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Updated: 19 hours 47 min ago

Planet-forming lifeline discovered in a binary star system

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 14:12
Scientists have detected a streamer of dust and gas flowing from a massive outer disk toward the inner reaches of a binary star system. This never-before-seen feature may be responsible for sustaining a second, smaller disk of planet-forming material that otherwise would have disappeared long ago.

NASA statement regarding Oct. 28 Orbital Sciences Corp. Launch mishap

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 23:05
The following statement is from William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, regarding the mishap that occurred at Pad 0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia during the attempted launch of Orbital Sciences Corp's Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft at 6:22 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28.

Moon mission: Images of LADEE's impact crater captured

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 21:41
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft has spied a new crater on the lunar surface; one made from the impact of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer mission.

Laser experiments mimic cosmic explosions and planetary cores

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 12:26
Researchers are finding ways to understand some of the mysteries of space without leaving earth. Using high-intensity lasers focused on targets smaller than a pencil's eraser, they conducted experiments to create colliding jets of plasma knotted by plasma filaments and self-generated magnetic fields, reaching pressures a billion times higher than seen on earth.

Tremendously bright pulsar may be one of many

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 10:04
A newly found pulsar, the brightest ever seen, raises questions about a mysterious category of cosmic objects called ultraluminous X-ray sources. A member of the team that announced the discovery now discusses the likelihood of additional ultra-bright pulsars and considers how astrophysicists will align this new find with their understanding of how pulsars work.

Astronomers image the exploding fireball stage of a nova

Sun, 10/26/2014 - 19:50
Astronomers have observed the expanding thermonuclear fireball from a nova that erupted last year in the constellation Delphinus with unprecedented clarity.

Hinode satellite captures X-ray footage of solar eclipse

Sat, 10/25/2014 - 15:27
The moon passed between the Earth and the sun on Thursday, Oct. 23. While avid stargazers in North America looked up to watch the spectacle, the best vantage point was several hundred miles above the North Pole. The Hinode spacecraft was in the right place at the right time to catch the solar eclipse. What's more, because of its vantage point Hinode witnessed a 'ring of fire' or annular eclipse.

NASA identifies ice cloud above cruising altitude on Titan

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 20:05
NASA scientists have identified an unexpected high-altitude methane ice cloud on Saturn's moon Titan that is similar to exotic clouds found far above Earth's poles.

Illusions in the cosmic clouds: New image of spinning neutron star

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 19:59
Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data. There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space.

MAVEN ultraviolet image of comet Siding Spring's hydrogen coma

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 19:57
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft obtained this ultraviolet image of hydrogen surrounding comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring on Oct. 17, 2014, two days before the comet's closest approach to Mars. The Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) instrument imaged the comet at a distance of 5.3 million miles (8.5 million kilometers).

Mars Orbiter's spectrometer shows Oort comet's coma

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 19:54
The Compact Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) observed comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as the comet sped close to Mars on Oct. 19. CRISM recorded imaging data in 107 different wavelengths, showing the inner part of the cloud of dust, called the coma, surrounding the comet's nucleus.

Galactic wheel of life shines in infrared

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 19:51
It might look like a spoked wheel or even a "Chakram" weapon wielded by warriors like "Xena," from the fictional TV show, but this ringed galaxy is actually a vast place of stellar life. A newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the galaxy NGC 1291. Though the galaxy is quite old, roughly 12 billion years, it is marked by an unusual ring where newborn stars are igniting.

NASA ultra-black nano-coating to be applied to 3-D new solar coronagraph

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 19:34
An emerging super-black nanotechnology that is to be tested for the first time this fall on the International Space Station will be applied to a complex, 3-D component critical for suppressing stray light in a new, smaller, less-expensive solar coronagraph designed to ultimately fly on the orbiting outpost or as a hosted payload on a commercial satellite.

Mass gaging system will measure fuel transfer in zero gravity

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 19:27
Transfer of super-cooled or cryogenic fuel from one tank to another in the zero gravity of space may one day be a reality. But the challenges of measuring fuels and fuel levels in the weightlessness of space must be solved first. A newly developed sensor technology that will be tested on the early suborbital flights of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo in 2015.

NASA creating a virtual telescope with two small spacecraft

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 19:25
Although scientists have flown two spacecraft in formation, no one ever has aligned the spacecraft with a specific astronomical target and then held that configuration to make a scientific observation -- creating, in effect, a single or "virtual" telescope with two distinctly different satellites.

3-D map of the adolescent universe

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 15:41
Using extremely faint light from galaxies 10.8-billion light years away, scientists have created one of the most complete, three-dimensional maps of a slice of the adolescent universe. The map shows a web of hydrogen gas that varies from low to high density at a time when the universe was made of a fraction of the dark matter we see.

Lucky star escapes black hole with minor damage: Closest near-miss event to be spotted near the Milky Way

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 11:08
Astronomers have gotten the closest look yet at what happens when a black hole takes a bite out of a star -- and the star lives to tell the tale.

The perfume of the comet

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 09:18
How does a comet smell? Since early August the Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) is sniffing the fumes of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko with its two mass spectrometers. The detected chemistry in the coma of the comet is surprisingly rich already at more than 400 million kilometers from the Sun. 

Titan glowing at dusk and dawn

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

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.