Astronomy News

New Cassini Image Shows a Glowing Spot on Saturn’s B Ring

August 29, 2016

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New Cassini Image Surge in the Ring

This new image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows an ethereal, glowing spot on Saturn’s B ring. There is nothing particular about that place in the rings that produces the glowing effect — instead, it is an example of an “opposition surge” making that area on the rings appear extra bright. An opposition surge occurs when […]

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NASA Probes Peculiar Age-Defying Star IRAS 19312+1950

August 29, 2016

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NASA Probes Peculiar Age-Defying Star IRAS 19312+1950

New research suggests that IRAS 19312+1950 might be a protostar a star still in the making. For years, astronomers have puzzled over a massive star lodged deep in the Milky Way that shows conflicting signs of being extremely old and extremely young. Researchers initially classified the star as elderly, perhaps a red supergiant. But a […]

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Astrophysicists Show Milky Way Had a Blowout Bash 6 Million Years Ago

August 29, 2016

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New Study Shows Milky Way Had a Blowout Bash 6 Million Years Ago

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics shows that the center of the Milky Way was once a very active place. The center of the Milky Way galaxy is currently a quiet place where a supermassive black hole slumbers, only occasionally slurping small sips of hydrogen gas. But it wasn’t always this way. A […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – A New View of Alpha Centauri A and B

August 29, 2016

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New Hubble Image of Alpha Centauri A and B

This newly released Hubble images shows Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B. The closest star system to the Earth is the famous Alpha Centauri group. Located in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur), at a distance of 4.3 light-years, this system is made up of the binary formed by the stars Alpha Centauri A […]

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A Billion or More Jupiter-Like Worlds Could Be Orbiting Stars in the Milky Way

August 26, 2016

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Scientists Compare Jupiter with Jupiter-like Planets

Using data from NASA’s Juno probe, astronomers hope to gain a better understanding of Jupiter and the the many Jupiter-like planets in our galaxy. Our galaxy is home to a bewildering variety of Jupiter-like worlds: hot ones, cold ones, giant versions of our own giant, pint-sized pretenders only half as big around. Astronomers say that […]

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Dragonfly 44 – A Massive Galaxy That Consists Almost Entirely of Dark Matter

August 25, 2016

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Galaxy Dragonfly 44

An international team of astronomers has discovered a massive galaxy that consists almost entirely of dark matter. The galaxy, Dragonfly 44, is located in the nearby Coma constellation and had been overlooked until last year because of its unusual composition: It is a diffuse “blob” about the size of the Milky Way, but with far […]

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Earth-Sized Planet Proxima b Might be Habitable

August 25, 2016

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Planet Found in Habitable Zone Around Nearest Star

Scientists reveal that a newly discovered, roughly Earth-sized planet orbiting our nearest neighboring star might be habitable. Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and […]

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NASA Telescopes Reveal a Surprising Blazar Connection

August 24, 2016

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A Surprising Blazar Connection Revealed

Using data from from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, astronomers studying distant galaxies powered by monster black holes have uncovered an unexpected link between two very different wavelengths of the light they emit, the mid-infrared and gamma rays. The discovery has enabled the researchers to uncover dozens of new […]

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Study Suggests Habitable Zone Alone Isn’t Sufficient to Support Life

August 22, 2016

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Planetary Habitability Depends on Internal Planet Temperature

New research from Yale University suggests that simply being in the habitable zone isn’t sufficient to support life. A planet also must start with an internal temperature that is just right. The search for habitable, alien worlds needs to make room for a second “Goldilocks,” according to a Yale University researcher. For decades, it has […]

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Hubble Views Dwarf Galaxy NGC 5264

August 22, 2016

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Dwarf Galaxy NGC 5264

This new Hubble image captures the glow of distant stars within NGC 5264, a dwarf galaxy located just over 15 million light-years away in the constellation of Hydra (The Sea Serpent). Dwarf galaxies like NGC 5264 typically possess around a billion stars — just one per cent of the number of stars found within the […]

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Exoplanet GJ 1132b Might Have a Thin Oxygen Atmosphere

August 18, 2016

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Venus-like Exoplanet GJ 1132b Might Have Oxygen Atmosphere

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveals that the Venus-like Exoplanet GJ 1132b might possess a thin, oxygen atmosphere – but no life due to its extreme heat. The distant planet GJ 1132b intrigued astronomers when it was discovered last year. Located just 39 light-years from Earth, it might have an atmosphere despite […]

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Chandra Data Raises Questions about the Timing and Origin of Supernova Remnant G11.2-0.3

August 18, 2016

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New Chandra Data of the Supernova Remnant G11

New Chandra data of the supernova remnant G11.2-0.3 raise new questions about the timing of its origin. Chandra observations show that dense gas clouds lie along the line of sight between Earth and G11.2-0.3, meaning that the supernova explosion would have been too faint to be seen with the naked eye from Earth. A new […]

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Van Allen Probes View Supercharged Radiation Belt

August 16, 2016

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Van Allen Probes Catch Rare Glimpse of Supercharged Radiation Belt

New research details how a shockwave created by the driving force of a coronal mass ejection from the sun – struck the outermost radiation belt, triggering the greatest geomagnetic storm of the preceding decade. Our planet is nestled in the center of two immense, concentric doughnuts of powerful radiation: the Van Allen radiation belts, which […]

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Iris Nebula Offers Clues to the Building Blocks of Life

August 16, 2016

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Molecules in Nebula NGC 7023 Offer Clues to the Building Blocks of Life

Using data from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy and other observatories, astronomers reveal how a particular type of organic molecules, the raw materials for life – could develop in space. This information could help scientists better understand how life could have developed on Earth. Bavo Croiset of Leiden University in the Netherlands and his […]

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Hubble Discovers Two Dwarf Galaxies Moving into the Milky Way

August 15, 2016

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Hubble Uncovers a Galaxy Pair Moving into the Milky Way

A team of astronomers has discovered two dwarf galaxies that have traveled from the remote hinterlands of space to the Milky Way. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered two tiny dwarf galaxies that have wandered from a vast cosmic wilderness into a nearby “big city” packed with galaxies. After being quiescent for billions of years, […]

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ALMA Images the Planetesimal Belt around HR8799

August 15, 2016

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Resolving the Planetesimal Belt of HR 8799

Using the ALMA submillimeter array, astronomers image the disk around HR8799 with a spatial scale as small as only thirty-two au, enough to probe the inner zones of the disk. Planets develop from the dusty placental disk of material that surrounds a star after it begins to shine. The dust in that disk, according to […]

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Hubble Telescope Views Exploding White Dwarf Star

August 15, 2016

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Hubble Views Exploding White Dwarf

This newly released Hubble image shows the aftermath of an exploding star that was located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Several thousand years ago, a star some 160,000 light-years away from us exploded, scattering stellar shrapnel across the sky. The aftermath of this energetic detonation is shown here in this striking image from the NASA/ESA […]

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New Research From NASA Suggests Venus May Have Been Habitable

August 11, 2016

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NASA Suggests Venus May Have Been Habitable

New research from NASA suggests that Venus may have had a shallow liquid-water ocean and habitable surface temperatures for up to 2 billion years of its early history. The findings, published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, were obtained with a model similar to the type used to predict future climate change on […]

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