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Updated: 9 hours 41 min ago

Scientists discover one of the most luminous 'new stars' ever

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 12:03pm
Astronomers have discovered possibly the most luminous 'new star' ever -- a nova discovered in the direction of one of our closest neighboring galaxies: The Small Magellanic Cloud.

Ancient asteroid impact exposes the moon's interior

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 12:41pm
A large basin on the moon has revealed that its interior is made of a different mineral than Earth's interior, contradicting the theory that the interior of the planets look mostly the same.

Scientists discover more about the ingredients for star formation

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 10:58am
In the local universe close to us, about 70 percent of the hydrogen gas is found in individual atoms, while the rest is in molecules. Astronomers had expected that as they looked back in time, younger galaxies would contain more and more molecular hydrogen until it dominated the gas in the galaxy. Instead, they found that atomic hydrogen makes up the majority of gas in younger galaxies too.

The moon once had an atmosphere

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 9:19am
A new study shows that an atmosphere was produced around the ancient Moon, 3 to 4 billion years ago, when intense volcanic eruptions spewed gases above the surface faster than they could escape to space.

Mars study yields clues to possible cradle of life

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 3:49pm
The discovery of evidence for ancient sea-floor hydrothermal deposits on Mars identifies an area on the planet that may offer clues about the origin of life on Earth. The research offers evidence that these deposits were formed by heated water from a volcanically active part of the planet's crust entering the bottom of a large sea long ago.

New telescope attachment allows ground-based observations of new worlds

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 2:22pm
A new, low-cost attachment to telescopes allows previously unachievable precision in ground-based observations of planets beyond our solar system. With it, ground-based telescopes can produce measurements of light intensity that rival the highest quality photometric observations from space.

Violent helium reaction on white dwarf surface triggers supernova explosion

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 11:11am
Astronomers have found solid evidence about what triggered a star to explode, which will contribute to a further understanding of supernova history and behavior.

Mars' moon Phobos examined in a different light

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 10:27am
NASA's longest-lived mission to Mars has gained its first look at the Martian moon Phobos, pursuing a deeper understanding by examining it in infrared wavelengths.

Milky Way's 'most-mysterious star' continues to confound

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 7:05pm
In 2015, a star called KIC 8462852 caused quite a stir in and beyond the astronomy community due to a series of rapid, unexplained dimming events. The latest findings from astronomers take a longer look at the star, going back to 2006 -- before its strange behavior was detected by Kepler.

The super-Earth that came home for dinner

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 2:45pm
It might be lingering bashfully on the icy outer edges of our solar system, hiding in the dark, but subtly pulling strings behind the scenes: stretching out the orbits of distant bodies, perhaps even tilting the entire solar system to one side. It is a possible "Planet Nine" -- a world perhaps 10 times the mass of Earth and 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune.

Surface helium detonation spells end for white dwarf

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 2:01pm
Researchers have found evidence that the brightest stellar explosions in our Universe could be triggered by helium nuclear detonation near the surface of a white dwarf star.

NASA's Webb Telescope to witness galactic infancy

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:04pm
Scientists will use NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to study sections of the sky previously observed by NASA's Great Observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, to understand the creation of the universe's first galaxies and stars.

Astronomers reveal evidence of dynamical dark energy

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 11:10am
Astronomers found that the nature of dark energy may not be the cosmological constant introduced by Albert Einstein 100 years ago. This is crucial for the study of dark energy.

Solar observer created key sunspot record

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 2:49pm
Few people have heard of Hisako Koyama, but the dedicated female solar observer, born in Tokyo in 1916, created one of the most important sunspot records of the past 400 years.

Meteorite tells us that Mars had a dense atmosphere 4 billion years ago

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 11:42am
Exploration missions have suggested that Mars once had a warm climate, which sustained oceans on its surface. To keep Mars warm requires a dense atmosphere with a sufficient greenhouse effect, while the present-day Mars has a thin atmosphere whose surface pressure is only 0.006 bar, resulting in the cold climate it has today. It has been a big mystery as to when and how Mars lost its dense atmosphere.

ALMA and Rosetta detect Freon-40 in space

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 11:28am
Observations made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and ESA's Rosetta mission, have revealed the presence of the organohalogen Freon-40 in gas around both an infant star and a comet. Organohalogens are formed by organic processes on Earth, but this is the first ever detection of them in interstellar space. This discovery suggests that organohalogens may not be as good markers of life as had been hoped, but that they may be significant components of the material from which planets form.

Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 11:29am
Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Farthest active inbound comet yet seen

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 3:23pm
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the farthest active inbound comet ever seen, at a whopping distance of 1.5 billion miles from the Sun (beyond Saturn's orbit). Slightly warmed by the remote Sun, it has already begun to develop an 80,000-mile-wide fuzzy cloud of dust, called a coma, enveloping a tiny, solid nucleus of frozen gas and dust. These observations represent the earliest signs of activity ever seen from a comet entering the solar system's planetary zone for the first time.

A fresh look at older data yields a surprise near the Martian equator

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 3:22pm
Scientists taking a new look at older data from NASA's longest-operating Mars orbiter have discovered evidence of significant hydration near the Martian equator -- a mysterious signature in a region of the Red Planet where planetary scientists figure ice shouldn't exist.

It takes the right amount of carbon

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 3:22pm
Researchers have created a model that sheds new light on the formation of terrestrial planets and Earth.