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Updated: 5 hours 35 min ago

The sky this week for May 25 to June 3

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 04:00
A “black-eyed” Jupiter, a dazzling Venus, and a cluster of bees all make appearances in the sky this week.
Categories: Astronomy

Spaceflight from exoplanets is more difficult than you might think

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 04:00
Getting off the ground on a super-Earth might require super-strong propulsion.
Categories: Astronomy

Dino Doomsday Asteroid Baked Earth for 100,000 Years

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 04:00
Some 66 million years ago, a city-sized asteroid set fire to the planet and began what was likely the worst day in history. Decades of research have helped illuminate the actual impact. But scientists are still figuring out what happened over the years that followed. Based on studies of the impact site, it’s likely that sulfur vaporized from the crater would have choked our atmosphere and blocked the sun for years or decades. So Earth likely cooled into a kind of nuclear winter, with land
Categories: Astronomy

Astronomers take a close look at a distant stellar corpse

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 04:00
The wake of gas from its brown dwarf companion has magnified this tiny pulsar for closer scrutiny.
Categories: Astronomy

Astronomy Backstage Pass: Chicago

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 04:00
Take a private tour unlike any other.
Categories: Astronomy

Shedding light on dark galaxies

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 04:00

Astronomers recently found at least six galaxies in a “dark phase,” a hypothesized epoch that fills in a crucial evolutionary gap.

Categories: Astronomy

GRACE-FO Spacecraft Ready to Launch

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 04:00
Twin satellites that will monitor Earth's water cycle are scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California on Tuesday, May 22, in a unique rideshare arrangement. The two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On mission (GRACE-FO) spacecraft will join five Iridium NEXT communications satellites as the payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Liftoff from Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 4E is targeted for 12:47 p.m. PDT (3:47 p.m. EDT), with an instantaneous launch
Categories: Astronomy

Astronomers discover the first interstellar immigrant nestled in Jupiter’s orbit

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 04:00
Although the backward-orbiting asteroid initially came from another star system, it has since been (poorly) hiding out in Jupiter’s orbit.
Categories: Astronomy

Table for One?

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 04:00
How the Fermi Paradox attempts to settle the issue of our apparent aloneness in the universe.
Categories: Astronomy

Snapshot: Second Gaia release results so far

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 04:00
A speeding interstellar invader, the fastest-growing black hole, and more than 10,000 nearby white dwarfs. These are just a few of the early results from the newly released Gaia data.
Categories: Astronomy

The most detailed map of the Orion A molecular cloud to date

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 04:00

By mapping the cloud’s dense star clusters, astronomers reveal clues concerning the formation of stars in distant galaxies, as well as our own Sun.

Categories: Astronomy

The first stars formed when the universe was less than 2% its current age

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 04:00
Astronomers have detected a 13.3-billion-year-old oxygen signal, which suggests the first stars began forming just 250 million years after the Big Bang.
Categories: Astronomy

Snapshot: A ‘lost’ asteroid will zip between the Earth and the Moon tonight

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 04:00
First off, remember the simple yet immortal words of Douglas Adams from his book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — “Don’t panic.” But with that being said, there is an asteroid roughly the size of the Statue of Liberty that will pass uncomfortably close to the Earth tonight at around 6:05 p.m. EDT. The asteroid will pass at about half the Moon’s distance while travelling at nearly 13 kilometers per second (about 30,000 miles per hour). Although there i
Categories: Astronomy

Old Data Reveal New Evidence of Europa Plumes

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 04:00
Scientists re-examining data from an old mission bring new insights to the tantalizing question of whether Jupiter’s moon Europa has the ingredients to support life. The data provide independent evidence that the moon’s subsurface liquid water reservoir may be venting plumes of water vapor above its icy shell. Data collected by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in 1997 were put through new and advanced computer models to untangle a mystery -- a brief, localized bend in the magnetic
Categories: Astronomy

The sky this week for May 11 to May 20

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 04:00
A slew of brilliant planets, a wafer-thin crescent Moon, and a high-riding Big Dipper all stand out in the sky this week.
Categories: Astronomy

Mars helicopter to fly on the Red Planet

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 04:00
NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars. The Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency’s Mars 2020 rover mission, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet. “NASA has a proud history of firsts,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “The idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling. The Mars Helicopter holds much promise
Categories: Astronomy

Why Apollo Flew in a Figure 8

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 04:00
If you’ve ever looked at a schematic for an Apollo flight like the one on the left, you’ll notice right away that it traces out a figure 8, which leads many to wonder why? Surely it’s easier to go in a straight line, right? Turns out, it was the safest way to travel. There are a few things at play here that come together to make it a figure 8, so let’s start with a quick video explainer that has some visuals that will help. And then we can jump into the mission in more d
Categories: Astronomy

'New views of Jupiter' showcases swirling clouds on giant planet

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 04:00
Members of NASA’s Juno mission team, some of the world’s leading observers of Jupiter, and citizen scientists from across the globe will attend a workshop ‘New Views of Jupiter: Pro-Am Collaborations during and beyond the NASA Juno Mission’ at the Royal Astronomical Society in London on 10-11 May. JunoCam images presented at the meeting by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran include an animation showing the evolution of swirling features in the
Categories: Astronomy

The first carbon-rich asteroid found in the Kuiper Belt

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 04:00

The inner solar system asteroid was likely ejected to the Kuiper Belt during our gas giants’ outward migration.

Categories: Astronomy

When Is A Planet A Planet?

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 04:00
On a basic level, it seems that most of the universe can be divided into two kinds of big objects: stars and planets. A star is a massive ball of burning gas whose main function is fusing hydrogen into helium. They are formed by huge clouds of gas that eventually come together in sufficient quantities to kick off nuclear reactions. Planets, in turn, come from the material left around the star after its formation. They form from small bits that clump together into protoplanets which in turn sma
Categories: Astronomy

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