Astronomy News

CID-42: A Recoiling, Supermassive Black Hole?

January 23, 2015

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CID-42 A Recoiling Black Hole

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics provides new insights from deep VLA data on the potentially recoiling black hole CID-42 in the COSMOS field. When galaxies collide, the central supermassive black holes that reside at their cores will end up orbiting one another in a binary pair, at least according to current simulations. […]

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Curiosity Rover Marks 11th Anniversary with Hilltop Panorama

January 23, 2015

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Curiosity Marks 11th Anniversary with Hilltop Image

In celebration of its 11th anniversary on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover captured this panorama view from the top of “Cape Tribulation.” A panorama from one of the highest elevations that NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reached in its 11 years on Mars includes the U.S. flag at the summit. The view is from the […]

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Yale Astronomers Identify the First “Changing Look” Quasar

January 22, 2015

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Black Hole Creates Changing Look Quasar

A team of astronomers from Yale University have identified the first “changing look” quasar, a gleaming object in deep space that appears to have its own dimmer switch. The discovery may offer a glimpse into the life story of the universe’s great beacons. Quasars are massive, luminous objects that draw their energy from black holes. […]

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Chandra Releases Five New Images to Celebrate the International Year of Light

January 22, 2015

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Chandra Celebrates International Year of Light with New Images

To celebrate the International Year of Light (2015) new images are being released from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, along with data in other types of light from various telescopes. The year of 2015 has been declared the International Year of Light (IYL) by the United Nations. Organizations, institutions, and individuals involved in the science and […]

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Gullies Suggest Water Flowed on the Surface of Vesta

January 22, 2015

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Gullies Suggest Past Water on Vesta

A newly published study shows evidence that transient water flowed on the surface of Vesta, in a debris-flow-like process, and left distinctive geomorphologic features. Protoplanet Vesta, visited by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft from 2011 to 2013, was once thought to be completely dry, incapable of retaining water because of the low temperatures and pressures at its […]

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SDO Collects Its 100-Millionth Image of the Sun

January 21, 2015

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SDO Collects Its 100-Millionth Image

On January 19, 2015, at 12:49 p.m. EST, the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured its 100 millionth image of the sun. The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, or AIA, uses four telescopes working parallel to gather eight images of the sun – cycling through 10 different wavelengths — every 12 seconds. Between the […]

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LBTI Completes First Study of Dust in the “Habitable Zone”

January 21, 2015

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LBTI Views a Dusty Star

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer has completed its first study of dust in the “habitable zone” around a star, opening a new door to finding planets like Earth. The findings will help in the design of future space missions that have the goal of taking pictures of planets similar to Earth, called exo-Earths. “Kepler told […]

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Magnetic Fields in Dark Clouds Help Form Massive Stars

January 20, 2015

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Astronomers Observe Polarized Dust Emission of Two Dark Clouds

A new study shows for the first time that high magnetization sets the stage for the formation of massive stars with 8 solar masses or more. Magnetic fields in massive dark clouds are strong enough to support the regions against collapse due to their own gravity. A study lead by researchers at the Max Planck […]

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New JPL Video: Approaching Titan a Billion Times Closer

January 20, 2015

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Cassini Color Mosaic of Titan

A new three minute video uses data collected by Cassini’s imaging cameras and the Huygens Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer to better detail Saturn’s moon Titan. Approaching Titan a Billion Times Closer Remember the Titan (Landing): Ten years ago today, January 14, 2005, the Huygens probe touched down on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. This new, narrated movie […]

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NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Closes in on Ceres, Delivers New Images

January 20, 2015

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Dawn Spacecraft Closes in on Ceres

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has captured new images of dwarf planet Ceres. As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft closes in on Ceres, new images show the dwarf planet at 27 pixels across, about three times better than the calibration images taken in early December. These are the first in a series of images that will be taken for […]

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Hubble Views the Dust Filaments of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4217

January 19, 2015

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New Hubble Image of NGC 4217

In this newly released image, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope takes a close look at the spiral galaxy NGC 4217 – which is located 60 million light-years away. The galaxy is seen almost perfectly edge on and is a perfect candidate for studying the nature of extraplanar dust structures — the patterns of gas and dust […]

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A Significant Step Towards Explaining the Cosmic Origins of the Seeds of Galaxies

January 16, 2015

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3D Simulation Shows Small Protostellar-Like Core Can Grow into a Supermassive Black Hole

In a new study, astronomers from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics found that a small protostellar-like core of only 0.1 solar-masses can develop in only a few years from a suitable environment and then can grow into a supermassive black hole in only millions of years. Supermassive black holes with millions or billions of solar-masses of […]

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NEOWISE: One Year of Observations Mapped

January 16, 2015

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NEOWISE Year in Review 2014

NASA reviews the past 12 months of NEOWISE discoveries with a short video that shows the progression of the NEOWISE survey in the year after its December 2013 restart. NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft discovered and characterized 40 near-Earth objects (NEOs) in the first year after the mission was re-started in December […]

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New Horizons Begins First Stages of Pluto Encounter

January 16, 2015

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New Horizons Spacecraft Begins First Stages of Pluto Encounter

After a voyage of more than 3 billion miles, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is ready to begin exploring Pluto. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft recently began its long-awaited, historic encounter with Pluto. The spacecraft is entering the first of several approach phases that culminate July 14 with the first close-up flyby of the dwarf planet, 4.67 […]

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Astrophysicists Believe There Are More Planets in Our Solar System

January 15, 2015

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New Research Suggests That There Are More Planets in Our Solar System

Numerical calculations made by researchers at the Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Cambridge reveal that there could be at least two unknown planets hidden well beyond Pluto. If confirmed, this hypothesis would revolutionize solar system models. Astronomers have spent decades debating whether some dark trans-Plutonian planet remains to be discovered within the […]

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Meteorites Were Byproducts of Planetary Formation, Not Building Blocks

January 15, 2015

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New Study Finds Twist on Planetary Origins

A newly published study from researchers at MIT and Purdue University reveals that chondrules were byproducts of a violent and messy planetary process, not building blocks. Meteors that have crashed to Earth have long been regarded as relics of the early solar system. These craggy chunks of metal and rock are studded with chondrules — […]

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Astronomers Celebrate 10 Year Anniversary of Titan Landing

January 15, 2015

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The 10 Years Since Titan Landing

Ten years ago, ESA’s Huygens probe entered the history books by descending to the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Humanity’s first successful attempt to land a probe on another world in the outer Solar System. On January 14, 2005 an explorer from Earth parachuted into the haze of an alien moon toward an uncertain […]

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