Astronomy News

Scientists Find Evidence of Previously Unrecognized Water Reservoir on Mars

December 19, 2014

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Scientists Find Meteoritic Evidence of Mars Water Reservoir

A newly published study provides evidence for a previously unrecognized hydrogen reservoir on Mars, which could account for a large part of the initial water budge of Mars. NASA and an international team of planetary scientists have found evidence in meteorites on Earth that indicates Mars has a distinct and global reservoir of water or […]

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Europa Plumes Remain Elusive

December 19, 2014

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Cassini Helps Hunt for Plumes on Europa

Data NASA’s Cassini spacecraft reveals that Europa contributes less material to its surrounding environment than previously thought. A fresh look at data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft during its 2001 flyby of Jupiter shows that Europa’s tenuous atmosphere is even thinner than previously thought and also suggests that the thin, hot gas around the moon […]

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Chandra Measures Massive Galaxy Cluster in Distant Universe

December 18, 2014

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Chandra Weighs the Most Massive Galaxy Cluster to Date

Using Chandra data, researchers were able to accurately determine the mass and other properties of the most distant massive galaxy cluster discovered to date. Officially named XDCP J0044.0-2033, the cluster is about 9.6 billion light years from Earth. A newly discovered galaxy cluster is the most massive one ever detected with an age of 800 […]

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MESSENGER Reveals Possible Source of Surge of Calcium in Mercury Exosphere

December 17, 2014

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MESSENGER Observations Suggest Recurring Meteor Shower on Mercury

New data from NASA’s MESSENGER has revealed seasonal surges of calcium in the exosphere of Mercury, suggesting that a periodic meteor shower from the debris trail left by comet Encke is the source. The closest planet to the sun appears to get hit by a periodic meteor shower, possibly associated with a comet that produces […]

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A High-Obliquity Planet Could Be Habitable

December 17, 2014

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High Obliquity Planet Could Be Habitable

A newly published study from scientists at MIT reveals that even a high-obliquity planet with a nearly horizontal axis could potentially support life, so long as the planet were completely covered by an ocean. Nearly 2,000 planets beyond our solar system have been identified to date. Whether any of these exoplanets are hospitable to life […]

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover Discovers Organic Chemistry on Mars

December 17, 2014

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Rover Finds Active Ancient Organic Chemistry on Mars

Using the Tunable Laser Spectrometer instrument in Curiosity’s onboard Sample Analysis at Mars laboratory, astronomers have detected a tenfold spike in the abundance of methane in the Martian atmosphere. NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a […]

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The Interaction Between Interstellar Dust and Our Galaxy’s Magnetic Field

December 16, 2014

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Image of the Magnetic Field Along the Galactic Plane

Using data from the Planck collaboration, this newly released image portrays the interaction between interstellar dust in the Milky Way and the structure of our Galaxy’s magnetic field. While the pastel tones and fine texture of this image may bring to mind brush strokes on an artist’s canvas, they are in fact a visualization of […]

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MAVEN Identifies Links to Atmospheric Loss on Mars

December 16, 2014

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MAVEN Identifies Links to Atmospheric Loss on Mars

New findings from NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission reveal a new process by which the solar wind can penetrate deep into a planetary atmosphere, leading to atmospheric loss. Early discoveries by NASA’s newest Mars orbiter are starting to reveal key features about the loss of the planet’s atmosphere to space over time. […]

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NASA’s Voyager 1 Experiences Three “Tsunami Waves” in Interstellar Space

December 16, 2014

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NASAs Voyager 1 Spacecraft Experiences a New Tsunami Wave from the Sun

New data show that the shock wave that NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft began experiencing in February 2014 is still propagating outward. It is the longest-lasting shock wave that researchers have seen in interstellar space. The Voyager 1 spacecraft has experienced three “tsunami waves” in interstellar space. Listen to how these waves cause surrounding ionized matter […]

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New Map of Mars Shows Signs of Ancient Lakes and Quakes

December 15, 2014

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Signs of Ancient Mars Lakes and Quakes Seen in New Map

A new geological map based on NASA images shows signs of ancient lakes and quakes on Mars. This animation simulates a flyover of a portion of a Martian canyon detailed in a geological map produced by the U.S. Geological Survey and based on observations by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The landforms […]

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Hubble Image of the Week: Dwarf Galaxy Markarian 209

December 15, 2014

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New Hubble Image of Dwarf Galaxy Markarian 209

This newly released Hubble image shows dwarf galaxy Markarian 209. This sprinkle of cosmic glitter is a blue compact dwarf galaxy known as Markarian 209. Galaxies of this type are blue-hued, compact in size, gas-rich, and low in heavy elements. They are often used by astronomers to study star formation, as their conditions are similar […]

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Astronomers Detect Pluto-Size Objects around a Sun-Like Star

December 12, 2014

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Astronomers Detect Pluto-Size Objects swarming Around an Adolescent Sun

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have detected Pluto-size objects around an adolescent Sun-like star. Cambridge, Massachusetts – Scientists used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to make detailed observations of the protoplanetary disk surrounding the star known as HD 107146, detecting an unexpected increase in the concentration […]

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Astronomers Detect Magnetic Fields on Solar-Type Stars

December 12, 2014

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Astronomers Study the Magnetic Fields Stars

A team of astronomers that has just completed the most extensive polarization survey of stars to date, detecting magnetic fields on sixty-seven stars with twenty-one of them being classified as solar-type. That is about four times as many solar-type stars as had been previously classified. The Sun rotates slowly, about once every 24 days at […]

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Chandra Views Ultraluminous X-Ray Sources

December 11, 2014

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New Chandra Image of NGC 2207 and IC 2163

This new Chandra image shows NGC 2207 and IC 2163, which have hosted three supernova explosions in the past 15 years and have produced one of the most bountiful collections of super bright X-ray lights known. At this time of year, there are lots of gatherings often decorated with festive lights. When galaxies get together, […]

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Cassini Creates New Maps of Saturn’s Moons

December 10, 2014

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Cassini Creates New Maps of Saturn Moons

Using data collected over a ten year period, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has created new maps of Saturn’s six major icy moons. Almost immediately after NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft made their brief visits to Saturn in the early 1980s, scientists were hungry for more. The Voyagers had offered them only a brief glimpse of a family […]

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