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Astronomy News

Mega-tsunamis 'sculpted' Mars surface

Paris - Monster tsunamis caused by meteor impacts swept across the northern plains of Mars more than three billion years ago, radically resculpting the edges of the Red Planet's ancient seas, according to a study published Thursday.

Mercury rising: Astronomers gear up for planetary alignment

Paris - Astronomers are preparing for one of the highlights of the skywatchers' year, when the Sun, Mercury and Earth all line up -- a phenomenon that happens just a dozen or so times per century.

Scientists discover three 'potentially habitable' planets

Paris - An international team of scientists said Monday they had discovered a trio of Earth-like planets that are the best bet so far for finding life outside our solar system.

James Webb telescope set to replace Hubble

Houston - NASA has revealed details of the main mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope. The telescope is set to be launched in 2018 and it will be bigger and more powerful than Hubble.

Total solar eclipse sweeps across Indonesia

Ternate - A total solar eclipse swept across the vast Indonesian archipelago on Wednesday, marked by ecstatic sky gazers cheering the spectacle, devout Muslims kneeling in prayer and tribespeople performing rituals.

Total solar eclipse sweeps across Indonesia

Ternate - A total solar eclipse swept across the vast Indonesian archipelago on Wednesday, marked by ecstatic sky gazers cheering the spectacle, devout Muslims kneeling in prayer and tribespeople performing rituals.

Total solar eclipse sweeps across Indonesia

Ternate - A total solar eclipse swept across the vast Indonesian archipelago on Wednesday, marked by ecstatic sky gazers cheering the spectacle, devout Muslims kneeling in prayer and tribespeople performing rituals.

Indonesia to mark eclipse with tribal rituals, prayers

Jakarta - A total solar eclipse will sweep across the vast Indonesian archipelago this week, witnessed by hordes of sky gazers and marked by parties, colourful tribal rituals and Muslim prayers.

New Planetary Post newsletter a 'must watch' for space devotees

Pasadena - California-based non-profit, The Planetary Society, this week launched a new digital monthly newsletter, the Planetary Post, that promises to bring astronomy to the masses.

Einstein was right: U.S. researchers detect gravitational waves

Washington - After decades of effort, scientists in the United States have opened a new era of discovery by detecting gravitational waves 100 years after famed theoretical physicist Albert Einstein first predicted their existence in his general theory of relativity.

Scientists glimpse Einstein's gravitational waves

Washington - In a landmark discovery for physics and astronomy, scientists said Thursday they have glimpsed the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space-time that Albert Einstein predicted a century ago.

NASA Dawn mission reveals dwarf planet Ceres with crystal clarity

Pasadena - The latest images of Ceres, taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, show sections of this mysterious dwarf planet in breathtaking detail.

Giant comets may threaten Earth: Astronomers

Paris - Planet Earth could be at higher risk of a space rock impact than widely thought, according to astronomers who suggested Tuesday keeping a closer eye on distant giant comets.

Dead comet with skull face to hurtle by Earth on Halloween

Miami - A massive space rock that will shave by Earth on Halloween looks like a dead comet with a skull face, NASA said after gaining a closer look at the spooky space object.

White House welcomes Muslim teen falsely accused of making a bomb

Washington - The Muslim teenager who was detained when his teacher mistook his homemade clock for a bomb visited the White House Monday, after a receiving a very public invite from President Barack Obama.

Layman help sought in solving dwarf planet mysteries

Paris - Throwing open the doors to the hallowed halls of science, stumped researchers welcomed help from the public Wednesday in solving a number of nagging mysteries about dwarf planet Ceres.

Liquid water found on Mars: NASA

Washington - Liquid water has been observed on the planet Mars which makes it far more likely that life could be found there, the US space agency NASA said Monday.

Skygazers treated to rare combined 'super blood moon' and eclipse

Washington - Skygazers were treated to a rare astronomical event Monday when a "supermoon" and lunar eclipse combined for the first time in decades, showing Earth's satellite bathed in blood-red light.

