flows of Elysium, a major martian volcanic province.

Vast luminous nebula poses a cosmic mystery

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 12:43pm
Astronomers have found an enormous, glowing blob of gas in the distant universe, with no obvious source of power for the light it is emitting. Called an 'enormous Lyman-alpha nebula' (ELAN), it is the brightest and among the largest of these rare objects, only a handful of which have been observed.

Space dust deploy bubble parachutes on their fiery descent, scientists discover

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 10:20am
Bubbles acting like parachutes are deployed by some cosmic dust particles on their entry into Earth’s atmosphere, preventing them from burning up.

Neural networks promise sharpest ever images

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 9:24am
Telescopes, the workhorse instruments of astronomy, are limited by the size of the mirror or lens they use. Using 'neural nets', a form of artificial intelligence, a group of Swiss researchers now have a way to push past that limit, offering scientists the prospect of the sharpest ever images in optical astronomy.

NASA telescope reveals largest batch of Earth-size, habitable-zone planets around single star

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 1:09pm
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

Surprising dunes on comet Chury

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 8:28am
Surprising images from the Rosetta spacecraft show the presence of dune-like patterns on the surface of comet Chury. Researchers have studied the available images and modeled the outgassing of vapor to try to explain the phenomenon. They show that the strong pressure difference between the sunlit side of the comet and that in shadow generates winds able to transport grains and form dunes.

Possible dark matter ties in Andromeda Galaxy

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 8:23am
NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.

Brightest neutron star yet has a multipolar magnetic field

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 4:15pm
Scientists have identified a neutron star that is consuming material so fast it emits more x-rays than any other. Its extreme brightness can only be explained if the star has a complex multipolar magnetic field, the researchers say.

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 1:07pm
New planetary formation models indicate that there may be an undiscovered population of gas giant planets orbiting around Sun-like stars at distances similar to those of Jupiter and Saturn.

Experiments call origin of Earth's iron into question

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 11:07am
New research reveals that the Earth's unique iron composition isn't linked to the formation of the planet's core, calling into question a prevailing theory about the events that shaped our planet during its earliest years.

Mapping the family tree of stars

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 7:16pm
Astronomers are borrowing principles applied in biology and archaeology to build a family tree of the stars in the galaxy. By studying chemical signatures found in the stars, they are piecing together these evolutionary trees looking at how the stars formed and how they are connected to each other. The signatures act as a proxy for DNA sequences. It's akin to chemical tagging of stars and forms the basis of a discipline astronomers refer to as Galactic archaeology.

Why are there different 'flavors' of iron around the Solar System?

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 1:47pm
New work shows that interactions between iron and nickel under the extreme pressures and temperatures similar to a planetary interior can help scientists understand the period in our Solar System's youth when planets were forming and their cores were created.

Examining exploding stars through the atomic nucleus

Sun, 02/19/2017 - 4:51pm
Imagine being able to view microscopic aspects of a classical nova, a massive stellar explosion on the surface of a white dwarf star (about as big as Earth), in a laboratory rather than from afar via a telescope. Cosmic detonations of this scale and larger created many of the atoms in our bodies. A safe way to study these events in laboratories on Earth is to investigate the exotic nuclei or 'rare isotopes' that influence them.

Hubble spotlights a celestial sidekick

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 4:09pm
Technically, this picture is merely a sidekick of the actual object of interest -- but space is bursting with activity, and this field of bright celestial bodies offers plenty of interest on its own.

Minor planet named Bernard

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 9:59am
A minor planet in the Solar System will officially be known as Bernardbowen from today after Australian citizen science project theSkyNet won a competition to name the celestial body.

Radial acceleration relation found in all common types of galaxies

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 1:25am
The distribution of normal matter precisely determines gravitational acceleration in all common types of galaxies, a team of researchers reports. This provides further support that the relation is tantamount to a new natural law, the researchers say.

Planeterrella recreates Earth's vivid lightshows in miniature

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:08am
A new device has been built to recreate Earth's auroras and other space phenomena in miniature. The planeterrella is one of just a handful in the United States.

Astronomers propose a cell phone search for galactic fast radio bursts

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 4:28pm
Fast radio bursts seem to come from distant galaxies, but there is no obvious reason that, every once in a while, an FRB wouldn't occur in our own Milky Way galaxy too. If it did, astronomers suggest that it would be 'loud' enough that a global network of cell phones or small radio receivers could 'hear' it.