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Entranced by a Transit – Cassini Views Dione as it Crosses the Face of Saturn

August 31, 2015

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Image of Saturn's Moon Dione Crossing the Face of Saturn

The Cassini Spacecraft views the moon Dione as it transits Saturn. Saturn’s moon Dione crosses the face of the giant planet in this view, a phenomenon astronomers call a transit. Transits play an important role in astronomy and can be used to study the orbits of planets and their atmospheres, both in our solar system […]

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Newly Released Hubble Image of Spiral Galaxy Messier 96

August 31, 2015

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Hubble Views Spiral Galaxy Messier 96

This newly released image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows Messier 96, a spiral galaxy just over 35 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). Messier 96 is about the same mass and size as the Milky Way. It was first discovered by astronomer Pierre Méchain in 1781, and added to Charles […]

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White Dwarf PG1149+057 Displays ‘Irregular Heartbeats’

August 30, 2015

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White Dwarf PG1149+057 Displays Arrhythmic Massive Outbursts

Using Kepler data, a team of astronomers has observed a white dwarf star displaying massive arrhythmic outbursts, which broke the star’s regular pulse and significantly heated up its surface for many hours. Some dying stars suffer from ‘irregular heartbeats’, research led by astronomers at the University of Warwick has discovered. The research confirms rapid brightening […]

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NASA Selects Potential Kuiper Belt Target for New Horizons

August 29, 2015

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NASA Selects Potential Kuiper Belt Flyby Target for New Horizons

NASA scientists have selected the small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 as the next potential destination for the New Horizons mission. 2014 MU69 orbits nearly a billion miles beyond Pluto. This remote KBO was one of two identified as potential destinations and the one recommended to NASA by the New Horizons team. […]

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LMT Reveals Gas and Dust Properties of Distant Galaxies

August 28, 2015

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LMT Reveals Gas and Dust Properties of Luminous Galaxies

Using the Large Millimeter Telescope in its first stages of operation, astronomers study the gas and dust properties of luminous galaxies in the early stages of the universe. In the 1980’s, observations of nearby galaxies made with the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, along with observations of the far-infrared /submillimeter background with the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite, […]

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Hubble Reveals That Markarian 231 is Powered by a Double Black Hole

August 28, 2015

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Hubble RevealsThat Mrk 231 is Powered by a Double Black Hole

Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, a team of astronomers discovered that Markarian 231 is powered by two central black holes furiously whirling about each other. Markarian 231 is the nearest galaxy to Earth that hosts a quasar, located 581 million light-years away. The finding suggests that quasars—the brilliant cores of active galaxies – may commonly […]

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If Life Can Travel Between The Stars We Should Be Able To Detect It

August 27, 2015

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Statistical Signatures of Panspermia in Exoplanet Surveys

A new study from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics suggests that if life can travel between the stars (in a process called panspermia), it would spread in a characteristic pattern that we could potentially identify. Cambridge, Massachusetts – We only have one example of a planet with life: Earth. But within the next generation, it […]

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Chandra Reveals the Birth of a “Radio Phoenix”

August 27, 2015

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Chandra Discovers a Radio Phoenix Abell 1033

Using X-ray, radio, and optical data, a team of astronomers has discovered a “radio phoenix” in Abell 1033. This system contains the collision of two galaxy clusters located about 1.6 billion light years from Earth. Astronomers have found evidence for a faded electron cloud “coming back to life,” much like the mythical phoenix, after two […]

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Hubble Explores the Wings of the Twin Jet Nebula

August 26, 2015

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Hubble Space Telescope Views the Twin Jet Nebula

This newly released Hubble image shows the Twin Jet Nebula, which is a striking example of a bipolar planetary nebula. Astronomers have shown that the nebula’s size increases with time, and measurements of this rate of increase suggest that the stellar outburst that formed the lobes occurred just 1200 years ago. The shimmering colors visible […]

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Astronomers Observe a Long-Hypothesized Mechanism for Coronal Heating

August 25, 2015

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Researchers Observe a Long-Hypothesized Mechanism for Coronal Heating

A team of astronomers has observed a long-hypothesized mechanism for coronal heating in which magnetic waves are converted into heat energy. Modern telescopes and satellites have helped us measure the blazing hot temperatures of the sun from afar. Mostly the temperatures follow a clear pattern: The sun produces energy by fusing hydrogen in its core, […]

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NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Delivers Sharper Images Ceres

August 25, 2015

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Dawn Zooms in on Ceres

New images from NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft reveal the small world’s features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres’ tall, conical mountain, crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures. “Dawn is performing flawlessly in this new orbit as it conducts its ambitious exploration. The spacecraft’s view is now three times as sharp as in its previous mapping orbit, […]

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ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory Views Cosmic Cloud Mon R2

August 24, 2015

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Herschel Space Observatory Views Feathery Filaments in Mon R2

This new image from ESA’s Herschel space observatory reveals fierce flashes of light rippling through delicate tendrils of gas in the heart of a large and dense cosmic cloud known as Mon R2. This cloud lies some 2700 light-years away and is studded with hot, newly-formed stars. Packed into the bright center of this region […]

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ESO Views the Ghost of a Dying Star – Planetary Nebula ESO 378-1

August 24, 2015

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New Image of Planetary Nebula ESO 378-1

A new image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope provides the best view to date of planetary nebula ESO 378-1. This extraordinary bubble, glowing like the ghost of a star in the haunting darkness of space, may appear supernatural and mysterious, but it is a familiar astronomical object: a planetary nebula, the remnants of a dying […]

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Newly Released Hubble Image of Globular Cluster NGC 1783

August 24, 2015

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New Hubble Image of Globular Cluster NGC 1783

This newly released Hubble image shows globular cluster NGC 1783, which is about 160,000 light-years from Earth. Shown here in a new image taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is the globular cluster NGC 1783. This is one of the biggest globular clusters in the Large […]

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XMM-Newton Views Turbulent Events at the Center of the Milky Way

August 22, 2015

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The Galactic Black Hole and Its Surrounding Emission in the Milky Way

Using the XMM-Newton X-ray Satellite, astronomers from the Max Planck Institute observe the events around the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Who left the deep scars on the heart of our Milky Way? In their hunt for elusive clues that might reveal the culprit, an international team of astronomers at the […]

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Astronomers Study Textured Dust Storms on Mars

August 21, 2015

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Dust Storms on Mars

A new analysis of textured dust storms from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics examines data over eight years of MGS observations and finds that such storms account for about half of all the dust in the Martian atmosphere. In the 1870’s astronomers first noted the presence of yellow clouds on the surface of Mars and […]

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New Digital Calendar Celebrates 12th Anniversary of the Spitzer Space Telescope

August 21, 2015

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NASA Calendar Helps Celebrate the 12th Anniversary of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope

NASA has released a new digital calendar to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the Spitzer Space Telescope. The calendar showcases some of the mission’s most notable discoveries and popular cosmic images. The digital calendar is online at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/spitzer/20150820/Spitzer12thAnniversaryCalendar.pdf The calendar follows the life of the mission, with each month highlighting top infrared images and discoveries […]

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft Views Dione for the Last Time

August 21, 2015

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Cassini Spacecraft Views Dione for the Last Time

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft has captured new images of Saturn’s moon Dione during its last close approach to the small, icy world. Two of the new images show the surface of Dione at the best resolution ever. Cassini passed 295 miles (474 kilometers) above Dione’s surface at 11:33 a.m. PDT (2:33 p.m. EDT) on August 17. […]

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