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Astronomy News

Neutron star smashup 'transforms' our understanding of Universe

Paris - For the first time, scientists have witnessed the cataclysmic crash of two ultra-dense neutron stars in a galaxy far away, and concluded that such impacts forged at least half the gold in the Universe.

Neutron star crash: 'The gift that will keep on giving'

Paris - The astrophysics world is abuzz after the first-ever observation of two neutron stars merging in a cataclysmic crash that left a rich trail of debris for scientists to comb through.

Neutron star smash-up the 'discovery of a lifetime'

Paris - "Truly a eureka moment", "Everything I ever hoped for", "A dream come true" -- Normally restrained scientists reached for the stars Monday to describe the feelings that accompany a "once-in-a-lifetime" event.

Asteroid grazes past Earth in 'critical' rehearsal

Paris - A house-sized asteroid grazed past Earth Thursday, passing harmlessly inside the Moon's orbit, as predicted, to give experts a rare opportunity to rehearse for a real strike threat in future.

Cassini readies final plunge into Saturn

Washington - NASA's Cassini probe is counting its final hours before one last plunge into Saturn on Friday that will cap a fruitful 13-year mission that greatly expanded knowledge about the gas giant.

Total solar eclipse mesmerizes America

Charleston - Sky-gazers stood transfixed across North America Monday as the Sun vanished behind the Moon in a rare total eclipse that swept the continent coast-to-coast for the first time in nearly a century.

How to safely watch an eclipse

Miami - Everyone who plans to look skyward when the solar eclipse sweeps across the United States on Monday should have the proper protective eyewear, or risk lasting blind spots, experts warn.Regular sunglasses will not do, the US space agency says.

Eclipse-chasers trot the globe, addicted to Moon's shadow

Miami - Eclipse-chasers are a dedicated crew of scientists who travel the globe to catch a few moments in eerie darkness, and even after seeing dozens of eclipses, they say they can't get enough.

Meet synestia, a new type of planetary object

Astrophysicists are proposing a new type of planetary object which they’ve named a 'synestia'. By this they are referring to a large, rotating, donut-shaped mass of hot, vaporized rock.

Is frost present on the Moon?

Houston - Although it has been studied with regularity and visited several times, the Moon continues to present surprises. It appears that bright areas in craters near the moon's south pole are cold enough to have frost present.

New lease of life for Ukraine's war-torn mountain observatory

Ukraine - Perched spectacularly 2,000 metres up on a snowcapped peak in Ukraine's Carpathian Mountains, the Bilyi Slon observatory has stood empty and battered by the elements for some seven decades.

New lease of life for Ukraine's war-torn mountain observatory

Ukraine - Perched spectacularly 2,000 metres up on a snowcapped peak in Ukraine's Carpathian Mountains, the Bilyi Slon observatory has stood empty and battered by the elements for some seven decades.

Large asteroid to hurtle past Earth on April 19

Paris - An asteroid as big as the Rock of Gibraltar will streak past Earth on April 19 at a safe but uncomfortably close distance, according to astronomers.

The Sun had no sunspots for two weeks

Reading - Astronomers working for NASA regularly monitor the Sun and note down any unusual patterns. Last month the Solar Dynamics Observatory flagged up something unusual: there were no sunspots for a 15 day period.

Chile desert combed for clues to life on Mars

Antofagasta - Chile's Atacama desert may seem to contain little besides red-grey rocks and sand -- but scientists are busy searching here for clues to life in a place it much resembles: Mars.

Seven Earth-like planets discovered around single star

Paris - Researchers announced Wednesday the stunning discovery of seven Earth-like planets orbiting a small star in our galaxy, opening up the most promising hunting ground so far for life beyond the Solar System.

Milky Way: glimpses of a 'star factory' at work

Paris - The European Space Agency on Wednesday released stunning images of baby stars taking shape inside the Milky Way's Orion nebula.

Strange radio waves emanating from space

Astrophysicists have detected gamma rays that are associated with one of mysterious intergalactic fast radio bursts. Such mysterious flashes of radio waves from deep space continue to be detected.

'Thank the aliens': Thousands displaced for China's huge telescope

Ronghua - Humanity’s best bet at detecting aliens is a giant silver Chinese dish the size of 30 football fields -- one that simultaneously showcases Beijing's abilities to deploy cutting-edge technologies and ignore objectors' rights as it seeks global promine...

World looks up to gaze at extra bright 'supermoon'

Paris - Skygazers took to high-rise buildings, tourist landmarks and beaches worldwide on Monday to catch a glimpse of the closest "supermoon" to Earth in almost seven decades.

Clouds spotted swirling around Pluto

Despite the downgrading of Pluto from a planet (and the ninth in the solar system) to a dwarf planet, much about the far-flung celestial object remains a mystery. A new puzzle involves the presence of clouds.

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.
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Astronomy Image

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
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
Michael C. Hall entertains the guests in between speakers
Michael C. Hall entertains the guests in between speakers
Joe Crimmings Photography
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)
Bill Nye and Robert Picardo introduce the first edition of The Planetary Society s new regular updat...
Bill Nye and Robert Picardo introduce the first edition of The Planetary Society's new regular update The Planetary Post
The Planetary Society via YouTube (Screen Grab)
Artist s impression of the ESA s Euclid space telescope scheduled for a 2020 launch
Artist's impression of the ESA's Euclid space telescope scheduled for a 2020 launch
European Space Agency - ESA Press
Many Aboriginal groups interpret the Great Rift in the Milky Way as a river in the sky. Other groups...
Many Aboriginal groups interpret the Great Rift in the Milky Way as a river in the sky. Other groups identfy it as the Rainbow Serpent.
Brocken Inaglory
Aerial photo of CTIO at cerro Tololo  Chile  a 4 meter telecope participating in the Dark Energy Sur...
Aerial photo of CTIO at cerro Tololo, Chile, a 4 meter telecope participating in the Dark Energy Survey. The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory hosts the DES's Dark Energy Camera, one of the world’s most powerful digital cameras
Dark Energy Survey
Artist s impression of an exoplanet
Artist's impression of an exoplanet
IAU
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
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
Artist s impression of the newly discovered star WISE J085510.83-071442.5  the coldest known brown d...
Artist's impression of the newly discovered star WISE J085510.83-071442.5, the coldest known brown dwarf star. Brown dwarfs are dim star-like bodies that lack the mass to burn nuclear fuel as other stars do.The new star is the fourth closest to our Sun, at 7.2 light-years from Earth.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Penn State University
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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

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