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Astronomy News

Milky Way Gaia probe 'maps more than a billion stars'

Paris - The Gaia space probe, launched in 2013, has mapped more than a billion stars in the Milky Way, vastly expanding the inventory of known stars in our galaxy, the European Space Agency said Wednesday.

NASA unveils photos of Jupiter's poles

Washington - NASA published the first-ever images of Jupiter's north pole and its southern aurora, taken during the Juno spacecraft's first orbital flyby of the gaseous giant.

Habitable planet found in solar system next door

Paris - Scientists Wednesday announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet orbiting the star nearest our Sun, opening up the glittering prospect of a habitable world that may one day be explored by robots.

How to watch tonight's spectacular meteor shower

The meteor shower runs from July 17 until August 24 this year and will reach its peak in the evening hours of August 11.

Thousands of tiny robots will look 11 billion years back in time

An army of 5,000 tiny robots has been given a giant mission. Under the command of scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL), the robot soldiers will peer 11 billion years back in time (just 400,000 years after the Big Bang).

Scientists are peering millions of years back in time

Thirty years ago, an exploding star 168,000 light years away appeared as a small pinpoint of light in the night sky. The supernova, known as SN 1987A, occurred in a neighboring galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud.

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.
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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
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
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
Diagram illustrating the closest star systems to the Sun with dates discovered. 

NASA s Wide-field ...
Diagram illustrating the closest star systems to the Sun with dates discovered. NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, found two of the four closest systems: the binary brown dwarf WISE 1049-5319 and the brown dwarf WISE J085510.83-071442.5.
NASA/Penn State University
Artist s conception of HIP-11952 and its two orbiting exoplanets.
Artist's conception of HIP-11952 and its two orbiting exoplanets.
Timotheos Samartzidis
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
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 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
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
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.
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
The Pluto system as we know it today. Four small moons--Styx  Nix  Kerberos and Hydra  orbit the cen...
The Pluto system as we know it today. Four small moons--Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra, orbit the central "binary planet" comprising Pluto and its large, nearby moon Charon.
NASA/STScI/Showalter
Untitled
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/NOAJ
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
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
Michael C. Hall entertains the guests in between speakers
Michael C. Hall entertains the guests in between speakers
Joe Crimmings Photography
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 Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope  formerly GLAST  detects a NOVA as it develops on the constellat...
The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, formerly GLAST, detects a NOVA as it develops on the constellation Cygnus, V407 Cyg.
NASA
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