Astronomy News

Juno Mission Prepares for Jupiter Flyby

December 9, 2016

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Juno Prepares for December 11 Jupiter Flyby

NASA’s Juno spacecraft will make its third science flyby of Jupiter on Sunday, December 11, at 9:04 a.m. PST. At the time of closest approach (called perijove), Juno will be about 2,580 miles (4,150 kilometers) above the gas giant’s roiling cloud tops and traveling at a speed of about 129,000 mph (57.8 kilometers per second) […]

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Kepler Reveals Solar-Like Oscillations in Other Stars

December 9, 2016

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Asteroseismology of the Hyades with K2

Using the refurbished Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers studied solar-like oscillations in the Hyades open star cluster in Taurus. Our Sun vibrates due to pressure waves generated by turbulence in its upper layers (the layers dominated by convective gas motions). Helioseismology is the name given to the study of these oscillations, which can shed light on […]

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Distant Galaxy SPT 0346-52 Churning Out Stars at Remarkable Rate

December 8, 2016

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SPT 0346-52 Distant Galaxy Churning Out Stars at Remarkable Rate

Using several telescopes including Chandra, astronomers have shown that a galaxy in the early Universe called SPT0346-52 is undergoing an extraordinary burst of star formation. The absence of X-rays from Chandra shows that there is no actively growing, supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy. This means that the rate amount of infrared […]

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New Study Shows Dark Matter May Be Smoother Than Expected

December 7, 2016

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Dark Matter Smoother than Expected

Using data from the Kilo Degree Survey, a team of astronomers reveal that dark matter in the cosmic web, which accounts for about one-quarter of the content of the Universe, is less clumpy than we previously believed. Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark […]

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft Reveals First Images from New Orbit

December 7, 2016

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Cassini Spacecraft Shows Saturn's Northern Hemisphere

New images from NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft from its new orbit of Saturn. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has sent to Earth its first views of Saturn’s atmosphere since beginning the latest phase of its mission. The new images show scenes from high above Saturn’s northern hemisphere, including the planet’s intriguing hexagon-shaped jet stream. Cassini began its new […]

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Cassini Spacecraft Makes First Ring-Grazing Plunge

December 6, 2016

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NASA's Cassini Makes First Ring-Grazing Plunge

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft made its first close dive past the outer edges of Saturn’s rings since beginning its penultimate mission phase on November 3o. Cassini crossed through the plane of Saturn’s rings on December 4 at 5:09 a.m. PST (8:09 a.m. EST) at a distance of approximately 57,000 miles (91,000 kilometers) above Saturn’s cloud tops. […]

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UVES Instrument Views Fingerprint of the Early Universe

December 5, 2016

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ESO Views Fingerprint of the Early Universe

The UVES instrument shows the light from quasar HE0940-1050 after it has traveled through the intergalactic medium. The most massive galaxies in the Universe host supermassive black holes at their centers. These truly colossal black holes chew up surrounding material at astonishing rates, expelling huge amounts of radiation as they do so and glowing as […]

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Hubble Reveals Dusty Filaments in NGC 4696

December 5, 2016

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Hubble Sees Dusty Filaments in NGC 4696

New images from Hubble reveal the intricate structure of the galaxy NGC 4696 in greater detail than ever before. The elliptical galaxy is a beautiful cosmic oddity with a bright core wrapped in system of dark, swirling, thread-like filaments. NGC 4696 is a member of the Centaurus galaxy cluster, a swarm of hundreds of galaxies […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – NGC 4388

December 5, 2016

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Hubble Telescope Views NGC 4388

This newly released Hubbleimage show NGC 4388, which is located 60 million light-years away. The constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) is especially rich in galaxies, due in part to the presence of a massive and gravitationally-bound collection of over 1300 galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. One particular member of this cosmic community, NGC 4388, is […]

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Astronomers Reveal Colliding Galaxy Clusters

December 2, 2016

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Galaxy 3C438

A team of astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have concluded that the hot gas in the cluster around galaxy 3C438 is the result of a collision between two clusters of galaxies. Galaxy clusters contain a few to thousands of galaxies and are the largest bound structures in the Universe. Most galaxies are members […]

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Astronomers Reveal Potential Localized Dust Enrichment from Massive Star Clusters

December 1, 2016

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ALMA Reveals Potential Localized Dust Enrichment from Massive Star Clusters in II Zw 40

New observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array are helping to confirm a long-standing theory that stars are copious producers of heavy elements. Galaxies are often thought of as sparkling with stars, but they also contain gas and dust. Now, a team led by UCLA astronomers has used new data to show that stars are […]

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Astronomers Probe Mystery of Pluto’s Icy Heart

December 1, 2016

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Researchers Probe Mystery of Pluto’s Icy Heart

New research looks to solve the many mysteries of Pluto’s icy heart-shaped feature. Was Pluto’s frozen heart formed in an ancient impact basin and was it once closer to the north pole? And does the icy heart conceal a subsurface ocean? Scientists are offering several new scenarios to explain the formation of Pluto’s frozen heart-shaped […]

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VLT Observations Reveal First Signs of a Strange Quantum Effect

November 30, 2016

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First Signs of Weird Quantum Property of Empty Space?

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers may have found the first observational indications of a strange quantum effect, first predicted in the 1930s. The polarization of the observed light suggests that the empty space around the neutron star is subject to a quantum effect known as vacuum birefringence. A team led by Roberto Mignani from […]

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New Cassini Image Shows a Tiny Mimas, Huge Saturn Rings

November 28, 2016

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Cassini Sees Tiny Mimas Huge Rings

In this new image from the Cassini Spacecraft, Saturn’s icy moon Mimas is dwarfed by the planet’s enormous rings. Because Mimas (near lower left) appears tiny by comparison, it might seem that the rings would be far more massive, but this is not the case. Scientists think the rings are no more than a few […]

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NASA’s Chandra Views a Stellar Circle of Life, Cygnus X-3

November 28, 2016

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Chandra Views a Stellar Circle of Life

A newly published study reveals that the supernova explosion that formed either the black hole or neutron star in Cygnus X-3 kicked the binary system away from its original birthplace, estimating that Cygnus X-3 must have been thrown out at speeds between 400,000 and 2 million miles per hour. A snapshot of the stellar life […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – Irregular Galaxy IC 3583

November 28, 2016

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Hubble Views Irregular Galaxy IC 3583

This newly released Hubble image shows a delicate blue group of stars — actually an irregular galaxy named IC 3583 — located 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin). It may seem to have no discernible structure, but IC 3583 has been found to have a bar of stars running through […]

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New Image of Ceres from NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft

November 18, 2016

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New View of Ceres from Dawn Spacecraft

NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft views the shadowy, cratered terrain of Ceres in a dramatic new view of the dwarf planet. Dawn snapped this image on October 16, from its fifth science orbit, in which the angle of the sun was different from that in previous orbits. Dawn was about 920 miles (1,480 kilometers) above Ceres when […]

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New Horizons Reveals an Ocean Beneath Pluto’s Heart-Shaped Basin

November 18, 2016

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Slushy Ocean Beneath Pluto’s Surface

New data from NASA’s New Horizons Mission reveals evidence of any icy, slushy ocean beneath Pluto’s heart-shaped basin. Beneath Pluto’s “heart” lies a cold, slushy ocean of water ice, according to data from NASA’s New Horizons mission. In a paper published today in the journal Nature, the New Horizons team, including researchers from MIT, reports […]

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