Astronomy News

Courtesy of Science Daily

Welcome to Sea and Sky's Astronomy News. Here you can find links to the latest space news headlines on the topic of astronomy. Click on any yellow title below to view the full news article. The news article will open in a new browser window. Simply close the browser window when you are finished reading the article to return to the news article listing. You can use the "Click for More" link to go to a page with more news headlines.


Astronomy News -- ScienceDaily
Updated : Wed, 04 Mar 2015 09:40:14 EST

Far from home: Wayward star cluster is both tiny and distant
Like the lost little puppy that wanders too far from home, astronomers have found an unusually small and distant group of stars that seems oddly out of place. The cluster, made of only a handful of stars, is located far away, in the Milky Way's 'suburbs.' It is located where astronomers have never spotted such a small cluster of stars before.
Publ.Date : Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:32:20 EST

Cloudy, with a wisp of liquid rock: Clouds around exoplanets analyzed
Meteorologists sometimes struggle to accurately predict the weather here on Earth, but now we can find out how cloudy it is on planets outside our solar system, thanks to new research.
Publ.Date : Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:17:34 EST

Old-looking galaxy in a young universe: Astronomers find dust in the early universe
Dust plays an extremely important role in the universe -- both in the formation of planets and new stars. But the earliest galaxies had no dust, only gas. Now an international team of astronomers has discovered a dust-filled galaxy from the very early universe. The discovery demonstrates that galaxies were very quickly enriched with dust particles containing elements such as carbon and oxygen, which could form planets.
Publ.Date : Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:29:25 EST

NASA spacecraft nears historic dwarf planet arrival
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has returned new images captured on approach to its historic orbit insertion at the dwarf planet Ceres. Dawn will be the first mission to successfully visit a dwarf planet when it enters orbit around Ceres on Friday, March 6.
Publ.Date : Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:27:26 EST

OSIRIS-REx mission successfully completes system integration review
This week marked the completion of an important step on the path to spacecraft assembly, test, and launch operations for the Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer or OSIRIS-REx mission.
Publ.Date : Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:11:12 EST

Living on the edge: Stars found far from galaxy center
Astronomers using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, have found a cluster of stars forming at the very edge of our Milky Way galaxy. This is the first time astronomers have found stars being born in such a remote location. Clouds of star-forming material at very high latitudes away from the galactic plane are rare and, in general, are not expected to form stars.
Publ.Date : Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:11:11 EST

MUSE goes beyond Hubble: Looking deeply into the universe in 3-D
The MUSE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope has given astronomers the best ever three-dimensional view of the deep universe. After staring at the Hubble Deep Field South region for only 27 hours, the new observations reveal the distances, motions and other properties of far more galaxies than ever before in this tiny piece of the sky. They also go beyond Hubble and reveal previously invisible objects.
Publ.Date : Thu, 26 Feb 2015 08:49:32 EST

Pockets of calm protect molecules around a supermassive black hole
Researchers have discovered regions where certain organic molecules somehow endure the intense radiation near the supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy NGC 1068, also known to amateur stargazers as M77.
Publ.Date : Thu, 26 Feb 2015 08:44:23 EST

Monster black hole discovered at cosmic dawn
The discovery of the brightest quasar in the early universe, powered by the most massive black hole yet known at that time presents a puzzle to researchers: How could something so massive and luminous form so early in the universe, only 900 million years after the Big Bang?
Publ.Date : Wed, 25 Feb 2015 14:24:52 EST

'Bright spot' on Ceres has dimmer companion
Dwarf planet Ceres continues to puzzle scientists as NASA's Dawn spacecraft gets closer to being captured into orbit around the object. The latest images from Dawn, taken nearly 29,000 miles (46,000 kilometers) from Ceres, reveal that a bright spot that stands out in previous images lies close to yet another bright area.
Publ.Date : Wed, 25 Feb 2015 11:11:11 EST

SOHO sees something new near the sun: Comet survives close encounter
An unusual comet skimmed past the sun on Feb 18-21, 2015, as captured by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO.
Publ.Date : Tue, 24 Feb 2015 16:48:48 EST

Mars exploration: NASA's MAVEN spacecraft completes first deep dip campaign
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution has completed the first of five deep-dip maneuvers designed to gather measurements closer to the lower end of the Martian upper atmosphere.
Publ.Date : Thu, 19 Feb 2015 21:19:06 EST

Giving shape to black holes' intense winds
By looking at the speed of ambient gas spewing out from a well-known quasar, astronomers are gaining insight into how black holes and their host galaxies might have evolved at the same time.
Publ.Date : Thu, 19 Feb 2015 21:19:04 EST

Hubble gets best view of a circumstellar debris disk distorted by a planet
Astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope to take the most detailed picture to date of a large, edge-on, gas-and-dust disk encircling the 20-million-year-old star Beta Pictoris. The new image traces the disk in closer to the star to within about 650 million miles of the star.
Publ.Date : Thu, 19 Feb 2015 14:22:54 EST

A new view of the solar system: Astrophysical jets driven by the sun
New research suggests that the sun's magnetic field controls the large-scale shape of the heliosphere much more than expected. The new model shows that the magnetic field squeezes the solar wind along the sun's north-south axis, producing two jets. These jets are then dragged downstream by the flow of the interstellar medium -- the gases and dust that lie between star systems.
Publ.Date : Thu, 19 Feb 2015 11:56:36 EST

Does dark matter cause mass extinctions and geologic upheavals?
New research concludes that Earth's infrequent but predictable path around and through our Galaxy's disc may have a direct and significant effect on geological and biological phenomena occurring on Earth. Scientists conclude that movement through dark matter may perturb the orbits of comets and lead to additional heating in the Earth's core, both of which could be connected with mass extinction events.
Publ.Date : Thu, 19 Feb 2015 08:58:27 EST

For the first time, spacecraft catch solar shockwave in the act: 'Ultrarelativistic, killer electrons' made in 60 seconds
On Oct. 8, 2013, an explosion on the sun's surface sent a supersonic blast wave of solar wind out into space. This shockwave tore past Mercury and Venus, blitzing by the moon before streaming toward Earth. The shockwave struck a massive blow to the Earth's magnetic field, setting off a magnetized sound pulse around the planet.
Publ.Date : Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:13:13 EST

Dark matter guides growth of supermassive black holes
Every massive galaxy has a black hole at its center, and the heftier the galaxy, the bigger its black hole. But why are the two related? After all, the black hole is millions of times smaller and less massive than its home galaxy. A new study of football-shaped collections of stars called elliptical galaxies finds that the invisible hand of dark matter somehow influences black hole growth.
Publ.Date : Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:34:25 EST

Dust to dust: Disintegrating rocky exoplanet could unlock secrets to how our solar system was formed
Exciting new research has opened up the chance to find out what distant planets are made of. A team of astronomers have made observations which can help reveal the chemical makeup of a small rocky world orbiting a distant star about 1500 light years away from Earth, increasing our understanding of how planets, including ours, were formed.
Publ.Date : Wed, 18 Feb 2015 07:31:07 EST

Laser 'ruler' holds promise for hunting exoplanets
The hunt for Earth-like planets around distant stars could soon become a lot easier thanks to a technique developed by researchers in Germany.
Publ.Date : Tue, 17 Feb 2015 20:29:41 EST