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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

Total solar eclipse viewed from space

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 12:35pm
While people across the nation gazed at August's total solar eclipse from Earth, a bread loaf-sized NASA satellite had a front row seat for the astronomical event.

The strange structures of the Saturn nebula

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 9:33am
The spectacular planetary nebula NGC 7009, or the Saturn Nebula, emerges from the darkness like a series of oddly-shaped bubbles, lit up in glorious pinks and blues. This colourful image was captured by the MUSE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT). The map -- which reveals a wealth of intricate structures in the dust, including shells, a halo and a curious wave-like feature -- will help astronomers understand how planetary nebulae develop their strange shapes and symmetries.

Near-Earth asteroid CubeSat goes full sail

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 1:39pm
NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Scout, a small satellite the size of a shoebox, designed to study asteroids close to Earth, recently performed a full-scale solar sail deployment test. The test was performed in an indoor clean room to ensure the deployment mechanism's functionality after recent environmental testing.

IceCube helps demystify strange radio bursts from deep space

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 1:29pm
Scientists are turning IceCube, the world's most sensitive neutrino telescope, to the task of helping demystify powerful pulses of radio energy generated up to billions of light-years from Earth.

The material that obscures supermassive black holes

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 1:29pm
New research examines the material that obscures active galactic nuclei obtained from infrared and X-ray observations.

Oxygen-deficient dwarf galaxy hints at makings of early universe

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 1:29pm
Astronomers have long searched for understanding of how the universe assembled from simplicity to complexity. A newly studied tiny galaxy is providing clues.

Lava tubes: Hidden sites for future human habitats on the Moon and Mars

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 11:28am
Lava tubes, underground caves created by volcanic activity, could provide protected habitats large enough to house streets on Mars or even towns on the Moon, according to new research. A further study shows how the next generation of lunar orbiters will be able to use radar to locate these structures under the Moon's surface. 

NASA'S OSIRIS-REx spacecraft slingshots past Earth

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 4:25pm
NASA's asteroid sample return spacecraft successfully used Earth's gravity on Friday to slingshot itself on a path toward the asteroid Bennu, for a rendezvous next August.

Positive, negative or neutral, it all matters: NASA explains space radiation

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 9:09am
Charged particles may be small, but they matter to astronauts. NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) is investigating these particles to solve one of its biggest challenges for a human journey to Mars: space radiation and its effects on the human body.

Detecting cosmic rays from a galaxy far, far away

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 2:12pm
Where do cosmic rays come from? Solving a 50-year-old mystery, a collaboration of researchers has discovered it's much farther than the Milky Way.

Solar eruption ‘photobombed’ Mars encounter with Comet Siding Spring

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 9:50am
When Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) passed just 140,000 kilometers from Mars on 19th October 2014, depositing a large amount of debris in the Martian atmosphere, space agencies coordinated multiple spacecraft to witness the largest meteor shower in recorded history. It was a rare opportunity, as this kind of planetary event occurs only once every 100,000 years.

Unique type of object discovered in our solar system

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 2:47pm
Astronomers have observed the intriguing characteristics of an unusual type of object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter: two asteroids orbiting each other and exhibiting comet-like features, including a bright coma and a long tail. This is the first known binary asteroid also classified as a comet.

New concept of terrestrial planet formation

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 1:17pm
Scientists are proposing a new way of understanding the cooling and transfer of heat from terrestrial planetary interiors and how that affects the generation of the volcanic terrains that dominate the rocky planets.

Is the Milky Way an 'outlier' galaxy? Studying its 'siblings' for clues

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 11:33am
The most-studied galaxy in the universe -- the Milky Way -- might not be as 'typical' as previously thought, according to a new study. Early results from the Satellites Around Galactic Analogs (SAGA) Survey indicate that the Milky Way's satellites are much more tranquil than other systems of comparable luminosity and environment. Many satellites of those 'sibling' galaxies are actively pumping out new stars, but the Milky Way's satellites are mostly inert.

Space radiation is risky business for the human body

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 10:01am
NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) is working to protect the whole human body from radiation in space. Space radiation is dangerous and one of the primary health risks for astronauts. Virtually any cell in the body is susceptible to radiation damage.

Mercury's poles may be icier than scientists thought

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 12:31pm
A new study identifies three large surface ice deposits near Mercury's north pole, and suggests there could be many additional small-scale deposits that would dramatically increase the planet's surface ice inventory.

Size matters in the detection of exoplanet atmospheres

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 9:26am
A group-analysis of 30 exoplanets orbiting distant stars suggests that size, not mass, is a key factor in whether a planet’s atmosphere can be detected. The largest population-study of exoplanets to date successfully detected atmospheres around 16 ‘hot Jupiters’, and found that water vapor was present in every case.

Solar wind impacts on giant 'space hurricanes' may affect satellite safety

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 9:10am
Could the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Costa Rica set off a hurricane in California? For most people, this hypothetical scenario may be difficult to imagine on Earth -- particularly when a real disaster strikes. Yet, in space, similarly small fluctuations in the solar wind as it streams toward the Earth's magnetic shield actually can affect the speed and strength of 'space hurricanes,' a researcher explains.

When radio galaxies collide, supermassive black holes form tightly bound pairs

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 12:35pm
Supermassive black holes found in the centers of galaxies can form gravitationally bound pairs when galaxies merge, according to a new study.

Secrets of bright, rapidly spinning star revealed

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 11:18am
Almost 50 years after it was first predicted that rapidly rotating stars would emit polarized light, scientists have succeeded in observing the phenomenon for the first time. They have now detected the polarized light from Regulus, one of the brightest stars in the night sky.