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Astronomy news. New! Earth-like extrasolar planet found; double helix nebula; supermassive black holes, astronomy articles, astronomy pictures. Updated daily.
Updated: 6 hours 59 min ago

Can one cosmic enigma help solve another?

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 4:02pm
Astrophysicists have proposed a clever new way to shed light on the mystery of dark matter, believed to make up most of the universe. The irony is they want to try to pin down the nature of this unexplained phenomenon by using another, an obscure cosmic emanation known as 'fast radio bursts.'

35 years on, Voyager's legacy continues at Saturn

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 2:40pm
Saturn, with its alluring rings and numerous moons, has long fascinated stargazers and scientists. After an initial flyby of Pioneer 11 in 1979, humanity got a second, much closer look at this complex planetary system in the early 1980s through the eyes of NASA's twin Voyager spacecraft.

NASA's WISE, Fermi missions reveal a surprising blazar connection

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 2:00pm
Astronomers using observations from NASA's WISE and Fermi missions have confirmed a connection between the infrared and gamma-ray light emitted by blazars, a class of distant galaxies powered by monster black holes.

Cosmic neighbors inhibit star formation, even in the early universe

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 1:55pm
Researchers have discovered four of the most distant clusters of galaxies ever found, as they appeared when the universe was only 4 billion years old. This sample is now providing the best measurement yet of when and how fast galaxy clusters stop forming stars in the early universe.

Planet found in habitable zone around nearest star

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 1:04pm
Astronomers have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. This rocky world is a little more massive than the Earth and is the closest exoplanet to us -- and it may also be the closest possible abode for life outside the Solar System.

Test for damp ground at Mars' seasonal streaks finds none

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 5:55pm
Seasonal dark streaks on Mars that have become one of the hottest topics in interplanetary research don't hold much water, according to the latest findings from a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars.

NASA establishes contact with STEREO mission

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 5:24pm
NASA has reestablished contact with its STEREO-B spacecraft, after communications were lost on Oct. 1, 2014. Over 22 months, the STEREO team has worked to attempt contact with the spacecraft. Most recently, they have attempted a monthly recovery operation using NASA's Deep Space Network, which tracks and communicates with missions throughout space.

Fossilized rivers suggest warm, wet ancient Mars

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 1:51pm
Extensive systems of fossilized riverbeds have been discovered on an ancient region of the Martian surface, supporting the idea that the now cold and dry Red Planet had a warm and wet climate about 4 billion years ago, according to new research.

Young heavyweight star discovered in the Milky Way

Sun, 08/21/2016 - 10:05pm
A young star over 30 times more massive than the sun could help us understand how the most extreme stars in the universe are born.

The comet that disappeared: What happened to Ison?

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 4:23pm
Comet ISON, a bright ball of frozen matter from the earliest days of the universe, was inbound from the Oort Cloud at the edge of the solar system and expected to pierce the Sun's corona on November 28. Scientists were expecting quite a show. A new study suggests the comet actually broke up before reaching the sun.

A new Goldilocks for habitable planets

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 3:30pm
The search for habitable, alien worlds needs to make room for a second 'Goldilocks,' according to a researcher. A new study suggests that simply being in the habitable zone isn't sufficient to support life. A planet also must start with an internal temperature that is just right.

Venus-like exoplanet might have oxygen atmosphere, but not life

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 10:26am
The distant planet GJ 1132b intrigued astronomers when it was discovered last year. Located just 39 light-years from Earth, it might have an atmosphere despite being baked to a temperature of around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. But would that atmosphere be thick and soupy or thin and wispy? New research suggests the latter is much more likely.

NASA prepares to launch first U.S. Asteroid sample return mission

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 7:10pm
NASA is preparing to launch its first mission to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth. The mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.

NASA asteroid redirect mission completes design milestone

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 7:06pm
Following a key program review, NASA approved the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) to proceed to the next phase of design and development for the mission's robotic segment. ARM is a two-part mission that will integrate robotic and crewed spacecraft operations in the proving ground of deep space to demonstrate key capabilities needed for NASA's journey to Mars.

Van Allen probes catch rare glimpse of supercharged radiation belt

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 6:58pm
An interplanetary shock struck the outermost of Earth's Van Allen radiation belts on March 17, 2015, resulting in the greatest geomagnetic storm of the past 10 years.

Brown dwarfs reveal exoplanets' secrets

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 1:49pm
Brown dwarfs are smaller than stars, but more massive than giant planets. As such, they provide a natural link between astronomy and planetary science. However, they also show incredible variation when it comes to size, temperature, chemistry, and more, which makes them difficult to understand, too. New work surveyed various properties of 152 suspected young brown dwarfs in order to categorize their diversity and found that atmospheric properties may be behind much of their differences.

New worlds new horizons: A midterm assessment

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 11:49am
While scientists have made remarkable advancements in astronomy and astrophysics since the beginning of this decade -- notably the first detection of gravitational waves and the discovery of distant Earth-like planets -- unforeseen constraints have slowed progress toward reaching some of the priorities and goals outlined in the Academies' 2010 decadal survey of these disciplines, says a new report.

NASA's Fermi mission expands its search for dark matter

Fri, 08/12/2016 - 4:04pm
Dark matter, the mysterious stuff that makes up most of the material universe, continues to vex scientists, but three creative studies using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have helped whittle down some possibilities.

Ten trillionths of your suntan comes from beyond our galaxy

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 7:07pm
Astronomers have accurately measured the light hitting the Earth from outside our galaxy and determined that 10 trillionths of your suntan comes from beyond our galaxy.

Hubble uncovers a galaxy pair coming in from the wilderness

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 2:26pm
Two tiny dwarf galaxies have been observed that have wandered from a vast cosmic wilderness into a nearby 'big city' packed with galaxies. After being quiescent for billions of years, they are ready to party by starting a firestorm of star birth.