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Space telescope

Artist's concept of a supermassive black hole (Image: ASA/JPL-Caltech)

Supermassive black holes are titanic oddities. Usually sited at the core of galaxies and various high-energy phenomena such as quasars, their mass can be anywhere from that of a hundred thousand to billions of suns. Now observations from NASA and ESA space telescopes are shedding light on the incredibly powerful cosmic winds they produce, which can have more energy than an entire galaxy.  Read More

Image on the left is an early shot of the event, while the right is relatively near the en...

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured a rare image of a triple transit, as three of Jupiter's largest moons cast their shadows on the gas giant's planetary disk. The three moons captured in the image – Europa, Callisto and Io, were among the first celestial objects observed with a telescope, and were instrumental in debunking the long held belief that the Earth was at the center of the universe.  Read More

The Twinkle satellite will look at the atmospheres of exoplanets to seek more definite sig...

One reason exoplanets are so fascinating is the possibility that they may harbor life, but the definition of habitable used by astronomers is so broad that it could include planets that obviously aren't. To help zero in on the more likely candidates, a British-built satellite called Twinkle will look at the atmospheres of exoplanets to seek more definite signs of life, as well as clues as to the chemistry, formation and evolution of exoplanets.  Read More

Hubble composite showing the larger galaxy NGC 7714 having its structure deformed by the n...

NASA's venerated Hubble Space Telescope has captured a striking image of the larger galaxy NGC 7714 colliding with its smaller companion NGC 7715. A similar cataclysmic collision is due to take place between our own galaxy – the Milky Way – and our closest neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, in around four billion years. The image itself is a composite, comprised of a number of images captured by Hubble over a wide range of wavelengths.  Read More

Artist's impression of the ancient solar system (Image: Tiago Campante/Peter Devine)

A team led by scientists from the University of Birmingham, UK, have discovered an ancient solar system dating back to the dawn of the Milky Way. What makes the system truly fascinating is the confirmed existence of five Earth-sized planets, which may have profound implications for the presence of ancient life existing from an early point in our galaxy's 13.8 billion year history.  Read More

The latest images have 30 percent better resolution than those captured by Hubble (Image: ...

The dwarf planet Ceres has come into sharper focus with NASA's Dawn spacecraft sending back the best images yet of the asteroid. Shot on January 25 from a distance of 147,000 mi (237,000 km) as the unmanned probe closes in for its March rendezvous, the resolution was 30 percent better than the best images obtained by the Hubble space telescope.  Read More

Artist's concept of the Aragoscope deployed

The Hubble space telescope has given us decades of incredible images, but it's reaching the end of its service life and the question is, what will come after? One possibility is the Aragoscope from the University of Colorado Boulder, which uses a gigantic orbital disk instead of a mirror to produce images 1,000 times sharper than the Hubble's best efforts.  Read More

Artist's impression of the Kepler space telescope (Image: NASA)

NASA's Kepler space telescope's count of exoplanets has passed the magic 1,000 mark, including eight new "habitable" planets and 544 candidate planets. Having confirmed so many exoplanets and their characteristics provides a database large enough to allow astronomers to carry out statistical analysis and make very rough predictions about how many planets there are in our galaxy, as well as the odds of finding another Earth.  Read More

The KOI-3158 system compared to other known planets (Image credit: Tiago Campante)

A team of scientists has found what they claim is the oldest Earth-sized planet in the Milky Way, hinting at the possibility of ancient life elsewhere in our galaxy. Located about 117 light years from us in the constellation Lyra, the star KOI-3158 is estimated to be 11.2 billion years old, give or take 900 million years or so. For some perspective, our own sun and solar system is believed to be less than 5 billion years old.  Read More

Artist's concept of Kepler carrying out its new K2 mission(Image: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T ...

NASA's Kepler space telescope shows that it still has life in it as its extended mission begins to bear fruit. This week, the space agency announced that the spacecraft detected a new exoplanet, demonstrating that its K2 life extension mission is working. The planet, called, HIP 116454b, is 2.5 times larger in diameter than the Earth and orbits a star 180 light years from Earth in the constellation of Pisces every nine days at a distance that makes it much too hot for it to sustain life.  Read More

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