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Prime Asteroid Hunting Spacecraft is Ready for New Mission

NASA JPL December 19, 2013 NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE), a spacecraft that made the most comprehensive survey to date of asteroids and comets, has returned its first set of test images in preparation for a renewed mission. NEOWISE discovered more than 34,000 asteroids and characterized 158,000 throughout the solar system during its prime mission in 2010 ... Read More »

Billion Star-Mapping Satellite, Gaia – Lifts Off

ESA December 19, 2013 ESA’s Gaia mission blasted off this morning on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on its exciting mission to study a billion suns. Gaia is destined to create the most accurate map yet of the Milky Way. By making accurate measurements of the positions and motions of 1% of the total population ... Read More »

Strange Compound Discovered in Crab Nebula

ESA December 12, 2013 Using ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory, a team of astronomers has found first evidence of a noble-gas based molecule in space. A compound of argon, the molecule was detected in the gaseous filaments of the Crab Nebula, one of the most famous supernova remnants in our Galaxy. While argon is a product of supernova explosions, the formation ... Read More »

Water Vapor is Erupting From Europa’s South Pole

ESA Hubble December 12, 2013 The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered water vapour erupting from the frigid surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa, in one or more localised plumes near its south pole. Europa is already thought to harbour a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust, making the moon one of the main targets in the search for habitable worlds ... Read More »

A Nova Next to Alpha Centauri

Coconut Science Lab December 11, 2013 Discovered on December 02, 2013, Nova Centauri 2013 is currently visible on a dark night, located in the constellation of Centaurus, not far from the bright stars Alpha and Beta Centauri. The nova was discovered by John Seach from Australia and is the brightest nova to have occurred so far this millennium. The above ... Read More »

New Images of Dwarf Planet’s Eris and Sedna

In celebration of the 10th year anniversary of the discovery of dwarf planet Sedna, astronomer Gianluca Masi at the Virtual Telescope Project has released a new image of Sedna (image below), as well as a new image of dwarf planet Eris (image above). Sedna was discovered on November 14, 2003. Eris is currently the largest dwarf planet known and is ... Read More »

Possible Supermassive Black Hole Pair Discovered – May Merge

NASA JPL December 03, 2013 Astronomers have spotted what appear to be two supermassive black holes at the heart of a remote galaxy, circling each other like dance partners. The incredibly rare sighting was made with the help of NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Follow-up observations with the Australian Telescope Compact Array near Narrabri, Australia, and the Gemini ... Read More »

Hubble Telescope Finds Signals for Water on Alien Planets

NASA December 03, 2013 Using the powerful­ eye of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, two teams of scientists have found faint signatures of water in the atmospheres of five distant planets. The presence of atmospheric water was reported previously on a few exoplanets orbiting stars beyond our solar system, but this is the first study to conclusively measure and compare the ... Read More »

What Happened to Comet ISON?

NASA December 2, 2013 After several days of continued observations, scientists continue to work to determine and to understand the fate of Comet ISON: There’s no doubt that the comet shrank in size considerably as it rounded the sun and there’s no doubt that something made it out on the other side to shoot back into space. The question remains ... Read More »

Comet ISON: Nucleus May Still Be Intact

NASA November 29, 2013 Continuing a history of surprising behavior, material from Comet ISON appeared on the other side of the sun on the evening on Nov. 28, 2013, despite not having been seen in observations during its closest approach to the sun.   CONTINUE Read More »

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