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Titan glowing at dusk and dawn

Science Daily - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 17:01
New maps of Saturn's moon Titan reveal large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles. These regions are curiously shifted off the poles, to the east or west, so that dawn is breaking over the southern region while dusk is falling over the northern one.

Two families of comets found around nearby star: Biggest census ever of exocomets around beta pictoris

Science Daily - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 13:06
The HARPS instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has been used to make the most complete census of comets around another star ever created. Astronomers have studied nearly 500 individual comets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris and has discovered that they belong to two distinct families of exocomets: old exocomets that have made multiple passages near the star, and younger exocomets that probably came from the recent breakup of one or more larger objects.

New window on the early Universe

Science Daily - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 08:43
Scientists see good times approaching for astrophysicists after hatching a new observational strategy to distill detailed information from  galaxies at the edge of the Universe. Using two world-class supercomputers, the researchers were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of their approach by simulating the formation of a massive galaxy at the dawn of cosmic time. The ALMA radio telescope – which stands at an elevation of 5,000 meters in the Atacama Desert of Chile, one of the driest places on earth – was then used to forge observations of the galaxy, showing how their method improves upon previous efforts.

Mimas: Small Moon with a Big Crater

APOD - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 02:42

Whatever hit Mimas nearly destroyed it.  Whatever hit Mimas nearly destroyed it.

Comet Siding Spring Passes Mars

APOD - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 02:42

Yesterday, a comet passed very close to Mars. Yesterday, a comet passed very close to Mars.

Comet McNaught Over New Zealand

APOD - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 02:42

Comet McNaught was perhaps the most photogenic comet of modern times -- from Earth.  Comet McNaught was perhaps the most photogenic comet of modern times -- from Earth.

Melotte 15 in the Heart

APOD - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 02:42

Cosmic clouds form Cosmic clouds form

Messier 6 and Comet Siding Spring

APOD - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 02:42

Messier 6 and Comet Siding Spring Messier 6 and Comet Siding Spring

Rosetta's Selfie

APOD - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 02:42

Rosetta's Selfie Rosetta's Selfie

Sunspot Group AR 2192 Crackles

APOD - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 02:42

One of the largest sunspot groups in recent years is now crossing the Sun. One of the largest sunspot groups in recent years is now crossing the Sun.

Have we finally found dark matter?

Star Stuff - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:00
New X-ray data suggests the possible detection of proposed dark matter particles called axions. Also; plasma bombs and tornadoes detected on the Sun, and secret space shuttle lands after 22 months in orbit.

NASA Webb's heart survives deep freeze test

Science Daily - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 21:07
After 116 days of being subjected to extremely frigid temperatures like that in space, the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module and its sensitive instruments, emerged unscathed from the thermal vacuum chamber at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Cosmic rays threaten future deep-space astronaut missions

Science Daily - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 13:50
Crewed missions to Mars remain an essential goal for NASA, but scientists are only now beginning to understand and characterize the radiation hazards that could make such ventures risky, concludes a new article.

Big black holes can block new stars

Science Daily - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 11:07
Massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, a study has found.

POLARBEAR detects B-modes in the cosmic microwave background: Mapping cosmic structure, finding neutrino masses

Science Daily - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:11
The POLARBEAR experiment has made the most sensitive and precise measurements yet of the polarization of the cosmic microwave background and found telling twists called B-modes in the patterns, signs that this cosmic backlight has been warped by intervening structures in the universe.

Mysterious Changing feature on Titan

APOD - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 05:42

What is that changing object in a cold What is that changing object in a cold

NASA Rover Opportunity views comet near Mars

Science Daily - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 00:35
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured images of a comet passing much closer to Mars than any previous known comet flyby of Earth or Mars. The images of comet Siding Spring were taken against a backdrop of the pre-dawn Martian sky on Sunday (Oct. 19).

Mars Orbiter image shows comet nucleus is small

Science Daily - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 00:33
The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured views of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring while that visitor sped past Mars on Sunday (Oct. 19), yielding information about its nucleus.

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

Science Daily - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 13:39
Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old spacecraft data. Venus's surface can't be seen from orbit in visible light because of the planet's hot, dense, cloudy atmosphere. Instead, radar has been used by spacecraft to penetrate the clouds and map out the surface – both by reflecting radar off the surface to measure elevation and by looking at the radio emissions of the hot surface. The last spacecraft to map Venus in this way was Magellan, two decades ago.

NASA's Mars Odyssey Orbiter watches comet fly near

Science Daily - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 09:28
The longest-lived robot ever sent to Mars came through its latest challenge in good health, reporting home on schedule after sheltering behind Mars from possible comet dust.
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