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Are certain classes of galaxies really different, or just the same thing viewed from different angles? Astronomers may have just solved a long-standing mystery.   Galaxies with central black holes can take various forms depending on the angle at which astronomers see them.  NASA   Every large galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its center. And some of those black holes are actively ejecting huge amounts of high-energy light out into the cosmos.Astronomers divide some of these active galaxies, which otherwise look like normal spirals, into two types, so-called Seyfert 1 and Seyfert 2 galaxies. Seyfert 1 galaxies have distinctive light signatures that emerge from the fast-moving material just outside the black hole. Seyfert 2s lack these signals.But for three decades now, astronomers have suspected that these two types of galaxies might in fact be the same, we’re just seeing them from different angles. The thought was that a dusty ring around t...

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China’s Chang’e 4 mission is continuing its science and exploration work on the farside of the Moon, having completed its eighth lunar day of activities on Wednesday.   This composite image showing the shadow of the Yutu-2 rover, roving tracks, and the distant Chang’e 4 lander was taken during lunar day 7. CNSA / CLEP China's Chang’e 4 lunar lander and Yutu 2 (Jade Rabbit 2) rover powered down at 9:00 and 9:50 Universal Time (UT), respectively, on August 7th, just under 24 hours ahead of local sunset, according to an update from the China Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP). The Yutu 2 rover has now covered a total of 271 meters (890 feet) since its deployment and continues to make its way west of the landing site in Von Kármán Crater. Chang'e 4 landed in the 180-km-diameter (112-mile) crater, which lies within the immense South Pole-Aitken impact basin, following local lunar sunrise on January 3rd. NASA’...

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  Astronomers have used the combined power of multiple astronomical observatories around the world and in space to discover a treasure trove of previously unknown ancient massive galaxies. This is the first multiple discovery of its kind, and such an abundance of this type of galaxy defies current models of the universe. These galaxies are also intimately connected with supermassive black holes and the distribution of dark matter. The Hubble Space Telescope offered unprecedented access to the previously unseen universe, but even it is blind to some of the most fundamental pieces of the cosmic puzzle. Astronomers from the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Tokyo wanted to observe objects they long suspected were out there, but which Hubble could not reveal. Newer generations of astronomical observatories have finally revealed what they sought. "This is the first time that such a large population of massive galaxies was confirmed during the first 2 billion ye...

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The planet has an upper atmosphere some 10 times hotter than any other world yet measured, which astronomers think is causing heavy metals to stream away from the planet.   WASP-121b is so hot that the planet has puffed up beyond its ability to hold onto its own atmosphere, and is instead streaming it away as it flies around its star every 30 hours.   Astronomers just used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to take the temperature of an exoplanet called WASP-121b and discovered that the world is so hot that heavy metals actually leak behind it as it whips about its central star. It’s the first time scientists have seen such a phenomenon. Since the beginning of the exoplanet era, when astronomers began finding planets outside our solar system, these so-called hot Jupiters have demanded attention. They’re as big or bigger than our planet Jupiter, made of mostly gassy hydrogen and helium, and orbit shockingly close to their stars. These monster...

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Mars 2020 rover on track for launch next July

Thursday, August 1st 2019 10:41 AM

In this image, taken July 19 in the clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, the rover’s 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) arm maneuvers its 88-pound (40-kilogram) sensor-laden turret as it moves from a deployed to a stowed configuration. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech The launch of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is less than a year away, and the steady pace of work inside the craft’s pristine assembly hall in California is keeping the mission on schedule for liftoff from Cape Canaveral next July, despite growing costs, according to mission managers. Based on the Curiosity rover currently exploring Mars, the Mars 2020 rover will weigh more than a ton when it heads for the Red Planet next year. Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will install the final components inside the robot in the next few weeks. Once completed, the rover will go through a series of functional and environmental tests to ensure it is re...

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A new image of Eta Carinae by the Hubble Space Telescope reveals the unexpected ultraviolet glow of magnesium embedded in warm gas (shown in blue). The observations may shed light on the sequence of events that led to the “Great Eruption” in the mid 1800s. Image: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of Arizona), and J. Morse (BoldlyGo Institute) The Hubble Space Telescope has provided another remarkable view of Eta Carinae, one of the galaxy’s most massive stars as it continues a cosmic fireworks show, a slow-motion train wreck that may end with a cataclysmic supernova blast in the astronomically near future. The show began 170 years ago when the star suddenly and dramatically brightened in an 18-year-long event now known as the “Great Eruption.” Becoming the second brightest star in the sky for more than a decade, Eta Carinae eventually faded from view, now and then brightening and dimming. One possible explanation for the Great Eruption is that the largest...

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A new method of studying alien planets might allow scientists to determine if two-planet systems "at the edge of chaos" could host life.  Since scientists first began observing exoplanets (short for extrasolar planets) in 1992, thousands more have been discovered. These distant worlds help scientists expand our understanding of the cosmos and tell us what, if any, life might exist beyond Earth. But, even though tools like NASA's Kepler space telescope and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) have made possible to discover many more exoplanets, scientists still face challenges when they try to determine the initial positions and velocities of exoplanets.  This is why Tamás Kovács, a theoretical physicist at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, decided to develop a new method for analyzing exoplanet systems. According to Kovács, this new method could allow scientists to determine whether a system of exoplanets mi...

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Seventy-three light-years is nearby, in the cosmic scheme of things. NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered three new worlds that are among the smallest, nearest exoplanets known to date. The planets orbit a star 73 light-years away and include a small, rocky super-Earth and two sub-Neptunes — planets about half the size of our own icy giant. (Image: © Scott Wiessinger/NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center) NASA's newest planet hunter has bagged three more trophies, two of which may help scientists better understand how worlds form and evolve. The Transiting Exoplaner Survey Satellite (TESS) has spotted three planets orbiting the red dwarf star TOI-270, which lies just 73 light-years from the sun, a new study reports.  All three worlds are relatively small. One is a rocky "super-Earth" not much bigger than our own planet, and the other two are "sub-Neptunes" about half the size of our solar system's other blue planet, r...

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WASHINGTON — NASA and the White House used the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing to mark the latest achievement in the development of the Orion spacecraft and reaffirm plans to use it to return humans to the moon by 2024. In a speech at the Kennedy Space Center July 20, Vice President Mike Pence, flanked by the Orion spacecraft being built for the Artemis 1 uncrewed mission, said that assembly of the spacecraft was now “complete” and ready for final testing. “Thanks to the hard work of the men of NASA — men and women of NASA — and of American industry, the Orion crew vehicle for the Artemis 1 mission is complete and ready to begin preparations for its historic first flight,” Pence announced in his speech at the KSC building where Orion is assembled and tested. The completion he referred to was the long-awaited integration of the Orion crew module, built by Lockheed Martin, with the European-built service module. The combined spacecra...

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The huge ocean sloshing beneath the ice shell of the Jupiter moon Europa may be intriguingly similar to the seas of Earth, a new study suggests. Scientists have generally thought that sulfate salts dominate Europa's subsurface ovean, which harbors about twice as much water as all of Earth's seas put together. But the Hubble Space Telescope has detected the likely presence of sodium chloride (NaCl) on Europa's frigid surface, the study reports.  The NaCl — the same stuff that makes up plain old table salt — is probably coming from the ocean, study team members said. And that's pretty exciting, given that the saltiness of Earth's oceans comes primarily from NaCl.  "We do need to revisit our understanding of Europa's surface composition, as well as its internal geochemistry," lead author Samantha Trumbo, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, told Space.com.  "If this sodium chloride is really reflective of the internal composition,...

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