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Astronomy News

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.

Radar 'unclothes' planet Venus

Green Bank - As a planet, Venus, shrouded in thick clouds of carbon dioxide, doesn’t lend itself to visual observation. To lift the veil on Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor, spacecraft such as NASA’s Magellan probe use radar to penetrate Venus' clouds.

When Mars had an ocean

Garching Bei M - Mars once hosted an ocean containing more water than the Arctic ocean. Not only that but this primitive Martian Sea covered a greater proportion of Mars’ surface than the Atlantic Ocean does on Earth.

And now the galaxy's weather forecast: Showers in central parts

Cambridge - With the aid of NASA's orbital Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have discovered that the speed of expansion of galaxies containing supermassive black holes can be retarded by a phenomenon they’ve dubbed cosmic precipitation.

When an iron rain fell on Earth

Not much is known about Earth’s “inner space” —its core — although scientists agree on one thing, much of the core consists of iron. But just how much iron is there remains the subject of debate.

Bright lights on dwarf planet perplex NASA as probe nears

Washington - The discovery of another bright light on the dwarf planet Ceres has NASA scientists perplexed as the US Dawn probe prepares to enter the orbit of the largest object in the asteroid belt and possibly resolve the mystery.

Monster ancient black hole discovered at dawn of time

Tucson - An international team of astronomers recently found an ultraluminous quasar, the brightest in the early universe, powered by the most massive black hole yet discovered.

Why is the Universe full of ‘stuff’ and not nothingness?

Los Angeles - Physicists at UCLA have a new slant on the origin of matter in the universe. That stars and planets are made of stuff we call matter is self-evident, but where did that stuff come from?

UK's Twinkle space mission will wonder at distant star systems

London - A team of UK scientists and engineers announced Friday a new mission to examine exoplanets — planets that orbit stars other than our Sun.

Clues to supernovae found — right here on Earth

Canberra - Think of supernovae and cosmological events millions of light-years away spring to mind. But a team of scientists contends clues to gaining a better understanding of supernovae lie right beneath our feet, or more precisely, beneath Earth’s oceans.

Hubble telescope's high def images of iconic Pillars of Creation

Greenbelt - After a stuttering start before repairs to an out-of-focus lens enabled astronomers to realise the Hubble Space Telescope’s full potential, Hubble has returned a multitude of spectacular images, allowing us to see the Universe as never before seen.

Nearby dwarf galaxy throws wrench in understanding of galaxies

A minuscule dwarf galaxy, named KKs3, has been found in the Milky Way's backyard, about 7 million light years away from us.

Comet probe 'sniffed' organic molecules: early data

Paris - Mankind's first-ever probe of a comet found traces of organic molecules and a surface much harder than imagined, scientists said Tuesday of initial sample data from robot lab Philae.

Images show Philae's historic comet bounce

Paris - The European Space Agency (ESA)on Sunday unveiled images of the probe Philae after it bounced while making its historic landing on a comet last Wednesday.

Comet probe sends back science treasure in final hours

Paris - Europe's science probe Philae sent home a treasure trove of data from a comet heading towards the Sun before falling silent as its power ran out, mission control said Saturday.

Low-battery probe uploading data from comet: ESA

Paris - Europe's comet probe Philae uploaded a slew of science data to Earth Friday, ending a nailbiting wait by mission controllers who feared it would run out of power before making final contact.

Comet probe in race against time to crown stellar feat

Paris - Europe's deep-space robot lab Philae worked against the clock Friday, attempting to drill into a comet 510 million kilometres (320 million miles) from Earth to crown a historic exploration before its battery runs out.

Despite landing fumble, comet probe working well

Paris - Europe's comet probe Philae was "working well" despite a rough-and-tumble touchdown that left it partly shadowed from battery-boosting sunlight, ground controllers said Thursday.

Scientists hope for data after historic but dodgy comet landing

Darmstadt - European scientists were hoping for a stream of data Thursday after a robot lab made the first-ever landing on a comet, a key step in a marathon mission to probe the mysteries of space.

Probe lands on comet in space first: ESA

Darmstadt - The European probe Philae has made the first-ever landing on a comet, a crowning phase in a quest to explore the origins of the Solar System, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Wednesday.

