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Space News - Space, Astronomy, Space Exploration



Phys.org provides the latest news on astronomy and space exploration.



 



NASA's Cassini poised to plunge beneath Saturn's rings

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:14:37 EDT

An unmanned NASA spacecraft, Cassini, is poised to plunge into the gap between Saturn and its rings, a pioneering journey that could offer an unprecedented view of the sixth planet from the Sun.



New survey hints at exotic origin for the Cold Spot

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:19:27 EDT

A supervoid is unlikely to explain a 'Cold Spot' in the cosmic microwave background, according to the results of a new survey, leaving room for exotic explanations like a collision between universes. The researchers, led by postgraduate student Ruari Mackenzie and Professor Tom Shanks in Durham University's Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy, publish their results in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.



Team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:14:16 EDT

From the earliest days of our solar system's history, collisions between astronomical objects have shaped the planets and changed the course of their evolution. Studying the early bombardment history of Mars, scientists at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and the University of Arizona have discovered a 400-million-year lull in large impacts early in Martian history.



Into the submillimeter—the early universe's formation

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:10:01 EDT

In order to make sense of our universe, astronomers have to work hard, and they have to push observing technology to the limit. Some of that hard work revolves around what are called sub-millimeter galaxies (SMGs.) SMGs are galaxies that can only be observed in the submillimeter range of the electromagnetic spectrum.



Astrophysicists study 'rejuvenating' pulsar in a neighboring galaxy

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:00:01 EDT

Lomonosov Moscow State University scientists published the results of a study of unique ultra-slow pulsar XB091D. This neutron star is believed to have captured a companion only a million years ago, and since then, has been slowly restoring its rapid rotation. The young pulsar is located in one of the oldest globular star clusters in the Andromeda galaxy, where the cluster may once have been a dwarf galaxy.



Astronomers detect dozens of new quasars and galaxies

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:00:01 EDT

(Phys.org)—A team of astronomers led by Yoshiki Matsuoka of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) has detected a treasure trove of new high-redshift quasars (or quasi-stellar objects) and luminous galaxies. The newly found objects could be very important for our understanding of the early universe. The findings were presented Apr. 19 in a paper published on arXiv.org.



Image: James Webb Space Telescope mirror seen in full bloom

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:07:38 EDT

It's springtime and the deployed primary mirror of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope looks like a spring flower in full bloom.



Image: Titan flyby 22 April 2017

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 06:49:22 EDT

In the early hours of Saturday morning, the international Cassini–Huygens mission made its final close flyby of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, coming within 1000 km of the atmosphere-clad world.



Preliminary results of Breakthrough Listen project released

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 06:30:55 EDT

(Phys.org)—The team of researchers working on the Breakthrough Listen project (affiliated with SETI) has released preliminary findings after sifting through several petabytes of data obtained from three telescopes involved in the research project. The findings have been made available on the project's website as the team awaits publication of a paper in the Astrophysical Journal.



'Celestial Sleuth' credits Messier with discovery 238 years after the fact

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:57:37 EDT

The Ring Nebula is one of the most spectacular deep-sky objects in the heavens. It is easily located by backyard astronomers, intensely studied by astrophysicists and relied upon for show-stopping images on countless book covers and calendar pages.



Cassini completes final—and fateful—Titan flyby

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:32:51 EDT

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has had its last close brush with Saturn's hazy moon Titan and is now beginning its final set of 22 orbits around the ringed planet.



'Better you than me,' Trump tells record-breaking astronaut

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:50:01 EDT

US President Donald Trump congratulated NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson for setting a new space record on Monday, but expressed disdain for a particular rigor of space life—drinking recycled urine.



Astronaut breaks US space record, gets call from Trump (Update)

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:43:18 EDT

Astronaut Peggy Whitson broke the U.S. record Monday for most time in space and talked up Mars during a congratulatory call from President Donald Trump.



Cassini, Voyager missions suggest new picture of Sun's interaction with galaxy

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:23:13 EDT

New data from NASA's Cassini mission, combined with measurements from the two Voyager spacecraft and NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, suggests that our sun and planets are surrounded by a giant, rounded system of magnetic field from the sun—calling into question the alternate view of the solar magnetic fields trailing behind the sun in the shape of a long comet tail.



