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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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Michael C. Hall entertains the guests in between speakers
Michael C. Hall entertains the guests in between speakers
Joe Crimmings Photography
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
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
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
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 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
Untitled
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/NOAJ
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
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)
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
Diagramatic showing location of Horsehead Nebula in relation to surrounding objects
Diagramatic showing location of Horsehead Nebula in relation to surrounding objects
ESA / Herschel
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 ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) during observations. A reddish laser beam is launched to create a...
The ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) during observations. A reddish laser beam is launched to create an artificial star at an altitude of 90 km in the Earth´s mesosphere. This Laser Guide Star (LGS) allows astronomers to remove the effects of atmospheric turbulence, producing images almost as sharp as if the telescope were in space.
ESO - Serge Brunier.
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
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
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
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
Valles Marineris on Mars
Valles Marineris on Mars
ESA DLR Mars Express
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