New Horizons: Solar wind stripping away Pluto's atmosphere

Baltimore - The latest data from NASA’s Pluto probe, New Horizons, suggests the dwarf planet’s atmosphere is being stripped away by the solar wind and lost to space.

Forearming for Armageddon: Asteroid Day 2015

London - Asteroid Day 2015 is scheduled for June 30 and, with less than a week to go, organizers are putting the final touches on more than 50 events planned worldwide with the aim of raising public awareness about asteroids and their detection.

Rosetta comet-chasing mission extended to September 2016

Paris - The European Space Agency announced Tuesday that its historic comet-chasing mission Rosetta had been extended until the end of September 2016."The adventure continues," the ESA declared.

Pluto: Observing chaos at solar system's outer limits

Munich - Gathering all available telescope data on the minor planet Pluto and its satellites from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), two astronomers have carried out the most in depth analysis yet of one of the solar systems great mysteries.

Water was abundant in universe’s early years

Tel Aviv - Researchers attached to the Harvard Astronomy Program at Tel Aviv University in Israel discovered that water was plentiful in the early universe, finding evidence that water vapor formed much earlier than previously believed.

Water on white dwarf raises prospects of H2O-rich planets

Paris - Large amounts of water may exist on numerous deep space bodies, said a study Thursday that raises the theoretical odds of another planet like Earth sporting the life-giving resource.

Learning about stars and planets at Bayfordbury Observatory Special

Hertford - On a Saturday night in May Bayfordbury Observatory, (Hertfordshire, U.K.) opened its doors for some fun science, a planetarium experience, and a chance to see some sophisticated telescopes.

Dark Energy Detectives' cosmic map sheds light on dark matter

Baltimore - An international team of scientists participating in the Dark Energy Survey have published the first of a series of dark matter maps of the cosmos.

Infant star's molecules suggest life's chemistry universal

Munich - Using the Chile-based European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have detected the presence of the building blocks of life in an infant star system for the first time.

Astronomy: Unfolding formation of a massive star in action

Socorro - Images of a young star system taken 18 years apart have revealed astonishing changes, giving astronomers a unique perspective on stars at the earliest stage of their formation.

Life on Mars? Curiosity Rover finds biologically useful nitrogen

Pasadena - NASA scientists using instrumentation on board NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover have discovered nitrogen on the Martian surface for the first time.

