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, 23 Jul 2014 00:10:20 EDT

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory celebrates 15th anniversary
Fifteen years ago, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. Since its deployment on July 23, 1999, Chandra has helped revolutionize our understanding of the universe through its unrivaled X-ray vision.
Publ.Date : Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:48:50 EDT

NASA's Fermi finds a 'transformer' pulsar
In late June 2013, an exceptional binary containing a rapidly spinning neutron star underwent a dramatic change in behavior never before observed. The pulsar's radio beacon vanished, while at the same time the system brightened fivefold in gamma rays, the most powerful form of light, according to measurements by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Publ.Date : Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:04:52 EDT

Hubble traces halo of a galaxy more accurately than ever before: An in-depth look at giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A
Astronomers have probed the extreme outskirts of the stunning elliptical galaxy Centaurus A. The galaxy's halo of stars has been found to extend much further from the galaxy's center than expected and the stars within this halo seem to be surprisingly rich in heavy elements. This is the most remote portion of an elliptical galaxy ever to have been explored.
Publ.Date : Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:22:43 EDT

Transiting exoplanet with longest known year: 704 Earth days
Astronomers have discovered a transiting exoplanet with the longest known year. Kepler-421b circles its star once every 704 days. In comparison, Mars orbits our Sun once every 780 days. Most of the 1,800-plus exoplanets discovered to date are much closer to their stars and have much shorter orbital periods.
Publ.Date : Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:22:15 EDT

Oceans vital for possibility for alien life
Researchers have made an important step in the race to discover whether other planets could develop and sustain life. New research shows the vital role of oceans in moderating climate on Earth-like planets Until now, computer simulations of habitable climates on Earth-like planets have focused on their atmospheres. But the presence of oceans is vital for optimal climate stability and habitability.
Publ.Date : Sun, 20 Jul 2014 20:34:59 EDT

Looking back at the Jupiter crash 20 years later
Twenty years ago, human and robotic eyes observed the first recorded impact between cosmic bodies in the solar system, as fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into the atmosphere of Jupiter. Between July 16 and July 22, 1994, space- and Earth-based assets managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, joined an armada of other NASA and international telescopes, straining to get a glimpse of the historic event.
Publ.Date : Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:30:12 EDT

NASA rover's images show laser flash on Martian rock
Flashes appear on a baseball-size Martian rock in a series of images taken Saturday, July 12 by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the arm of NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover. The flashes occurred while the rover's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument fired multiple laser shots to investigate the rock's composition.
Publ.Date : Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:22:58 EDT

Rosetta spacecraft approaching twofold comet
As the European Space Agency's spacecraft Rosetta is slowly approaching its destination, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet is again proving to be full of surprises. New images obtained by OSIRIS, the onboard scientific imaging system, confirm the body's peculiar shape hinted at in earlier pictures. Comet 67P is obviously different from other comets visited so far.
Publ.Date : Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:20:59 EDT

Lunar pits could shelter astronauts, reveal details of how 'man in the moon' formed
While the moon's surface is battered by millions of craters, it also has over 200 holes -- steep-walled pits that in some cases might lead to caves that future astronauts could explore and use for shelter, according to new observations.
Publ.Date : Thu, 17 Jul 2014 18:04:54 EDT

Sharpest map of Mars surface properties
A heat-sensing camera has provided data to create the most detailed global map yet made of Martian surface properties. Surface properties tell geologists about the physical nature of a planet or moon's surface. Is a particular area coated with dust, and if so, how thick is it likely to be? Where are the outcrops of bedrock? How loose are the sediments that fill this crater or that valley? A map of surface properties lets scientists begin to answer questions such as these.
Publ.Date : Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:13:33 EDT

Asteroid Vesta to reshape theories of planet formation
Researchers have a better understanding of the asteroid Vesta and its internal structure, thanks to numerical simulations and data from the space mission Dawn. Their findings question contemporary models of rocky planet formation, including that of Earth.
Publ.Date : Wed, 16 Jul 2014 13:16:32 EDT

NOAA's GOES-R satellite Magnetometer ready for spacecraft integration
The Magnetometer instrument that will fly on NOAA's GOES-R satellite when it is launched in early 2016 has completed the development and testing phase and is ready to be integrated with the spacecraft.
Publ.Date : Tue, 15 Jul 2014 21:43:11 EDT

NASA's Van Allen Probes show how to accelerate electrons
One of the great, unanswered questions for space weather scientists is just what creates two gigantic donuts of radiation surrounding Earth, called the Van Allen radiation belts. Recent data from the Van Allen Probes -- two nearly identical spacecraft that launched in 2012 -- address this question.
Publ.Date : Tue, 15 Jul 2014 21:43:09 EDT

Every full moon, Landsat looks to the moon
Every full moon, Landsat 8 turns its back on Earth. As the satellite's orbit takes it to the nighttime side of the planet, Landsat 8 pivots to point at the moon. It scans the distant lunar surface multiple times, then flips back around to continue its task of collecting land-cover information of the sunny side of Earth below.
Publ.Date : Sun, 13 Jul 2014 15:59:40 EDT

Out of an hours-long explosion, a stand-in for the first stars
Astronomers analyzing a long-lasting blast of high-energy light observed in 2013 report finding features strikingly similar to those expected from an explosion from the universe's earliest stars. If this interpretation is correct, the outburst validates ideas about a recently identified class of gamma-ray burst and serves as a stand-in for what future observatories may see as the last acts of the first stars.
Publ.Date : Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:33:41 EDT

Hi-ho! Astronomers discover seven dwarf galaxies with new telescope
Meet the seven new dwarf galaxies. Astronomers, using a new type of telescope made by stitching together telephoto lenses, recently discovered seven celestial surprises while probing a nearby spiral galaxy. The previously unseen galaxies may yield important insights into dark matter and galaxy evolution, while possibly signaling the discovery of a new class of objects in space.
Publ.Date : Thu, 10 Jul 2014 18:36:14 EDT

NASA spacecraft observes further evidence of dry ice gullies on Mars
Repeated high-resolution observations made by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) indicate the gullies on Mars' surface are primarily formed by the seasonal freezing of carbon dioxide, not liquid water. The first reports of formative gullies on Mars in 2000 generated excitement and headlines because they suggested the presence of liquid water on the Red Planet, the eroding action of which forms gullies here on Earth. Mars has water vapor and plenty of frozen water, but the presence of liquid water on the neighboring planet, a necessity for all known life, has not been confirmed.
Publ.Date : Thu, 10 Jul 2014 18:30:26 EDT

Sun-like stars reveal their ages
A new technique for measuring the age of a star using its spin -- gyrochronology -- is coming into its own. Today astronomers are presenting the gyrochronological ages of 22 sun-like stars. Before this, only two sun-like stars had measured spins and ages.
Publ.Date : Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:10:24 EDT

Radio-burst discovery deepens astrophysics mystery
The discovery of a split-second burst of radio waves by scientists using the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico provides important new evidence of mysterious pulses that appear to come from deep in outer space. Exactly what may be causing such radio bursts represents a major new enigma for astrophysicists.
Publ.Date : Thu, 10 Jul 2014 11:15:27 EDT

Hubble spots spiral bridge of young stars linking two ancient galaxies
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed an unusual structure 100,000 light-years long, which resembles a corkscrew-shaped string of pearls and winds around the cores of two colliding galaxies. The unique structure of the star spiral may yield new insights into the formation of stellar superclusters that result from merging galaxies and gas dynamics in this rarely seen process.
Publ.Date : Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:14:02 EDT