All systems go for historic comet landing

Darmstadt - The European Space Agency (ESA) ordered a probe to attempt Wednesday the first landing on a comet and investigate one of the great mysteries of the Solar System.

Comet-landing mission on track, one last hurdle ahead

Paris - Europe's mission to land the first-ever probe on a comet was on track Wednesday with one final "go" pending for the robot lab to eject from its mothership and start a nail-biting seven-hour descent.

Europe set to make space history with comet landing

Paris - One of the biggest gambles in space history comes to a climax on Wednesday when Europe attempts to make the first-ever landing on a comet.
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Astronomy Image

This Hubble image features dark knots of gas and dust known as  Bok globules   dense pockets in larg...
This Hubble image features dark knots of gas and dust known as "Bok globules," dense pockets in larger molecular clouds. Similar islands of material in the early universe could have held as much water vapor as we find in our galaxy today, despite containing a thousand times less oxygen.
NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team
Artist s Impression of Debris around a White Dwarf Star - what our solar system might look like bill...
Artist's Impression of Debris around a White Dwarf Star - what our solar system might look like billions of years hence after the Sun has exhausted its store of hydrogen and become a white dwarf.
NASA, ESA, STScI, and G. Bacon (STScI)
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
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
Artist s conception of the development of W75N(B)-VLA-2.. At left  a hot wind from the young star ex...
Artist's conception of the development of W75N(B)-VLA-2.. At left, a hot wind from the young star expands nearly spherically, as seen in 1996. At right, as seen in 2014, the hot wind has been shaped by encountering a dusty, donut-shaped torus around the star and appears elongated.
Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF
This artist’s impression shows exocomets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris. Astronomers analysing ob...
This artist’s impression shows exocomets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris. Astronomers analysing observations of nearly 500 individual comets made with the HARPS instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory have discovered two families of exocomets around this nearby young star. The first consists of old exocomets that have made multiple passages near the star. The second family, shown in this illustration, consists of younger exocomets on the same orbit, which probably came from the recent break
ESO/L. Calçada
There were several breaks throughout the day  giving attendees time to network meaningfully.
There were several breaks throughout the day, giving attendees time to network meaningfully.
Joe Crimmings Photography
Artist s impression of an exoplanet
Artist's impression of an exoplanet
IAU
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
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
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
Our sun s sibling HD 162826 is not visible to the unaided eye  but can be seen with low-power binocu...
Our sun's sibling HD 162826 is not visible to the unaided eye, but can be seen with low-power binoculars near the bright star Vega in the night sky.
Ivan Ramirez/Tim Jones/McDonald Observatory
Michael C. Hall entertains the guests in between speakers
Michael C. Hall entertains the guests in between speakers
Joe Crimmings Photography
An artist s impression of exoplanet GJ 1214b. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal ...
An artist's impression of exoplanet GJ 1214b. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal cloudy weather on alien world.
NASA, ESA, & G. Bacon/STScI, STScI-PRC14-06
A false-color image from NASA s Cassini mission highlights the storms at Saturn s north pole. The ey...
A false-color image from NASA's Cassini mission highlights the storms at Saturn's north pole. The eye of a hurricane-like storm appears dark red while the fast-moving hexagonal jet stream framing it is a yellowish green.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI
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
This artist s conception shows a newly formed star surrounded by a swirling protoplanetary disk of d...
This artist's conception shows a newly formed star surrounded by a swirling protoplanetary disk of dust and gas. Debris coalesces to create rocky 'planetesimals' that collide and grow to eventually form planets.
NASA/University of Copenhagen/Lars Buchhave
A schematic of a plasma torus around an exoplanet  which is created by the ions injected from an exo...
A schematic of a plasma torus around an exoplanet, which is created by the ions injected from an exomoon's ionosphere into the planet's magnetosphere.
University of Texas at Arlington
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy 747SP checks out operation of its telescop...
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy 747SP checks out operation of its telescope cavity doors while a NASA F/A-18 mission support aircraft keeps pace alongside during a test flight in preparation for Early Science missions.
NASA - Jim Ross
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

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