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 : Sat, 25 Oct 2014 06:10:33 EDT

NASA identifies ice cloud above cruising altitude on Titan
NASA scientists have identified an unexpected high-altitude methane ice cloud on Saturn's moon Titan that is similar to exotic clouds found far above Earth's poles.
Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Oct 2014 20:05:54 EDT

Illusions in the cosmic clouds: New image of spinning neutron star
Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data. There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space.
Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:59:37 EDT

MAVEN ultraviolet image of comet Siding Spring's hydrogen coma
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft obtained this ultraviolet image of hydrogen surrounding comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring on Oct. 17, 2014, two days before the comet's closest approach to Mars. The Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) instrument imaged the comet at a distance of 5.3 million miles (8.5 million kilometers).
Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:57:10 EDT

Mars Orbiter's spectrometer shows Oort comet's coma
The Compact Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) observed comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as the comet sped close to Mars on Oct. 19. CRISM recorded imaging data in 107 different wavelengths, showing the inner part of the cloud of dust, called the coma, surrounding the comet's nucleus.
Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:54:11 EDT

Galactic wheel of life shines in infrared
It might look like a spoked wheel or even a "Chakram" weapon wielded by warriors like "Xena," from the fictional TV show, but this ringed galaxy is actually a vast place of stellar life. A newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the galaxy NGC 1291. Though the galaxy is quite old, roughly 12 billion years, it is marked by an unusual ring where newborn stars are igniting.
Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:51:58 EDT

NASA ultra-black nano-coating to be applied to 3-D new solar coronagraph
An emerging super-black nanotechnology that is to be tested for the first time this fall on the International Space Station will be applied to a complex, 3-D component critical for suppressing stray light in a new, smaller, less-expensive solar coronagraph designed to ultimately fly on the orbiting outpost or as a hosted payload on a commercial satellite.
Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:34:37 EDT

Mass gaging system will measure fuel transfer in zero gravity
Transfer of super-cooled or cryogenic fuel from one tank to another in the zero gravity of space may one day be a reality. But the challenges of measuring fuels and fuel levels in the weightlessness of space must be solved first. A newly developed sensor technology that will be tested on the early suborbital flights of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo in 2015.
Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:27:10 EDT

NASA creating a virtual telescope with two small spacecraft
Although scientists have flown two spacecraft in formation, no one ever has aligned the spacecraft with a specific astronomical target and then held that configuration to make a scientific observation -- creating, in effect, a single or "virtual" telescope with two distinctly different satellites.
Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:25:07 EDT

3-D map of the adolescent universe
Using extremely faint light from galaxies 10.8-billion light years away, scientists have created one of the most complete, three-dimensional maps of a slice of the adolescent universe. The map shows a web of hydrogen gas that varies from low to high density at a time when the universe was made of a fraction of the dark matter we see.
Publ.Date : Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:41:11 EDT

Lucky star escapes black hole with minor damage: Closest near-miss event to be spotted near the Milky Way
Astronomers have gotten the closest look yet at what happens when a black hole takes a bite out of a star—and the star lives to tell the tale.
Publ.Date : Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:08:47 EDT

The perfume of the comet
How does a comet smell? Since early August the Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) is sniffing the fumes of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko with its two mass spectrometers. The detected chemistry in the coma of the comet is surprisingly rich already at more than 400 million kilometers from the Sun. 
Publ.Date : Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:18:05 EDT

Titan glowing at dusk and dawn
New maps of Saturn's moon Titan reveal large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles. These regions are curiously shifted off the poles, to the east or west, so that dawn is breaking over the southern region while dusk is falling over the northern one.
Publ.Date : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:01:15 EDT

Two families of comets found around nearby star: Biggest census ever of exocomets around Beta Pictoris
The HARPS instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has been used to make the most complete census of comets around another star ever created. Astronomers have studied nearly 500 individual comets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris and has discovered that they belong to two distinct families of exocomets: old exocomets that have made multiple passages near the star, and younger exocomets that probably came from the recent breakup of one or more larger objects.
Publ.Date : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:06:01 EDT

New window on the early Universe
Scientists see good times approaching for astrophysicists after hatching a new observational strategy to distill detailed information from  galaxies at the edge of the Universe. Using two world-class supercomputers, the researchers were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of their approach by simulating the formation of a massive galaxy at the dawn of cosmic time. The ALMA radio telescope – which stands at an elevation of 5,000 meters in the Atacama Desert of Chile, one of the driest places on earth – was then used to forge observations of the galaxy, showing how their method improves upon previous efforts.
Publ.Date : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 08:43:31 EDT

NASA Webb's heart survives deep freeze test
After 116 days of being subjected to extremely frigid temperatures like that in space, the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module and its sensitive instruments, emerged unscathed from the thermal vacuum chamber at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Publ.Date : Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:07:34 EDT

Cosmic rays threaten future deep-space astronaut missions
Crewed missions to Mars remain an essential goal for NASA, but scientists are only now beginning to understand and characterize the radiation hazards that could make such ventures risky, concludes a new article.
Publ.Date : Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:50:14 EDT

Big black holes can block new stars
Massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, a study has found.
Publ.Date : Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:07:58 EDT

POLARBEAR detects B-modes in the cosmic microwave background: Mapping cosmic structure, finding neutrino masses
The POLARBEAR experiment has made the most sensitive and precise measurements yet of the polarization of the cosmic microwave background and found telling twists called B-modes in the patterns, signs that this cosmic backlight has been warped by intervening structures in the universe.
Publ.Date : Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:11:42 EDT

NASA Rover Opportunity views comet near Mars
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured images of a comet passing much closer to Mars than any previous known comet flyby of Earth or Mars. The images of comet Siding Spring were taken against a backdrop of the pre-dawn Martian sky on Sunday (Oct. 19).
Publ.Date : Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:35:40 EDT

Mars Orbiter image shows comet nucleus is small
The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured views of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring while that visitor sped past Mars on Sunday (Oct. 19), yielding information about its nucleus.
Publ.Date : Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:33:44 EDT