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 : Mon, 22 Sep 2014 04:40:21 EDT

An anomaly in satellites' flybys confounds scientists
When space probes, such as Rosetta and Cassini, fly over certain planets and moons, in order to gain momentum and travel long distances, their speed changes slightly for an unknown reason. A researcher has now analyzed whether or not a hypothetical gravitomagnetic field could have an influence. However, other factors such as solar radiation, tides, or even relativistic effects or dark matter could be behind this mystery.
Publ.Date : Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:05:26 EDT

Latest measurements from the AMS experiment unveil new territories in the flux of cosmic rays
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer collaboration has just presented its latest results. These are based on the analysis of 41 billion particles detected with the space-based AMS detector aboard the International Space Station. The results provide new insights into the nature of the mysterious excess of positrons observed in the flux of cosmic rays.
Publ.Date : Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:38:57 EDT

Monster galaxies gain weight by eating smaller neighbors
Massive galaxies in the universe have stopped making their own stars and are instead snacking on nearby galaxies. Astronomers looked at more than 22,000 galaxies and found that while smaller galaxies are very efficient at creating stars from gas, the most massive galaxies are much less efficient at star formation, producing hardly any new stars themselves, and instead grow by 'eating' other galaxies.
Publ.Date : Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:38:47 EDT

NASA Ames to launch science experiments to space station on SpaceX rocket
NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, will launch four life science experiments to the International Space Station aboard NASA's next commercial cargo resupply flight of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The research missions include a microbiology study of yeast, a fruit fly study designed and built by students, a plant biology investigation and the maiden voyage of NASA's new rodent research system.
Publ.Date : Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:28:45 EDT

Everything in moderation: Micro-8 to study regulating pathogens in space
Candida albicans, an opportunistic yeast pathogen and model organism for research, is common and usually doesn't damage our healthy personal ecosystem. However, when our immune system is stressed on Earth or in space, such as during long-duration space travel, C. albicans can grow out of control and potentially cause infections. Scientists want to address controlling these outbreaks with the next round of cellular growth experiments on the International Space Station -- Micro-8.
Publ.Date : Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:26:02 EDT

Dawn spacecraft operating normally after safe mode triggered
The Dawn spacecraft has resumed normal ion thrusting after the thrusting unexpectedly stopped and the spacecraft entered safe mode on September 11. That anomaly occurred shortly before a planned communication with NASA's Deep Space Network that morning. The spacecraft was not performing any special activities at the time.
Publ.Date : Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:24:12 EDT

NASA Mars spacecraft ready for Sept. 21 orbit insertion
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is nearing its scheduled Sept. 21 insertion into Martian orbit after completing a 10-month interplanetary journey of 442 million miles (711 million kilometers).
Publ.Date : Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:22:34 EDT

Pulse of a dead star powers intense gamma rays
NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, is helping to untangle the mystery of what powers high-energy gamma rays emanating from supernova. The observatory's high-energy X-ray eyes were able to peer into a particular site of powerful gamma rays and confirm the source: A spinning, dead star called a pulsar.
Publ.Date : Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:08:48 EDT

NASA's wind-watching ISS-RapidScat ready for launch
The fourth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract, carrying the ISS-RapidScat scatterometer instrument designed and built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is scheduled to launch Saturday, Sept. 20, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The one-day adjustment in the launch date was made to accommodate preparations of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and was coordinated with the station's partners and managers.
Publ.Date : Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:04:05 EDT

Comet landing mission: 'J' marks the spot for Rosetta's lander
The European Space Agency's Rosetta's lander, Philae, will target Site J, an intriguing region on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that offers unique scientific potential, with hints of activity nearby, and minimum risk to the lander compared to the other candidate sites. The 220-pound (100-kilogram) lander is scheduled to reach the surface on November 11, where it will perform in-depth measurements to characterize the nucleus. Rosetta is an international mission spearheaded by the European Space Agency with support and instruments provided by NASA.
Publ.Date : Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:00:49 EDT

