Astronomy News

Astronomers Observe Star Formation in the Outskirts of Galaxies

February 5, 2016

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Star Formation in the Outer Spiral Regions of Galaxy NGC 4625

A newly published study from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics finds that the star formation processes in the outer spiral regions of the galaxy NGC 4625 generally resemble the processes at work in more normal, denser regions where molecular gas abounds. Star formation environments can be roughly grouped into three types, categorized by the density […]

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Scientists Complete Primary Mirror for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

February 5, 2016

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Scientists Assemble NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Primary Mirror

Engineers have installed the 18th and final primary mirror segment on what will be the biggest and most powerful space telescope ever launched. The final mirror installation marks an important milestone in the assembly of the James Webb Space Telescope. “Scientists and engineers have been working tirelessly to install these incredible, nearly perfect mirrors that […]

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Astronomers Discover Unexpectedly Cold Grains in a Planet-Forming Disc

February 4, 2016

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Unexpectedly Cold Grains in Planet-Forming Disc Discovered

Using the ALMA and IRAM telescopes, a team of astronomers has made the first direct measurement of the temperature of the large dust grains in the outer parts of a planet-forming disc around a young star. By applying a novel technique to observations of an object nicknamed the Flying Saucer they find that the grains […]

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Adjusts Flight Path for Jupiter

February 4, 2016

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Burns for Jupiter

Launched in 2011, the Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter in 2016 to study Jupiter from an elliptical, polar orbit. NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft successfully executed a maneuver to adjust its flight path today, February 3. The maneuver refined the spacecraft’s trajectory, helping set the stage for Juno’s arrival at the solar system’s largest planetary […]

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Asteroid 2013 TX68 to Pass Earth on March 5

February 3, 2016

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Small Asteroid 2013 TX68 to Pass Close to Earth March 5

Asteroid 2013 TX68 (which flew past Earth at a comfortable distance of about 1.3 million miles two years ago) will safely fly by our planet again in a few weeks, though this time it may be much closer. During the upcoming March 5 flyby, asteroid 2013 TX68 could fly past Earth as far out as […]

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Chandra Observations Confirm a Counterjet from Pictor A

February 2, 2016

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Pictor A Blast from Black Hole Far Away

Astronomers have discovered a giant jet spanning continuously for over 300,000 light years blasting out of the galaxy Pictor A. In addition to the main jet, they also discovered evidence for a jet moving in the opposite direction. The Star Wars franchise has featured the fictitious “Death Star,” which can shoot powerful beams of radiation […]

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New Horizons Spacecraft Reveals More Water Ice on Pluto’s Surface Than Previously Thought

February 1, 2016

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Astronomers Find More Water Ice on Pluto’s Surface Than Previously Thought

New data from the New Horizons Spacecraft reveals more water ice on Pluto’s surface than previously thought. This false-color image, derived from observations in infrared light by the Ralph/Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) instrument, shows where the spectral features of water ice are abundant on Pluto’s surface. It is based on two LEISA scans […]

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New Animation Shows a Simulated Flight Over the Surface of Dwarf Planet Ceres

February 1, 2016

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New Animation Takes a Colorful Flight Over Ceres

Take a flight over dwarf planet Ceres in this video made with images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. The simulated flyover was made by the mission’s camera team at Germany’s national aeronautics and space research center. A colorful new animation shows a simulated flight over the surface of dwarf planet Ceres, based on images from NASA’s […]

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New Cassini Image Shows Methane in Saturn’s Atmosphere

February 1, 2016

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Cassini Image of Methane in Saturn's Atmosphere

The soft, bright-and-dark bands revealed in this new image from the Cassini Spacecraft are the signature of methane in Saturn’s atmosphere. This image was taken in wavelengths of light that are absorbed by methane on Saturn. Dark areas are regions where light travels deeper into the atmosphere (passing through more methane) before reflecting and scattering […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – Peculiar Galaxy NGC 1487

