Astronomy News

NASA’s Dawn Reveals Topography of Dwarf Planet Ceres

July 28, 2015

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NASA's Dawn Reveals Topography on the Surface of Dwarf Planet Ceres

New color-coded maps of dwarf planet Ceres reveal a diverse topography with height differences between crater bottoms and mountain peaks as great as 9 miles (15 kilometers). Scientists continue to analyze the latest data from Dawn as the spacecraft makes its way to its third mapping orbit. “The craters we find on Ceres, in terms […]

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Astronomers Develop New Models to Search for Molecular Oxygen

July 27, 2015

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Astronomers Find Molecular Oxygen

Newly published research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics provides the first self-consistent treatment of preshock, shock, and postshock regions under the influence of UV fields, and explains why O2 detections are so rare. Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe (after hydrogen and helium) and of course it is important: all […]

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The Impact of Cosmic Wind on Galaxy Evolution

July 27, 2015

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Hubble Image of a Spiral Galaxy in the Coma Cluster

A newly published study from Yale University gives astronomers a clearer view of how powerful cosmic winds can blow through galaxies, sweeping out interstellar material and stopping future star formation. A Yale University analysis of one such event in a nearby galaxy provides an unprecedented look at the process. The research is described in the […]

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NASA’s Cassini Views Saturn’s Moon Tethys

July 27, 2015

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New Cassini Image of Saturn's Moon Tethys

NASA has released a new image of Saturn’s moon Tethys. The image was taken at a distance of approximately 186,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) by NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft. With the expanded range of colors visible to Cassini’s cameras, differences in materials and their textures become apparent that are subtle or unseen in natural color views. Here, […]

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Hubble Image of the Week: Hubble Image of Planetary Nebula NGC 6565

July 27, 2015

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Hubble Image of Planetary Nebula NGC 6565

This newly released Hubble image shows planetary nebula NGC 6565. A dying star’s final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star’s demise is still quite lengthy by our standards, lasting tens of […]

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New Horizons Reveals Flowing Ices, Exotic Surface Chemistry, Mountains, and Haze on Pluto

July 25, 2015

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Flowing Ice Discovered by New Horizons on Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons continues to reveal secrets about Pluto, showing flowing ice and an extended haze around this icy world of wonders. “We knew that a mission to Pluto would bring some surprises, and now — 10 days after closest approach — we can say that our expectation has been more than surpassed,” said John […]

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Kepler-452b and the Search for Another Earth

July 24, 2015

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The Kepler Telescope and Astronomers Continue to Search for Another Earth

With the help of the Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers and scientists continue to search for another Earth-like planet. The discovery of a super-Earth-sized planet orbiting a sun-like star brings us closer than ever to finding a twin of our own watery world. But NASA’s Kepler space telescope has captured evidence of other potentially habitable planets […]

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover Discovers Bedrock with High Levels of Silica

July 24, 2015

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Curiosity Rover Discovers Unusual Bedrock on Mars

After almost three years on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover continues to amaze. This time Curiosity has discovered a target unlike anything it has studied before – bedrock with surprisingly high levels of silica. Silica is a rock-forming compound containing silicon and oxygen, commonly found on Earth as quartz. This area lies just downhill from […]

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New Horizons Image of Pluto in False Color

July 24, 2015

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New False Color Image of Pluto

This newly released image of Pluto was taken by the New Horizons Spacecraft at a distance of 450,000 kilometers. New Horizons scientists use enhanced color images to detect differences in the composition and texture of Pluto’s surface. When close-up images are combined with color data from the Ralph instrument, it paints a new and surprising […]

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Kepler Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth

July 23, 2015

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Kepler Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has discovered a planet and star that closely resemble the Earth and our Sun. NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey […]

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Chandra Reveals Pulsar Punching Hole in Stellar Disk

July 23, 2015

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Double Star System Jettisons Material at Incredibly High Speeds

Data from Chandra reveal that a pulsar in orbit around a massive star punched through a circumstellar disk of material, jettisoning a clump of material from the double star system at incredibly high speeds. A fast-moving pulsar appears to have punched a hole in a disk of gas around its companion star and launched a […]

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ALMA Views the Formation of Galaxies in the Early Universe for the First Time

July 22, 2015

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ALMA Views Assembly of Galaxies in the Early Universe

New observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array reveal the most distant clouds of star-forming gas yet found in normal galaxies in the early Universe. The new images allow astronomers to start to see how the first galaxies were built up and how they cleared the cosmic fog during the era of reionization. This is […]

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New Horizons Spacecraft Discovers Second Mountain Range on Pluto

July 22, 2015

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New Horizons Reveals Second Mountain Range on Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft has discovered a second mountain range near the southwestern margin of Pluto’s Tombaugh Regio (Tombaugh Region), situated between bright, icy plains and dark, heavily-cratered terrain. This image was acquired by New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on July 14, 2015 from a distance of 48,000 miles (77,000 kilometers) and sent […]

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New Horizons Views Pluto’s Smaller Moons

July 21, 2015

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New Horizons Views Pluto's Smaller Moons Hydra and Nix

NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft reveals new images of Pluto’s moons Hydra and Nix. Pluto has five known moons. In order of distance from Pluto they are: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. While Pluto’s largest moon Charon has grabbed most of the lunar spotlight, two of Pluto’s smaller and lesser-known satellites are starting to come […]

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A New Class of Magnetar-Powered Supernova

July 20, 2015

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A Very Luminous Magnetar-Powered Supernova

ESO’s La Silla and Paranal Observatories have demonstrated for the first time a link between a very long-lasting burst of gamma rays and an unusually bright supernova explosion. The study reveals that the supernova following the burst GRB 111209A was not driven by radioactive decay, as expected, but was instead powered by the decaying super-strong […]

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Latest New Horizons Portrait of Pluto and Charon

July 20, 2015

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New Horizons Image of Pluto and Charon

An updated portrait of Pluto and Charon from NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft. The latest two full-frame images of Pluto and Charon were collected separately by New Horizons during approach on July 13 and July 14, 2015. The relative reflectivity, size, separation, and orientations of Pluto and Charon are approximated in this composite image, and they […]

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Hubble Views Dwarf Galaxy NGC 1140

July 20, 2015

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New Hubble Image of Dwarf Galaxy NGC 1140

This newly released Hubble image shows dwarf galaxy NGC 1140, which is located 60 million light-years away. This dramatic image shows the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s view of dwarf galaxy known as NGC 1140, which lies 60 million light-years away in the constellation of Eridanus. As can be seen in this image NGC 1140 has […]

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Video of New Horizons’ Flyover of Pluto’s Icy Mountain and Plains

July 19, 2015

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Animated New Horizons Flyover of Pluto’s Icy Mountain and Plains

This short NASA video uses the latest images from the New Horizons Spacecraft to provide a simulated flyover of Pluto’s Norgay Mountains and Sputnik Plain. This simulated flyover of Pluto’s Norgay Montes (Norgay Mountains) and Sputnik Planum (Sputnik Plain) was created from New Horizons closest-approach images. Norgay Montes have been informally named for Tenzing Norgay, […]

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