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Updated: 6 hours 50 min ago

Companion planets can increase old worlds' chance at life

9 hours 19 min ago
Having a companion in old age is good for people -- and, it turns out, might extend the chance for life on certain Earth-sized planets in the cosmos as well. Planets cool as they age. Over time their molten cores solidify and inner heat-generating activity dwindles, becoming less able to keep the world habitable by regulating carbon dioxide to prevent runaway heating or cooling.

Rosetta's comet: Imaging the coma

9 hours 47 min ago
Less than a week before Rosetta's rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, images obtained by OSIRIS, the spacecraft's onboard scientific imaging system, show clear signs of a coma surrounding the comet's nucleus. A new image from July 25, 2014, clearly reveals an extended coma shrouding 67P's nucleus.

NASA announces Mars 2020 rover payload to explore the Red Planet as never before

9 hours 51 min ago
The next rover NASA will send to Mars in 2020 will carry seven carefully-selected instruments to conduct unprecedented science and exploration technology investigations on the Red Planet.

Fermi satellite detects gamma-rays from exploding novae: Surprising discovery dispels long-held idea

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 15:00
Astronomers have discover very high energy gamma rays being emitted by an exploding star. The surprising discovery dispels the long-held idea that classical nova explosions are not powerful enough to produce such high-energy radiation.

Hubble shows farthest lensing galaxy yields clues to early universe

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 11:09
Astronomers have unexpectedly discovered the most distant galaxy that acts as a cosmic magnifying glass. Seen in a new image as it looked 9.6 billion years ago, this monster elliptical galaxy breaks the previous record holder by 200 million years.

Fossils could be discovered on the moon: Signs of ancient life may be littered across the moon

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:10
Physicists have tested what would happen if a piece of rock containing microscopic fossils from Earth was launched into space and hit the surface of the moon. The team turned fossil-filled rock into powder which was mixed with water and frozen to replicate a meteoroid.

Numerous unknown jets from young stars and planetary nebulae discovered

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 09:51
Preliminary research findings have identified hundreds of so far unknown jets from young stars, as well as numerous new planetary nebulae in the Galactic Plane.

Double star with weird and wild planet-forming discs

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 13:29
Astronomers have found wildly misaligned planet-forming gas discs around the two young stars in the binary system HK Tauri. These new observations provide the clearest picture ever of protoplanetary discs in a double star. The new result also helps to explain why so many exoplanets — unlike the planets in the Solar System — came to have strange, eccentric or inclined orbits.

Mercury's bizzare magnetic field tells scientists how its interior is different from Earth's

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 09:43
Mercury's interior is different from the Earth's interior in a way that explains Mercury's bizarre magnetic field, planetary physicists report. Measurements from NASA's Messenger spacecraft have revealed that Mercury's magnetic field is approximately three times stronger at its northern hemisphere than its southern one.

Revolutionary microshutter technology hurdles significant challenges

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 22:56
NASA technologists have hurdled a number of significant technological challenges in their quest to improve an already revolutionary observing technology originally created for the James Webb Space Telescope.

NASA-funded X-ray instrument settles interstellar debate

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 22:56
New findings from a NASA-funded instrument have resolved a decades-old puzzle about a fog of low-energy X-rays observed over the entire sky. Thanks to refurbished detectors first flown on a NASA sounding rocket in the 1970s, astronomers have now confirmed the long-held suspicion that much of this glow stems from a region of million-degree interstellar plasma known as the local hot bubble, or LHB.

Weighing the Milky Way: Researchers devise precise method for calculating the mass of galaxies

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 22:49
Does the Milky Way look fat in this picture? Has Andromeda been taking skinny selfies? Using a new, more accurate method for measuring the mass of galaxies, and international group of researchers has shown that the Milky Way has half the Mass of the Andromeda Galaxy.

NASA long-lived Mars Opportunity rover passes 25 miles of driving

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 19:22
NASA's Opportunity Mars rover, which landed on the Red Planet in 2004, now holds the off-Earth roving distance record after accruing 25 miles (40 kilometers) of driving. The previous record was held by the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 rover.

Cassini spacecraft reveals 101 geysers and more on icy Saturn moon

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 19:15
Scientists using mission data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have identified 101 distinct geysers erupting on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus. Their analysis suggests it is possible for liquid water to reach from the moon's underground sea all the way to its surface.

Glow in space is evidence of a hot bubble in our galaxy

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 09:44
A recent study shows that the emission is dominated by the local hot bubble of gas -- 1 million degrees -- with, at most, 40 percent of emission originating within the solar system. The findings should put to rest the disagreement about the origin of the X-ray emission and confirm the existence of the local hot bubble.

New mass map of distant galaxy cluster is most precise yet

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:42
Astronomers have mapped the mass within a galaxy cluster more precisely than ever before. Created using observations from Hubble's Frontier Fields observing program, the map shows the amount and distribution of mass within MCS J0416.1-2403, a massive galaxy cluster found to be 160 trillion times the mass of the Sun.

Hubble finds three surprisingly dry exoplanets: 'Hot Jupiters' had only one-tenth to one one-thousandth the amount of water predicted

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 09:28
Astronomers have gone looking for water vapor in the atmospheres of three planets orbiting stars similar to the Sun -- and have come up nearly dry. The three planets, known as HD 189733b, HD 209458b, and WASP-12b, are between 60 and 900 light-years away from Earth and were thought to be ideal candidates for detecting water vapor in their atmospheres because of their high temperatures where water turns into a measurable vapor.

Voyager spacecraft might not have reached interstellar space

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 11:41
In 2012, the Voyager mission team announced that the Voyager 1 spacecraft had passed into interstellar space, traveling further from Earth than any other humanmade object. But, in the nearly two years since that historic announcement, and despite subsequent observations backing it up, uncertainty about whether Voyager 1 really crossed the threshold continues.

New approach in search for extraterrestrial intelligence: Target alien polluters

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 11:12
Humanity is on the threshold of being able to detect signs of alien life on other worlds. By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life. But those gases come from simple life forms like microbes. What about advanced civilizations? Would they leave any detectable signs? They might, if they spew industrial pollution into the atmosphere.

Atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 11:10
An astronomer has published the results of the comparison of his model of Titan's atmosphere with the latest data.