February 1, 2016

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Hubble Views NGC 1487

This newly released Hubble image shows peculiar galaxy NGC 1487, which is about 30 million light-years away in the southern constellation of Eridanus. Rather than viewing a celestial object, it is actually better to think of this as an event. Here, we are witnessing two or more galaxies in the act of merging together to […]

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Astronomers Gaze Deep Into the Heart of Active Galaxy BL Lacertae

January 28, 2016

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BL Lacertae the Hottest Hearth in Space

Astronomers observe microwave radiation from the vicinity of the black hole in the active galactic nucleus known as BL Lacertae, which is 900 million light years. A black hole lurks at the center of the active galaxy in a distance of 900 million light years, known as “BL Lacerta.” Microwave radiation is emitted from the […]

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Hubble Reveals Globular Clusters Gain Star-Making Fuel from Outside the Cluster Itself

January 28, 2016

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Study Suggests Globular Clusters Gain Star-Making Fuel from Outside the Cluster Itself

Using Hubble data, a team of astronomers has for the first time found young populations of stars within globular clusters that have apparently developed courtesy of star-forming gas flowing in from outside of the clusters themselves. Among the most striking objects in the universe are glittering, dense swarms of stars known as globular clusters. Astronomers […]

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Scientists Propose a New Method to Probe the Evolutionary History of the Universe

January 27, 2016

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Scientists Propose a New Method to Probe the Beginning of the Universe

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics suggests that oscillating heavy particles generated “clocks” in the primordial universe that could be used to determine what produced the initial conditions that gave rise to the universe. How did the universe begin? And what came before the Big Bang? Cosmologists have asked these questions ever since […]

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Planet 2MASS J2126 is 1 Trillion Kilometers Away from Its Parent Star

January 26, 2016

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Astronomers Find a Lonely Planet and Its Distant Star

New research reveals that planet 2MASS J2126 and the star TYC 9486-927-1 are moving through space together, implying that they are associated. A team of astronomers in the UK, USA and Australia have found a planet, until now thought to be a free floating or lonely planet, in a huge orbit around its star. Incredibly […]

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Astronomers Use Galaxy Clusters to Reveal New Dark Matter Insights

January 26, 2016

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Hubble Space Telescope Shows the Inner Region of Abell 1689

New research from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory suggests that the internal structure of a galaxy cluster is linked to the dark matter environment surrounding it. This is the first time that a property besides the mass of a cluster has been shown to be associated with surrounding dark matter. Dark matter is a mysterious cosmic […]

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NASA Takes a Closer Look at Planet Nine

January 25, 2016

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Astronomers Reveal Evidence of Distant Gas Giant Planet in Our Solar System

What is Planet 9? NASA scientists take a closer look at the newly discovered evidence from Caltech. Caltech researchers have found evidence suggesting there may be a “Planet X” deep in the solar system. This hypothetical Neptune-sized planet orbits our sun in a highly elongated orbit far beyond Pluto. The object, which the researchers have […]

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Cassini Spacecraft Captures a Half-Lit View of Enceladus

January 25, 2016

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Cassini Captures a Half-Lit View of Enceladus

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft delivers another great image of Enceladus. This half-lit view of Enceladus bears a passing resemblance to similar views of Earth’s own natural satellite, but the similarities end there. Earth’s rocky moon is covered in dark, volcanic basins and brighter, mountainous highlands — both exceedingly ancient. The surface of icy Enceladus is uniformly […]

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Star Cluster Trumpler 14 Displays Some of the Most Luminous Stars in Our Galaxy

January 25, 2016

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Star Cluster Trumpler 14

This Hubble image features star cluster Trumpler 14 – one of the largest gatherings of hot, massive and bright stars in the Milky Way. Single stars are often overlooked in favor of their larger cosmic cousins — but when they join forces, they create truly breathtaking scenes to rival even the most glowing of nebulae […]

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