NASA releases IRIS footage of X-class flare
On Sept. 10, 2014, NASA's newest solar observatory, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, joined other telescopes to witness an X-class flare -- an example of one of the strongest solar flares -- on the sun.
Publ.Date : Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:32:41 EDT

Space: The final frontier ... open to the public
Historically, spaceflight has been reserved for the very healthy. Astronauts are selected for their ability to meet the highest physical standards to prepare them for any unknown challenges. However, with the advent of commercial spaceflight, average people can now fly. The aerospace medicine community has had little information about what medical conditions should be considered particularly risky in the spaceflight environment, as most medical conditions have never been studied for risk in space -- until now.
Publ.Date : Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:32:39 EDT

Smallest known galaxy with a supermassive black hole
Astronomers have discovered that an ultracompact dwarf galaxy harbors a supermassive black hole – the smallest galaxy known to contain such a massive light-sucking object. The finding suggests huge black holes may be more common than previously believed.
Publ.Date : Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:16:25 EDT

NASA chooses American companies to transport U.S. astronauts to International Space Station
U.S. astronauts once again will travel to and from the International Space Station from the United States on American spacecraft under groundbreaking contracts NASA announced Tuesday. The agency unveiled its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, with a goal of ending the nation's sole reliance on Russia in 2017.
Publ.Date : Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:46:48 EDT

Violent origins of disc galaxies: Why Milky Way-like galaxies are so common in the universe
For decades scientists have believed that galaxy mergers usually result in the formation of elliptical galaxies. Now, for the the first time, researchers have found direct evidence that merging galaxies can instead form disc galaxies, and that this outcome is in fact quite common. This surprising result could explain why there are so many spiral galaxies like the Milky Way in the Universe.
Publ.Date : Wed, 17 Sep 2014 07:31:14 EDT

219 million stars: Astronomers release most detailed catalog ever made of the visible Milky Way
A new catalog of the visible part of the northern part of our home Galaxy, the Milky Way, includes no fewer than 219 million stars. From dark sky sites on Earth, the Milky Way appears as a glowing band stretching across the sky. To astronomers, it is the disk of our own galaxy, a system stretching across 100,000 light-years, seen edge-on from our vantage point orbiting the Sun. The disk contains the majority of the stars in the galaxy, including the Sun, and the densest concentrations of dust and gas.
Publ.Date : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 08:48:19 EDT

Clues to how giant elliptical galaxies move
New clues to how giant elliptical galaxies move have been discovered by an international team of astronomers. Elliptical galaxies have long been considered as essentially being made up of old stars that move randomly within them, like a swarm of bees. This has been challenged in many instances in the past ten-twenty years, but giant elliptical galaxies are still considered as a nearly round and non-rotating group of old stars by astronomers.
Publ.Date : Fri, 12 Sep 2014 08:53:14 EDT

NASA identifying candidate asteroids for redirect mission
NASA is on the hunt to add potential candidate target asteroids for the agency's Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). The robotic mission will identify, capture and redirect a near-Earth asteroid to a stable orbit around the moon. In the 2020s, astronauts will explore the asteroid and return to Earth with samples. This will test and advance new technologies and spaceflight experience needed to take humans to Mars in the 2030s.
Publ.Date : Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:53:09 EDT

First map of Rosetta's comet
Scientists have found that the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko -- the target of study for the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission -- can be divided into several regions, each characterized by different classes of features. High-resolution images of the comet reveal a unique, multifaceted world.
Publ.Date : Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:27:41 EDT

Unraveling mysteries of the Venusian atmosphere
Underscoring the vast differences between Earth and its neighbor Venus, new research shows a glimpse of giant holes in the electrically charged layer of the Venusian atmosphere, called the ionosphere. The observations point to a more complicated magnetic environment than previously thought -- which in turn helps us better understand this neighboring, rocky planet.
Publ.Date : Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:07:54 EDT