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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: 8 hours 55 min ago

Small asteroid or comet 'visits' from beyond the solar system

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 10:45am
A small, recently discovered asteroid -- or perhaps a comet -- appears to have originated from outside the solar system, coming from somewhere else in our galaxy. If so, it would be the first "interstellar object" to be observed and confirmed by astronomers.

Astronomers discover sunscreen snow falling on hot exoplanet

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 1:53pm
Astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope to find a blistering-hot giant planet outside our solar system where the atmosphere 'snows' titanium dioxide -- the active ingredient in sunscreen. These observations are the first detections of this 'snow-out' process, called a 'cold trap,' on an exoplanet. The research provides insight into the complexity of weather and atmospheric composition on exoplanets, and may someday be useful for gauging the habitability of Earth-size planets.

Scientists detect comets outside our solar system

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 1:53pm
Scientists, working closely with amateur astronomers, have spotted the dusty tails of six exocomets -- comets outside our solar system -- orbiting a faint star 800 light years from Earth.

James Webb Space Telescope's laser-focused sight

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 1:52pm
About 1 million miles away from the nearest eye surgeon, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will be able to perfect its own vision while in orbit.

Wobbling galaxies: New evidence for dark matter makes it even more exotic

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 10:31am
Astronomers have discovered that the brightest galaxies within galaxy clusters 'wobble' relative to the cluster's center of mass. This unexpected result is inconsistent with predictions made by the current standard model of dark matter. With further analysis it may provide insights into the nature of dark matter, perhaps even indicating that new physics is at work.

Comet mission reveals 'missing link' in our understanding of planet formation

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 2:04pm
The missing link in our understanding of planet formation has been revealed by the first ever spacecraft to orbit and land on a comet, say scientists.

Galactic secrets revealed

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 9:05am
Countless galaxies vie for attention in this monster image of the Fornax Galaxy Cluster, some appearing only as pinpricks of light while others dominate the foreground. One of these is the lenticular galaxy NGC 1316. The turbulent past of this much-studied galaxy has left it with a delicate structure of loops, arcs and rings that astronomers have now imaged in greater detail than ever before with the VLT Survey Telescope.

Spots on supergiant star drive spirals in stellar wind

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 11:56am
Astronomers have recently discovered that spots on the surface of a supergiant star are driving huge spiral structures in its stellar wind.

NASA's MAVEN mission finds Mars has a twisted magnetic tail

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 6:18pm
Mars has an invisible magnetic 'tail' that is twisted by interaction with the solar wind, according to new research using data from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft.

New NASA study improves search for habitable worlds

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 6:18pm
New NASA research is helping to refine our understanding of candidate planets beyond our solar system that might support life.

Noxious ice cloud on Saturn's moon Titan

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:10am
Researchers with NASA's Cassini mission found evidence of a toxic hybrid ice in a wispy cloud high above the south pole of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

Solar eruptions could electrify Martian moons

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 12:41pm
Powerful solar eruptions could electrically charge areas of the Martian moon Phobos to hundreds of volts, presenting a complex electrical environment that could possibly affect sensitive electronics carried by future robotic explorers, according to a new NASA study. The study also considered electrical charges that could develop as astronauts transit the surface on potential human missions to Phobos.

Potential human habitat located on the moon

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 10:43am
A new study confirms the existence of a large open lava tube in the Marius Hills region of the moon, which could be used to protect astronauts from hazardous conditions on the surface.

How bright is the moon, really?

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 4:37pm
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is planning to take new measurements of the Moon's brightness, a highly useful property that satellites rely upon every day.

To keep Saturn's A ring contained, its moons stand united

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 12:43pm
For three decades, astronomers thought that only Saturn's moon Janus confined the planet's A ring -- the largest and farthest of the visible rings. But after poring over NASA's Cassini mission data, astronomers now conclude that the teamwork of seven moons keeps this ring corralled.

Catch a fleeting kilonova

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:26pm
Alerted by the first-ever gravitational waves caused by two neutron stars merging, astronomers detect the resulting optical flash.

Seeing the light of neutron star collisions

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:21pm
When two neutron stars collided on Aug. 17, a widespread search for electromagnetic radiation from the event led to observations of light from the afterglow of the explosion, finally connecting a gravitational-wave-producing event with conventional astronomy using light, according to an international team of astronomers.

Hubble observes source of gravitational waves for the first time

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:21pm
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has observed for the first time the source of a gravitational wave, created by the merger of two neutron stars. This merger created a kilonova -- an object predicted by theory decades ago -- that ejects heavy elements such as gold and platinum into space. This event also provides the strongest evidence yet that short duration gamma-ray bursts are caused by mergers of neutron stars.

Gravitational waves plus new clues from space reveal new way to make a black hole

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:28am
For the first time, scientists have detected both gravitational waves and light shooting toward our planet from the birthplace of a new black hole created by the merger of two neutron stars. The discovery marks the beginning of a new era of

Gamma-ray burst detection just what researchers exclusively predicted

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:28am
More than a month before a game-changing detection of a short gamma-ray burst, scientists predicted such a discovery would occur.