Jellyfish-shaped galaxy found in Abell 2670 cluster

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 09:00:01 EDT

(Phys.org)—Using the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE), astronomers have identified a new elliptical jellyfish-like galaxy in the Abell 2670 cluster. The newly detected galaxy showcases spectacular one-sided tails of gas and young stars, which indicates intense ram-pressure stripping. The findings were presented Apr. 18 in a paper published on the arXiv pre-print server.



Ancient stone pillars offer clues of comet strike that changed human history

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:40:01 EDT

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with the University of Edinburgh has found what they describe as evidence of a comet striking the Earth at approximately the same time as the onset of the Younger Dryas in carvings on an ancient stone pillar in southern Turkey. The group has published their findings in the journal Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry.



Cassini mission revealed Saturn's secrets

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:30:02 EDT

Cassini is the most sophisticated space probe ever built. Launched in 1997 as a joint NASA/European Space Agency mission, it took seven years to journey to Saturn. It's been orbiting the sixth planet from the sun ever since, sending back data of immense scientific value and images of magnificent beauty.



Video: Earth as a planet

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 06:20:02 EDT

Earth is the largest rocky planet in our Solar System, and the only body we know of capable of supporting life. With so much news about exoplanets dominating the headlines, in this episode of Space we take a step back to take a look at Earth as a planet.



A black hole in a low mass X-ray binary

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 06:01:41 EDT

A globular cluster is a roughly spherical ensemble of stars (as many as several million) that are gravitationally bound together, and typically located in the outer regions of galaxies. Low mass X-ray binary stars (LMXBs) are systems in which one star is compact (a neutron star or black hole) and is accreting matter from a companion star.



Supply ship named for John Glenn arrives at space station

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 07:02:29 EDT

A supply ship bearing John Glenn's name arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday.



SpaceX's next launch to mark start of new era

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 05:20:01 EDT

An upcoming launch of a government spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office will mark the first time the U.S. Department of Defense has used SpaceX for a mission.



China's first cargo spacecraft docks with space lab

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 03:31:58 EDT

China's first cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-1, successfully completed docking with an orbiting space lab on Saturday, the Beijing Aerospace Control Center said.



New look at 2004's martian hole-in-one site

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 15:32:00 EDT

A new observation from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captures the landing platform that the rover Opportunity left behind in Eagle Crater more than 13 years and 27 miles (or 44 kilometers) ago.



Simulated galaxies provide fresh evidence of dark matter

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 15:06:37 EDT

Further evidence of the existence of dark matter – the mysterious substance that is believed to hold the Universe together – has been produced by Cosmologists at Durham University.



Last adventure ahead for NASA's Cassini spacecraft at Saturn

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 14:20:26 EDT

NASA's Cassini spacecraft faces one last perilous adventure around Saturn.



Hubble's cosmic bubbles

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 10:46:44 EDT

This entrancing image shows a few of the tenuous threads that comprise Sh2-308, a faint and wispy shell of gas located 5,200 light-years away in the constellation of Canis Major (The Great Dog).



Swarm explores a new feature of the northern lights

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 09:10:01 EDT

Thanks to social media and the power of citizen scientists chasing the northern lights, a new feature was discovered recently. Nobody knew what this strange ribbon of purple light was, so … it was called Steve.



Studying interstellar dust from a balloon

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 09:00:03 EDT

In just a few days, the Pilot astrophysics experiment will be launched under a stratospheric balloon from Alice Springs in central Australia. Its aim is to observe the polarized emission of dust particles found in the interstellar medium of our galaxy and nearby galaxies.  With a mass approaching one metric ton, Pilot uses the largest balloons ever launched by CNES, the French national space agency. The experiment was developed by the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology (CNRS/CNES/Paul Sabatier University), the Institute of Space Astrophysics (CNRS/Paris-Sud University), and the Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe (CEA-Irfu). The first Pilot flight was launched from Canada in September 2015; the forthcoming flight will thus be its first flight in the southern hemisphere sky, which contains more features of interest for Pilot than the northern hemisphere.



What does the abundance of water in the solar system mean for life?

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:30:02 EDT

There was much excitement when NASA recently revealed new details about the oceans that lurk beneath the surface of Saturn's tiny moon Enceladus and Jupiter's Europa.



Detecting life in the ultra-dry Atacama Desert

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 07:12:19 EDT

Few places are as hostile to life as Chile's Atacama Desert. It's the driest non-polar desert on Earth, and only the hardiest microbes survive there. Its rocky landscape has lain undisturbed for eons, exposed to extreme temperatures and radiation from the sun.