Astronomy News

Astronomers Discover Three Potentially Habitable Worlds

May 3, 2016

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Three Potentially Habitable Worlds Found Around Nearby Ultracool Dwarf Star TRAPPIST-1

Astronomers have discovered three planets with sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth, orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. Astronomers using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory have discovered three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. These worlds have sizes and […]

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Reveals Clues about Volcanoes Under Ice on Ancient Mars

May 3, 2016

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Clues about Volcanoes Under Ice on Ancient Mars Revealed

New evidence from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests that volcanoes erupted beneath an ice sheet on Mars billions of years ago. The research about these volcanoes helps show there was extensive ice on ancient Mars. It also adds information about an environment combining heat and moisture, which could have provided favorable conditions for microbial life. […]

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Evidence Points to Planet Nine Existing, But How Was it Produced?

May 3, 2016

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Update on Planet Nine

New research examines Planet Nine and the mystery behind its existence. Earlier this year scientists presented evidence for Planet Nine, a Neptune-mass planet in an elliptical orbit 10 times farther from our Sun than Pluto. Since then theorists have puzzled over how this planet could end up in such a distant orbit. New research by […]

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Newly Released Cassini Image – The Dew Drop of Saturn

May 2, 2016

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New Cassini Image Dew Drop of Saturn

This newly released image of Saturn and Enceladus was taken by NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft last May. The water-world Enceladus appears here to sit atop Saturn’s rings like a drop of dew upon a leaf. Even though it appears like a tiny drop before the might of the giant Saturn, Enceladus reminds us that even small […]

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New Elevation Map of Pluto’s ‘Heart’ from New Horizons

May 2, 2016

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New Elevation Map of Pluto from New Horizons

NASA releases a new elevation map of Pluto’s heart-shaped surface area. This newest shaded relief view of the region surrounding the left side of Pluto’s heart-shaped feature – informally named Sputnik Planum – shows that the vast expanse of the icy surface is on average 2 miles (3 kilometers) lower than the surrounding terrain. Angular […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – NGC 4394

May 2, 2016

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New Hubble Image of NGC 4394

This newly released Hubble images shows NGC 4394, which is located about 55 million light-years away. Discovered in 1784 by the German–British astronomer William Herschel, NGC 4394 is a barred spiral galaxy situated about 55 million light-years from Earth. The galaxy lies in the constellation of Coma Berenices (Berenice’s Hair), and is considered to be […]

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Hubble Views Galaxy UGC 477

April 29, 2016

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Hubble Views Galaxy UGC 477

This newly released Hubble image shows galaxy UGC 477, which is located just over 110 million light-years away in the constellation of Pisces (The Fish). UGC 477 is a low surface brightness (LSB) galaxy. First proposed in 1976 by Mike Disney, the existence of LSB galaxies was confirmed only in 1986 with the discovery of […]

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Astronomers Develop New Method to Determine Oxygen Abundance in Stars

April 29, 2016

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New Models Determine the Oxygen Abundance in Giant Stars

Astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have developed a new computational method to determine the abundance of oxygen in these and similar stars, and in particular in giant stars. The code finds values that are more self-consistent than previous estimates. Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe, after hydrogen and helium. […]

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Fermi Helps Link Cosmic Neutrino to Blazar Blast

April 28, 2016

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NASA's Fermi Helps Link Cosmic Neutrino to Blazar Blast

Nearly 10 billion years ago, the black hole at the center of a galaxy known as PKS B1424-418 produced a powerful outburst. Light from this blast began arriving at Earth in 2012. Now astronomers using data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have shown that a record-breaking neutrino seen around the same time likely was […]

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Galaxy Clusters Reveal Information About Dark Energy

April 28, 2016

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Russian Doll Galaxy Clusters Reveal Information About Dark Energy

Researchers are using a large sample of galaxy cluster to investigate dark energy, showing that dark energy has not changed over billions of years. Astronomers have used data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, ESA’s Planck and a large list of optical telescopes to develop a powerful new method for investigating dark energy, the mysterious energy […]

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Astronomers Discover Moon Orbiting the Dwarf Planet Makemake

April 26, 2016

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Hubble Space Telescope Discovers Moon Orbiting the Dwarf Planet Makemake

Using the Hubble Space Telescope a team of astronomers just discovered a moon orbiting dwarf planet Makemake — the third largest known object past the orbit of Neptune, about two thirds the size of Pluto. Peering to the outskirts of our solar system, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a small, dark moon orbiting Makemake, […]

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Astronomers Use Light Echoes to Measure Protoplanetary Disk

April 26, 2016

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Spitzer Uses Light Echoes to Give Clues to Protoplanetary Disk

Using data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and four ground-based telescopes, astronomers determine the distance from a star to the inner rim of its surrounding protoplanetary disk. Imagine you want to measure the size of a room, but it’s completely dark. If you shout, you can tell if the space you’re in is relatively big […]

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Astronomers Gain a Better Understanding of Spica

April 26, 2016

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Stellar Modelling of Spica

A newly published study details Spica, an eccentric double-lined spectroscopic binary system with a β Cep type variable primary component. The familiar star Spica (Alpha Virginis) is the fifteenth brightest star in the night sky, in part because it is relatively nearby, only about 250 light-years away. It is easy to find by following the […]

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New Horizons Image Shows Pluto’s ‘Halo’ Craters

April 21, 2016

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New Horizons Views Pluto’s ‘Halo’ Craters

This newly released image from the New Horizons Spacecraft looks within Pluto’s informally named Vega Terra region, showing a field of eye-catching craters that looks like a cluster of bright halos scattered across a dark landscape. The region is far west of the hemisphere NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft viewed during close approach last summer. The […]

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Hubble Views the Bubble Nebula

April 21, 2016

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Hubble Views a Star ‘Inflating’ a Giant Bubble

Just in time for the 26th anniversary of Hubble’s launch on April 24, 1990, the telescope has photographed an enormous, balloon-like bubble being blown into space by a super-hot, massive star. Astronomers trained the iconic telescope on this colorful feature, called the Bubble Nebula, or NGC 7635. “As Hubble makes its 26th revolution around our […]

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Scientists Identify a Free-Floating, Planetary-Mass Object in TW Hydrae

April 20, 2016

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Astronomers Find Lone Planetary-Mass Object in Family of Stars

New data from WISE and its predecessor, the Two Micron All Sky Survey, reveals the lowest-mass free-floating object in TW Hydrae family — a likely brown dwarf called WISEA J114724.10−204021.3. In 2011, astronomers announced that our galaxy is likely teeming with free-floating planets. In fact, these lonely worlds, which sit quietly in the darkness of […]

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Fermi Observations Poised to Pin Down Gravitational Wave Sources

April 19, 2016

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Fermi Telescope Poised to Pin Down Gravitational Wave Sources

Fermi observations are helping researchers gain a much deeper understanding of gravitational waves. On September 14, waves of energy traveling for more than a billion years gently rattled space-time in the vicinity of Earth. The disturbance, produced by a pair of merging black holes, was captured by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) facilities in […]

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New Images Reveal More Details on Ceres’ Craters

April 19, 2016

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New Ceres Images Reveal Bright Craters

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has revealed marvelous sights on dwarf planet Ceres during its first year in orbit, including the mysterious bright spots in Occator Crater. Craters with bright material on dwarf planet Ceres shine in new images from NASA’s Dawn mission. In its lowest-altitude mapping orbit, at a distance of 240 miles (385 kilometers) from […]

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