26
Jul 14

New Views of the Rosetta Comet

Source: NASA Science News

Rosetta_OSIRIS_NAC_comet_67P_20140714_625

Images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken on July 14, 2014, by the OSIRIS imaging system aboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft have allowed scientists to create this three-dimensional shape model of the nucleus. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team/MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM

As the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe approaches Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for an August rendezvous, the comet's core is coming into sharper focus. Today ESA released a new set of images and a must-see 3D model.(read more)

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25
Jul 14

Mystery in the Perseus Cluster

Source: NASA Science News

A mysterious X-ray signal from the Perseus cluster of galaxies, which researchers say cannot be explained by known physics, could be a key clue to the nature of Dark Matter.(learn more)

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24
Jul 14

New mass map of a distant galaxy cluster is the most precise yet

Source: ESA/Hubble Science heic1416

Colour image of galaxy cluster MCS J0416.1–2403Colour image of galaxy cluster MCS J0416.1–240.
Image credits:ESA/Hubble, NASA, HST Frontier Fields.

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have mapped the mass within a galaxy cluster more precisely than ever before. Created using observations from Hubble's Frontier Fields observing programme, the map shows the amount and distribution of mass within MCS J0416.1–2403, a massive galaxy cluster found to be 160 trillion times the mass of the Sun. The detail in this mass map was made possible thanks to the unprecedented depth of data provided by new Hubble observations, and the cosmic phenomenon known as strong gravitational lensing. (read more)

 

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23
Jul 14

Lives and Deaths of Sibling Stars

Source: ESO Photo Release eso1422

The star cluster NGC 3293The star cluster NGC 329.
Image credits:ESO/G. Beccari

In this striking new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile young stars huddle together against a backdrop of clouds of glowing gas and lanes of dust. The star cluster, known as NGC 3293, would have been just a cloud of gas and dust itself about ten million years ago, but as stars began to form it became the bright group of stars we see here. Clusters like this are celestial laboratories that allow astronomers to learn more about how stars evolve. (learn more)

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22
Jul 14

Hubble traces the halo of a galaxy more accurately than ever before

Source: ESA/Hubble Science Release heic1415

Centaurus A haloCentaurus A halo.
Image credits: ESA/Hubble, NASA, Digitized Sky Survey, MPG/ESO.

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have probed the extreme outskirts of the stunning elliptical galaxy Centaurus A. The galaxy’s halo of stars has been found to extend much further from the galaxy’s centre than expected and the stars within this halo seem to be surprisingly rich in heavy elements. This is the most remote portion of an elliptical galaxy ever to have been explored.(learn more)

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22
Jul 14
18
Jul 14

Rosetta's comet may be a contact binary

Rosetta_OSIRIS_NAC_comet_67P_20140714_625

Image credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Credit: NASA Science News

New images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko show that the target of ESA's Rosetta probe is no ordinary comet.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, was imaged on 14 July 2014 by OSIRIS, Rosetta's scientific imaging system, from a distance of approximately 12 000 km (image on the right).

The image suggests that the comet may consist of two parts: one segment seems to be rather elongated, while the other appears more bulbous.(learn more)

 

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16
Jul 14

New Horizons only one year away from Pluto

Source: NASA Science News

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is only a year away from Pluto. Researchers are buzzing with anticipation as NASA prepares to encounter a new world for the first time in decades.(read more)

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7
Jul 14

NameExoWorlds - Help decide the names of planets orbiting other stars

unnamed-exoplanets
Image Credit: IAU / M. Kornmesser / N. Risinger (skysurvey.org)

The International Astronomical Union has unveiled a worldwide contest, NameExoWorlds, which gives the public a role in naming planets and their host stars beyond the solar system. This contest is creating some controversy. Nonetheless, it is an interesting contest for teachers to work with their students. (learn more)

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4
Jul 14

Saturn's moon Titan has a very salty ocean

Credits: NASA Science News

splash4
Titan's ice shell, which overlies a very salty ocean, varies in thickness around the moon.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/SSI/Univ. of Arizona/G. Mitri/University of Nantes

Scientists analyzing data from NASA’s Cassini mission have found evidence of an ocean inside Saturn's largest moon, Titan, which might be as salty as the Earth's Dead Sea.(learn more)

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3
Jul 14

A Stellar Womb Shaped and Destroyed by its Ungrateful Offspring

Credit: ESO Photo Release eso1420

The Gum 15 star formation region
The Gum 15 star formation region.
Image credit: ESO

