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, 01 Oct 2014 06:40:25 EDT

U.S., India to collaborate on Mars exploration, Earth-observing mission
In a meeting Sept. 30, 2014 in Toronto, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), signed two documents to launch a NASA-ISRO satellite mission to observe Earth and establish a pathway for future joint missions to explore Mars.
Publ.Date : Tue, 30 Sep 2014 19:49:41 EDT

Rosetta to deploy lander on November 12
The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission will deploy its lander, Philae, to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Nov. 12. Philae's landing site, currently known as Site J, is located on the smaller of the comet's two "lobes," with a backup site on the larger lobe.
Publ.Date : Tue, 30 Sep 2014 19:47:02 EDT

NASA's Swift mission observes mega flares from nearby red dwarf star
On April 23, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a nearby red dwarf star. The initial blast from this record-setting series of explosions was as much as 10,000 times more powerful than the largest solar flare ever recorded.
Publ.Date : Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:15:48 EDT

Astronomers find 'cousin' planets around twin stars
Astronomers have found two new Jupiter-sized extra-solar planets, each orbiting one star of a binary-star system.  Most known extra-solar planets orbit stars that are alone, like our Sun. Yet many stars are part of binary systems, twin stars formed from the same gas cloud. Now, for the first time, two stars of a binary system are both found to host a "hot Jupiter'' exoplanet.
Publ.Date : Tue, 30 Sep 2014 09:04:39 EDT

Cassini watches mysterious feature evolve in hydrocarbon sea on Saturn's moon Titan
NASA's Cassini spacecraft is monitoring the evolution of a mysterious feature in a large hydrocarbon sea on Saturn's moon Titan. The feature covers an area of about 100 square miles (260 square kilometers) in Ligeia Mare, one of the largest seas on Titan. It has now been observed twice by Cassini's radar experiment, but its appearance changed between the two apparitions.
Publ.Date : Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:32:51 EDT

Simulations reveal an unusual death for ancient stars
Certain primordial stars -- between 55,000 and 56,000 times the mass of our sun, or solar masses -- may have died unusually. In death, these objects -- among the universe's first generation of stars -- would have exploded as supernovae and burned completely, leaving no remnant black hole behind.
Publ.Date : Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:05:59 EDT

New molecule found in space connotes life origins
Hunting from a distance of 27,000 light years, astronomers have discovered an unusual carbon-based molecule contained within a giant gas cloud in interstellar space. The discovery suggests that the complex molecules needed for life may have their origins in interstellar space.
Publ.Date : Fri, 26 Sep 2014 21:36:34 EDT

'Milky Way explorer' tours the solar system
Imagine seeing the Sun, planets, and a myriad other objects in our Solar System as you have never seen them before -- in invisible radio light! The National Radio Astronomy Observatory released a new Solar System installment of its Milky Way Explorer.
Publ.Date : Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:04:14 EDT

Turning the Moon into a cosmic ray detector
Scientists are to turn the Moon into a giant particle detector to help understand the origin of Ultra-High-Energy (UHE) cosmic rays -- the most energetic particles in the Universe. The origin of UHE cosmic rays is one of the great mysteries in astrophysics. Nobody knows where these extremely rare cosmic rays come from or how they get their enormous energies. Physicists detect them on Earth at a rate of less than one particle per square kilometer per century.
Publ.Date : Fri, 26 Sep 2014 08:58:24 EDT

Earth's water is older than the sun: Likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space
Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth's water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere. New work found that much of our solar system's water likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space.
Publ.Date : Thu, 25 Sep 2014 14:12:26 EDT

A galaxy of deception: Hubble snaps what looks like a young galaxy in the local Universe
Astronomers usually have to peer very far into the distance to see back in time, and view the Universe as it was when it was young. This new image of galaxy DDO 68, otherwise known as UGC 5340, was thought to offer an exception. This ragged collection of stars and gas clouds looks at first glance like a recently-formed galaxy in our own cosmic neighborhood. But, is it really as young as it looks?
Publ.Date : Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:21:44 EDT

Most metal-poor star hints at universe's first supernovae
In a new study, researchers point out that the elemental abundance of the most iron-poor star can be explained by elements ejected from supernova explosions of the universe's first stars. This reveals that massive stars, which are several tens of times more immense than the Sun, were present among the first stars.
Publ.Date : Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:50:22 EDT

Clear skies on exo-Neptune: Smallest exoplanet ever found to have water vapor
Astronomers have discovered clear skies and steamy water vapor on a planet outside our Solar System. The planet, known as HAT-P-11b, is about the size of Neptune, making it the smallest exoplanet ever on which water vapor has been detected.
Publ.Date : Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:50:20 EDT

India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft successfully inserted into orbit around Red Planet
India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft successfully entered into an orbit around the planet Mars this morning (Sept. 24, 2014) by firing its 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) along with eight smaller liquid engines. In the coming weeks, the spacecraft will be thoroughly tested in Mars orbit and the systematic observation of the planet using the spacecraft's five scientific instruments is expected to begin.
Publ.Date : Wed, 24 Sep 2014 10:25:20 EDT

'Univofutah': Asteroid named for University of Utah
What’s rocky, about a mile wide, orbits between Mars and Jupiter and poses no threat to Earth? An asteroid named “Univofutah” after the University of Utah. Discovered on Sept. 8, 2008, by a longtime Utah astronomy educator, the asteroid also known as 391795 (2008 RV77) this month was renamed Univofutah by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Publ.Date : Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:11:55 EDT

Infant solar system shows signs of windy weather
Astronomers have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around a T Tauri star, an infant analog of our own Sun. This may help explain why some T Tauri stars have disks that glow weirdly in infrared light while others shine in a more expected fashion.
Publ.Date : Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:29:12 EDT

NASA's Newest Mars Mission Spacecraft Enters Orbit around Red Planet
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft successfully entered Mars' orbit at 7:24 p.m. PDT (10:24 p.m. EDT) Sunday, Sept. 21, where it now will prepare to study the Red Planet's upper atmosphere as never done before. MAVEN is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars.
Publ.Date : Mon, 22 Sep 2014 11:11:11 EDT

Finding hints of gravitational waves in the stars
Scientists have shown how gravitational waves -- invisible ripples in the fabric of space and time that propagate through the universe -- might be 'seen' by looking at the stars. The new model proposes that a star that oscillates at the same frequency as a gravitational wave will absorb energy from that wave and brighten, an overlooked prediction of Einstein's 1916 theory of general relativity. The study contradicts previous assumptions about the behavior of gravitational waves.
Publ.Date : Mon, 22 Sep 2014 09:12:50 EDT

SpaceX Dragon spacecraft lifts off with scientific cargo for International Space Station
An eruption of fire and smoke sent a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft skyward laden with 5,000 pounds of scientific equipment and supplies destined for use by the crew of the International Space Station.
Publ.Date : Sun, 21 Sep 2014 11:11:11 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