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Astronomy News

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.

NASA announces live coverage of European comet landing

Pasadena - NASA television will provide live coverage of the European Space Agency’s comet lander mission scheduled to touchdown on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday, Nov.12.

Black holes acting as stopcocks shutting off new star formation

Baltimore - Massive black holes at the centre of older galaxies operate as a brake on the formation of new stars, a study has found.

Two families of comets found orbiting nearby star

Paris - Such has been the huge advances in the field of space telescopes in recent years that astronomers are now turning their attention to comets in orbit around stars other than our Sun.

Saturn’s weird wobbly moon, Mimas

Ithaca - Saturn’s moon Mimas is already an oddity, being the most cratered object in the Solar System and likened to the Death Star of Star Wars fame. But new research this week points to Mimas being even weirder than previously thought.

Tectonics on Jupiter’s moon Europa — another similarity to Earth

Moscow - Planetary geologists report evidence that Jupiter’s moon Europa shows signs of plate tectonics, shaping and moulding the moon’s surface similar to geological activity on Earth.

Europe sees five possible sites for first-ever comet landing

Paris - The European Space Agency (ESA) on Monday said it had drawn up a shortlist of five possible sites for carrying out the first-ever landing on a comet.
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Artist s impression of a white dwarf star in orbit with pulsar PSR J2222-0137. It may be the coolest...
Artist's impression of a white dwarf star in orbit with pulsar PSR J2222-0137. It may be the coolest and dimmest white dwarf ever identified.
B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)
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
A variety of factors  including orbit  dictate whether a planet can be colonized.
A variety of factors, including orbit, dictate whether a planet can be colonized.
GabrielVelasquez
Picture of the oldest known star.
Picture of the oldest known star.
Space Telescope Science Institute
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
The Hubble Space Telescope has revisited the famous Pillars of Creation  revealing a sharper and wid...
The Hubble Space Telescope has revisited the famous Pillars of Creation, revealing a sharper and wider view of the structures in this visible-light image. Astronomers combined several Hubble exposures to assemble the wider view. The towering pillars are about 5 light-years tall. The dark, finger-like feature at bottom right may be a smaller version of the giant pillars. The pillars are bathed in the blistering ultraviolet light from a grouping of young, massive stars located off the top of the i
NASA/ESA
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy has completed the second segment of flight...
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy has completed the second segment of flight tests with its telescope door open to prepare the observatory for first mission.
Carla Thomas- NASA
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.
Artist s impression of Luhman 16B recreated from VLT observations. Luhman 16B is one of a pair of br...
Artist's impression of Luhman 16B recreated from VLT observations. Luhman 16B is one of a pair of brown dwarf objects just 6 light years from the Sun. Astronomers have produced the first maps of Luhman 16B's atmosphere.
ESO / I. Crossfield/N. Risinger
Artist’s conception of HIP 13044 and its exoplanet. A previously discovered metal-poor planetary s...
Artist’s conception of HIP 13044 and its exoplanet. A previously discovered metal-poor planetary system, it was formed in another galaxy that our own galaxy engulfed.
ESO/L. Calçada
Untitled
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/NOAJ
Artist s impression of possible wandering exoplanet designated CFBDSIR2149
Artist's impression of possible wandering exoplanet designated CFBDSIR2149
European Southern Observatory
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.
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
Artist s conception of HIP-11952 and its two orbiting exoplanets.
Artist's conception of HIP-11952 and its two orbiting exoplanets.
Timotheos Samartzidis
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 a stretched rocky planet in orbit around a red dwarf star. So close to t...
An artist’s impression of a stretched rocky planet in orbit around a red dwarf star. So close to the star, there is a difference in the strength of the gravitational field on each side of the planet, stretching it significantly.
Royal Astronomical Society - Shivam Sikroria.
These images by NASA s Hubble Space Telescope reveal how different the iconic Pillars of Creation ap...
These images by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveal how different the iconic Pillars of Creation appear in visible and in near-infrared light. In the visible-light image at left, astronomers combined several exposures to show a wider view of the pillars and the surrounding region. The towering pillars are about 5 light-years tall. The tenuous-looking base of the columns is shown. The near-infrared image at right transforms the pillars into eerie, wispy silhouettes, which are seen against a back
NASA/ESA
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