Magical views from top of the world for solar eclipse

Longyearbyen - All eyes were turned to the heavens early Friday for a solar eclipse offering spectacular views from selected airplane seats, European countries with clear skies and a remote Arctic archipelago.
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NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/NOAJ
A comparison of features of the so-called Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula between 1995 and 2...
A comparison of features of the so-called Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula between 1995 and 2014
Hubblesite
Artist s impression of a rocky and water-rich asteroid being torn apart by the strong gravity of the...
Artist's impression of a rocky and water-rich asteroid being torn apart by the strong gravity of the white dwarf star GD 61. Similar objects in the Solar System likely delivered the bulk of water on Earth
Mark A. Garlick
The newly discovered quasar SDSS J0100+2802 is the one with the most massive black hole and the high...
The newly discovered quasar SDSS J0100+2802 is the one with the most massive black hole and the highest luminosity among all known distant quasars.
Zhaoyu Li/Shanghai Observatory
The faces of Iowa s next generation of leaders shine with hope on the Silicon Prairie
The faces of Iowa's next generation of leaders shine with hope on the Silicon Prairie
Joe Crimmings Photography
Artists impression of Kepler Space Telescope
Artists impression of Kepler Space Telescope
NASA/JPL
Herschel’s view of the Horsehead Nebula in the context of its surroundings. The image is a composi...
Herschel’s view of the Horsehead Nebula in the context of its surroundings. The image is a composite of the wavelengths of 70 microns (blue), 160 microns (green) and 250 microns (red), and covers 4.5x1.5 degrees. The image is oriented with northeast towards the left of the image and southwest towards the right.
ESA/Herschel/PACS, SPIRE/N. Schneider, Ph. André, V. Könyves (CEA Saclay, France) for the “Gould
Europa has a unique composition of ice that intrigues scientists.
Europa has a unique composition of ice that intrigues scientists.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Cassiopeia A (Cas A for short)  the youngest known supernova remnant in the Milky Way.
Cassiopeia A (Cas A for short), the youngest known supernova remnant in the Milky Way.
NASA/CXC/MIT/UMass Amherst/M.D. Stage et al.
An artist’s impression showing how Mars may have looked about 4 billion years ago. The young plane...
An artist’s impression showing how Mars may have looked about 4 billion years ago. The young planet would have had enough water to cover its entire surface in a liquid layer about 140 metres deep. More likely, however, the liquid would have pooled forming an ocean spanning almost half of Mars' northern hemisphere, in some regions reaching depths greater than 1.6 kilometers.
ESO/M. Kornmesser
This rendering shows the size of GJ 1214b and another  larger exoplanet compared to Earth and Neptun...
This rendering shows the size of GJ 1214b and another, larger exoplanet compared to Earth and Neptune. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal cloudy weather on the alien world of GJ 1214b.
NASA & ESA
An artist s impression of a quasar with a supermassive black hole in the distant universe.
An artist's impression of a quasar with a supermassive black hole in the distant universe.
Zhaoyu Li/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Misti Mountain Observatory
An artist’s impression shows how Mars may have looked about four billion years ago. The young plan...
An artist’s impression shows how Mars may have looked about four billion years ago. The young planet Mars would have had enough water to cover its entire surface in a liquid layer about 140 metres deep, but it is more likely that the liquid would have pooled to form an ocean occupying almost half of Mars’s northern hemisphere, and in some regions reaching depths greater than 1.6 kilometers.
ESO/M. Kornmesser/N. Risinger (skysurvey.org)
Bridging Cities of Galaxies: Planck has discovered a bridge of hot gas that connects galaxy clusters...
Bridging Cities of Galaxies: Planck has discovered a bridge of hot gas that connects galaxy clusters Abell 399 (lower center) & Abell 401 (top left). The galaxy pair is located about a billion light-years from Earth. The gas bridge extends approximately 10 million light-years between them. The image shows the 2 galaxy clusters as seen at optical wavelengths with ground-based telescopes & through the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect (in orange) with the Planck satellite.
NSA/JPL Sunyaev–Zel’dovich effect: ESA Planck Collaboration; optical image: STScI Digitized Sky
Artist s depiction of Jupiter-like exoplanet in a solar system far far away.
Artist's depiction of Jupiter-like exoplanet in a solar system far far away.
By Latitude0116 at en.wikipedia from Wikimedia Commons.
The Sandia Z Machine was used to develop a new shock-wave technique to measure an important material...
The Sandia Z Machine was used to develop a new shock-wave technique to measure an important material property
Randy Montoya
Artist s impression of possible wandering exoplanet designated CFBDSIR2149
Artist's impression of possible wandering exoplanet designated CFBDSIR2149
European Southern Observatory
A slice through a computer simulation of the cosmic web  showing a region almost a billion light yea...
A slice through a computer simulation of the cosmic web, showing a region almost a billion light years across. The brighter and redder regions are the densest, and are where galaxy clusters tend to form.
Image courtesy of Klaus Dolag, Universitäts-Sternwarte München, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität M
Artist s conception of HIP-11952 and its two orbiting exoplanets.
Artist's conception of HIP-11952 and its two orbiting exoplanets.
Timotheos Samartzidis
Aligning his camera on the same star for nine successive exposures  Sky & Telescope contributing pho...
Aligning his camera on the same star for nine successive exposures, Sky & Telescope contributing photographer Akira Fujii captured this record of the Moon’s progress dead center through the Earth’s shadow in July 2000. Credit: Sky & Telescope / Akira Fujii
Sky & Telescope / Akira Fujii