The little-known cloud of cosmic gas and dust called Gum 15 is the birthplace and home of hot young stars. Beautiful and deadly, these stars mould the appearance of their mother nebula and, as they progress into adulthood, will eventually also be the death of her. (learn more)

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20
Jun 14

Astronomers use Hubble to study bursts of star formation in the dwarf galaxies of the early Universe

Source: ESA/Hubble Science News

GOODS field containing distant dwarf galaxies forming stars at a
GOODS field containing distant dwarf galaxies forming stars at an incredible rate.
Image credits: NASA, ESA, the GOODS Team and M. Giavalisco (STScI/University of Massachusetts)

They may only be little, but they pack a star-forming punch: new observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show that starbursts in dwarf galaxies played a bigger role than expected in the early history of the Universe. (read more)

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11
Mar 14

Concerns and Considerations with the Naming of Mars Craters

Source: IAU-iau1402-News Release

iau1402a

Recently initiatives that capitalise on the public’s interest in space and astronomy have proliferated, some putting a price tag on naming space objects and their features, such as Mars craters. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) would like to emphasise that such initiatives go against the spirit of free and equal access to space, as well as against internationally recognised standards. Hence no purchased names can ever be used on official maps and globes. The IAU encourages the public to become involved in the naming process of space objects and their features by following the officially recognised (and free) methods.(read more)

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8
Mar 14

A Telescope Bigger than a Galaxy

Source: Science@NASA

Astronomers have figured out how to use the gravity of distant galaxies to bend light and magnify images, forming gigantic telescopes that see deeper into the cosmos than ever before.

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7
Mar 14

Crashing Comets Explain Surprise Gas Clump Around Young Star

Source: ESO Science Release eso1408

eso1408a
Artist's impression of Beta Pictoris.
Image credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/F. Reddy

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in northern Chile have today announced the discovery of an unexpected clump of carbon monoxide gas in the dusty disc around the star Beta Pictoris. This is a surprise, as such gas is expected to be rapidly destroyed by starlight. Something — probably frequent collisions between small, icy objects such as comets — must be causing the gas to be continuously replenished. The new results are published today in the journal Science.(read more)

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6
Mar 14

Hubble witnesses an asteroid mysteriously disintegrating

Source: ESA/Hubble heic1405

heic1405a
Asteroid P/2013 R3 breaks apart.
Image credits: NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (UCLA).

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid, which has fragmented into as many as ten smaller pieces. Although fragile comet nuclei have been seen to fall apart as they approach the Sun, nothing like the breakup of this asteroid, P/2013 R3, has ever been observed before in the asteroid belt.(read more)

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5
Mar 14

First Light for MUSE

Source: ESO-eso1407

eso1407a
MUSE views the strange galaxy NGC 4650A.
Image credits: ESO/MUSE consortium/R. Bacon/L. Calçada.

A new innovative instrument called MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) has been successfully installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. MUSE has observed distant galaxies, bright stars and other test targets during the first period of very successful observations. (read more)

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5
Mar 14

ESA Summer Workshop for Teachers 2014

Source: ESA

This year ESA is once again organising a summer workshop for secondary school teachers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related subjects. The workshop  will be held at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), located in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, from 21 - 25 July 2014. (learn more)

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4
Mar 14

Spiral galaxy spills blood and guts

Source: ESA/Hubble-HEIC1404

heic1404aNew Hubble image of spiral galaxy ESO 137-001.
Image credits: NASA, ESA. Acknowledgements: Ming Sun (UAH), and Serge Meunier

This new Hubble image shows spiral galaxy ESO 137-001, framed against a bright background as it moves through the heart of galaxy cluster Abell 3627. This cluster is violently ripping the spiral’s entrails out into space, leaving bright blue streaks as telltale clues to this cosmic crime. (read more)

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21
Feb 14

Biggest metor impact on the Moon recorded.

The University of Huelva has released (see above) images of the high-speed impact of a wayward space rock on the surface of the moon last year triggered the brightest lunar explosion ever seen, scientists say.

Video footage of the record-breaking meteorite strike on the moon, which occurred on Sept. 11, 2013 and was unveiled today (Feb. 24), shows a long flash that was almost as bright as the North Star Polaris. That means the boulder-sized meteorite's lunar crash could have been visible to anyone on Earth who happened to be staring up at the moon at 8:07 p.m. GMT, weather permitting.

The following video is a simulation of the chain of events that leaded to the impact.

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