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Updated: 9 hours 41 min ago

Seeing the light of neutron star collisions

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:21pm
When two neutron stars collided on Aug. 17, a widespread search for electromagnetic radiation from the event led to observations of light from the afterglow of the explosion, finally connecting a gravitational-wave-producing event with conventional astronomy using light, according to an international team of astronomers.

Hubble observes source of gravitational waves for the first time

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:21pm
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has observed for the first time the source of a gravitational wave, created by the merger of two neutron stars. This merger created a kilonova -- an object predicted by theory decades ago -- that ejects heavy elements such as gold and platinum into space. This event also provides the strongest evidence yet that short duration gamma-ray bursts are caused by mergers of neutron stars.

Gravitational waves plus new clues from space reveal new way to make a black hole

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:28am
For the first time, scientists have detected both gravitational waves and light shooting toward our planet from the birthplace of a new black hole created by the merger of two neutron stars. The discovery marks the beginning of a new era of

Gamma-ray burst detection just what researchers exclusively predicted

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:28am
More than a month before a game-changing detection of a short gamma-ray burst, scientists predicted such a discovery would occur.

Radio 'eyes' unlocking secrets of neutron-star collision

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:28am
When a pair of superdense neutron stars collided and potentially formed a black hole in a galaxy 130 million light-years from Earth, they unleashed not only a train of gravitational waves but also an ongoing torrent of radio waves that are answering some of the biggest questions about the nature of such a cataclysmic event.

Astronomers strike cosmic gold, confirm origin of precious metals in neutron star mergers

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:28am
What many thought would be a long way off, the detection of gravitational waves from the merger of binary neutron stars, actually happened on Aug. 17. The observation of a blue and then red glow from the radioactive debris cloud left behind matched simulations of what the merger should look like, proving that such mergers are the source of most of the very heavy elements in the universe, including gold.

First observations of merging neutron stars mark a new era in astronomy

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:28am
After LIGO detected gravitational waves from the merger of two neutron stars, the race was on to detect a visible counterpart, because unlike the colliding black holes responsible for LIGO's four previous detections, this event was expected to produce an explosion of visible light. Researchers have now found the source of the gravitational waves, capturing the first images of the event with the Swope Telescope in Chile.

How scientists used NASA data to predict the corona of the Aug. 21 Total Solar Eclipse

Sat, 10/14/2017 - 11:17am
When the total solar eclipse swept across the United States on Aug. 21, 2017, NASA satellites captured a diverse set of images from space. But days before the eclipse, some NASA satellites also enabled scientists to predict what the corona -- the Sun's outer atmosphere -- would look like during the eclipse, from the ground. In addition to offering a case study to test our predictive abilities, the predictions also enabled some eclipse scientists to choose their study targets in advance.

Solar research: NASA sounding rocket instrument spots signatures of long-sought small solar flares

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 2:03pm
Like most solar sounding rockets, the second flight of the FOXSI instrument -- short for Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager -- lasted 15 minutes, with just six minutes of data collection. But in that short time, the cutting-edge instrument found the best evidence to date of a phenomenon scientists have been seeking for years: signatures of tiny solar flares that could help explain the mysterious extreme heating of the Sun's outer atmosphere.

Astronomers find potential solution into how planets form

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 12:32pm
The quest to discover how planets found in the far reaches of the universe are born has taken a new, crucial twist.

Solar research: On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 12:31pm
Combining computer observations and simulations, a new model shows that the presence of neutrals in the gas facilitates the magnetic fields to penetrate through the surface of the Sun producing the spicules.

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 9:52am
While it's true that space radiation is one of the biggest challenges for a human journey to Mars, it's also true that NASA is developing technologies and countermeasures to ensure a safe and successful journey to the red planet.

Star Dust Helps Explain Mysterious Dimming Star

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 9:19am
Astronomers are working to understand the mysterious dimming of Tabby's Star. The astronomers report that space dust orbiting the star -- not alien megastructures -- is the likely cause of the star's long-term dimming.

Intense storms batter Saturn’s largest moon, scientists report

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 5:25pm
Titan, the largest of Saturn's more than 60 moons, has surprisingly intense rainstorms, according to research by a team of UCLA planetary scientists and geologists. Although the storms are relatively rare -- they occur less than once per Titan year, which is 29 and a half Earth years -- they occur much more frequently than the scientists expected.

Measurement promises complete picture of Milky Way

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 2:34pm
Distance measured out to the far side of our Milky Way means that radio astronomers now can work on producing an accurate map of the full extent of our galaxy's structure for the first time.

Devourer of planets? Astronomers dub star 'Kronos'

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 12:28pm
'Kronos' is enhanced in metals and other rock-forming elements but not in volatiles, prompting a team of researchers to conclude that it absorbed as much as 15 Earth masses worth of rocky planets. Its twin, 'Krios,' does not show this unusual pattern of enhancement.

A better understanding of space, via helicopter

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 12:26pm
An algorithm that helps engineers design better helicopters may help astronomers more precisely envision the formation of planets and galaxies. Researchers have created a new model for understanding how black holes, planets, and galaxies emerge from the vortex-rich environments of space.

Reconstructing Cassini's plunge into Saturn

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 11:35am
As NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its fateful dive into the upper atmosphere of Saturn on Sept. 15, the spacecraft was live-streaming data from eight of its science instruments, along with readings from a variety of engineering systems. While analysis of science data from the final plunge will take some time, Cassini engineers already have a pretty clear understanding of how the spacecraft itself behaved as it went in.

Haumea, the most peculiar of Pluto companions, has a ring around it

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 9:33am
The trans-neptunian belt contains four dwarf planets, among which Haumea stands out for its extremely elongated shape and rapid rotation. A stellar occultation makes it possible to establish the main physical characteristics of this previously little known body -- among which most surprising was the presence of a ring.

Giant exoplanet hunters: Look for debris disks

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 1:52pm
There's no map showing all the billions of exoplanets hiding in our galaxy -- they're so distant and faint compared to their stars, it's hard to find them. Now, astronomers hunting for new worlds have established a possible signpost for giant exoplanets.