Hubble zooms in on galactic core

A new Hubble image has presented a stunning glimpse of the nuclear star cluster known to shroud Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) – the supermassive black hole that lurks at the heart of our galaxy. The spectacular 50 light-year wide image was captured in the infrared spectrum by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3.Read More

Does a nearby star host an Earth-like planet?

The European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has made some stunning and insightful observations since its inauguration in 2013, including looks at galaxy formation in the early Universe and snaps of the Milky Way's largest known stellar womb. The telescope's latest effort is one of its most impressive yet, providing us with the best-ever look at a planet-forming disc. Read More

Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket makes third powered landing

Blue Origin pulled off a spaceflight hat trick today as its New Shepard rocket completed its third powered landing. In a series of tweets, company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos confirmed the third flight of the reusable booster from its test site in Texas. The rocket flew to an altitude of 339,178 ft before releasing its unmanned Crew Capsule, which returned to Earth using parachutes.Read More

To better understand Martian geology, scientists make a cake

When NASA's Viking spacecraft touched down on the surface of Mars in 1976, one of the geologic features it observed was massive mounds inside craters. More recently, the Curiosity Mars rover got up close with one of these mounds called Mount Sharp where it landed in 2012 inside the Gale Crater. It revealed that the base of the three-mile (4.8-km)-high mound was made from sediment carried by water, while the upper layers consisted of regolith deposited by wind. To find out just how such a mixed mound could be developed, researchers created a "crater layer cake" and they popped it in a wind tunnel.Read More

Activate cloaking device: Hiding Earth from unfriendly aliens using lasers

In recent years, mankind has become very good at finding other planets. Using instruments like the Kepler Space Telescope, scientists have, to date, discovered over 2,000 planets outside our Solar System, but what if some of those planets are inhabited by beings we'd rather not talk to, much less have drop in? Just in case any potential visitors are less ET and more Aliens, a pair of Columbia University scientists have figured out how to use lasers to hide the Earth from prying eyes by camouflaging its light signature.Read More

New research may improve the accuracy of "cosmic yardsticks"

Astronomers have discovered evidence that could help solve a long standing dispute over the origin of Type Ia supernovae, by observing the youngest example of the titanic explosions located to date. The light from the rare breed of supernovae is used by scientists as a cosmic yard stick to chart the expansion of our universe.Read More

NASA heat map points to scorched "Super Earth" with vast magma pools

Using data collected by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, a team of astronomers have produced the first ever heat map of an Earth-like exoplanet. The alien climate map paints a grim picture of a world scorched by its close proximity to its host star, with extreme temperature variations noted between the star-facing and far side of the planet.Read More

Zeiss telephoto lens used on Apollo 15 up for auction

In October 2015, Boston-based RR Auction set a new record for astronaut memorabilia when the only privately-owned watch to be worn on Moon sold for US$1.6 million. This watch, which was flown on Apollo 15 in 1972, is now followed to the auction block by a Zeiss telephoto lens from the same mission. The Zeiss Tele-Tessar 500mm f/8 lens by Carl Zeiss AG was used by Mission Commander David R Scott with a Hasselblad camera body to set a new standard of photography on manned lunar missions and is expected to fetch around half a million dollars.Read More

Tidal forces pinpointed as catalyst for Enceladus' eruptions

Researchers from the University of Chicago and Princeton University have generated a new computer model that successfully simulates the mechanism driving impressive geyser eruptions observed taking place on the Saturnian moon Enceladus. The geysers have been active since Cassini first observed the phenomena in 2005, and were likely erupting long before the probe entered orbit around Saturn.Read More


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