Popular Science articles about Astronomy & Space

This image of the Stingray nebula, a planetary nebula 2400 light-years from Earth, was taken with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) in 1998. In the centre of the nebula the fast evolving star SAO 244567 is located. Observations made within the last 45 years showed that the surface temperature of the star increased by almost 40 000 degree Celsius. Now new observations of the spectra of the star have revealed that SAO 244567 has started to cool again.

Explaining why the universe can be transparent

Reionization as illustrated by data from the Hubble and Chandra space telescopes.Two papers published by an assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside and several collaborators explain why the universe has enough energy to become transparent.

NASA sees Tropical Depression Rai over Thailand, Vietnam, Laos

On Sept. 13 at 2:50 a.m. EDT NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over Tropical Depression Rai and measured very coid cloud-top temperatures (red and yellow) indicating powerful thunderstorms with the potential for heavy rain.After Tropical Depression 19W moved ashore in central Vietnam NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over the system and found some powerful thunderstorms over Thailand, Vietnam and Laos capable of dropping...

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Reconciling dwarf galaxies with dark matter

Andrew Wetzel's simulation shows stars in the Milky Way-like galaxy on the left and the same region's dark matter on the right. Image is provided courtesy of Andrew Wetzel.Dwarf galaxies are enigmas wrapped in riddles. Although they are the smallest galaxies, they represent some of the biggest mysteries about our universe. While many dwarf galaxies surround our own...

NASA sees 2 landfalls for Hurricane Newton in Mexico

On Sept. 6 at 2:25 p.m. EDT (18:25 UTC) NASA's Terra satellite captured this visible image of Hurricane Newton over the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico.NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites caught Hurricane Newton's two landfalls in Mexico.

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NASA sees Hermine's twin towers

GPM's DPR instrument saw strong storms near the center of Tropical Depression Hermine on the evening of Aug. 31. Two "hot towers" are seen to the right of the low pressure center (south and east of the center), which are labeled "T1" and "T2." The "L" indicates center of Hermine and the red color shows a 20-dBZ radar reflectivity up to 14 km high.In order for Hermine or any other tropical depression, to intensify there must be a pathway for heat energy from the ocean surface to enter the atmosphere. For Hermine,...

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Images from Sun's edge reveal origins of solar wind

This is a conceptual animation (not to scale) showing the Sun's corona and solar wind.Ever since the 1950s discovery of the solar wind - the constant flow of charged particles from the sun - there's been a stark disconnect between this outpouring and the...

Discovery one-ups Tatooine, finds twin stars hosting three giant exoplanets

This is an illustration of this highly unusual system, which features the smallest-separation binary stars that both host planets ever discovered. Only six other metal-poor binary star systems with exoplanets have ever been found.A team of Carnegie scientists has discovered three giant planets in a binary star system composed of stellar ''twins'' that are also effectively siblings of our Sun. One star hosts...

Milky Way had a blowout bash 6 million years ago

This artist's impression shows the Milky Way as it may have appeared 6 million years ago during a "quasar" phase of activity. A wispy orange bubble extends from the galactic center out to a radius of about 20,000 light-years. Outside of that bubble, a pervasive "fog" of million-degree gas might account for the galaxy's missing matter of 130 billion solar masses.The center of the Milky Way galaxy is currently a quiet place where a supermassive black hole slumbers, only occasionally slurping small sips of hydrogen gas. But it wasn't always...

Planet found in habitable zone around nearest star

This artist's impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The double star Alpha Centauri AB also appears in the image to the upper-right of Proxima itself. Proxima b is a little more massive than the Earth and orbits in the habitable zone around Proxima Centauri, where the temperature is suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface.Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its...

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Can 1 cosmic enigma help solve another?

Astrophysicists from the Johns Hopkins University have proposed a clever new way of shedding light on the mystery of dark matter, believed to make up most of the universe.

NASA's Aqua satellite sees Super Typhoon Meranti approaching Taiwan, Philippines

On Sept. 13, 2016, at 1:10 a.m. EDT (0510 UTC), the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite showed powerful and large Super Typhoon Meranti headed to Taiwan.NASA's Aqua satellite provided a visible image of Super Typhoon Meranti as it continued to move toward Taiwan and the northern Philippines.

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NASA's THEMIS sees Auroras move to the rhythm of Earth's magnetic field

These aurora images were taken in 2013 from the ground looking up with a network of all-sky cameras spread across Canada, studying auroras in collaboration with THEMIS. Taking images of aurora from the ground in conjunction with satellite data taken from above the atmosphere gives scientists a more comprehensive picture of how and why auroras form.The majestic auroras have captivated humans for thousands of years, but their nature -- the fact that the lights are electromagnetic and respond to solar activity -- was only realized...

Discovery nearly doubles known quasars from the ancient universe

This is an artist's rendering of a very distant quasar courtesy of ESO/M. Kornmesser.Quasars are supermassive black holes that sit at the center of enormous galaxies, accreting matter. They shine so brightly that they are often referred to as beacons and are among...

Astronomers discover rare fossil relic of early Milky Way

Peering through the thick dust clouds of the galactic bulge an international team of astronomers has revealed the unusual mix of stars in the stellar cluster known as Terzan 5. The new results indicate that Terzan 5 is in fact one of the bulge's primordial building blocks, most likely the relic of the very early days of the Milky Way.
This picture is from the Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD), a prototype adaptive optics system used to demonstrate the feasibility of different techniques in the framework of the E-ELT and the second generation VLT Instruments. The star colors are from the Hubble image of the same star field.Terzan 5, 19 000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Sagittarius (the Archer) and in the direction of the galactic centre, has been classified as a globular cluster for...

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NASA science flights study effect of summer melt on Greenland ice sheet

The image above, taken during a high-priority flight that IceBridge carried on Aug. 29, shows Helheim Glacier, with its characteristic wishbone-shaped channels, as seen from about 20,000 feet in the sky. Helheim is one of Greenland's largest and fastest-melting glaciers.Operation IceBridge, NASA's airborne survey of polar ice, is flying in Greenland for the second time this year, to observe the impact of the summer melt season on the ice...

The supernova that wasn't: A tale of 3 cosmic eruptions

Best known for an enormous eruption in the 1840s that created the billowing, hourglass-shaped Homunculus nebula imaged here by the Hubble Space Telescope, Eta Carinae is the most massive and luminous star system within 10,000 light-years.1800s, astronomers surveying the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere noticed something strange: Over the course of a few years, a previously inconspicuous star named Eta Carinae grew brighter and...

Ceres: The tiny world where volcanoes erupt ice

Volcanic dome Ahuna Mons rises above a foreground impact crater, as seen by NASA's Dawn spacecraft with no vertical exaggeration. Eruptions of salty, muddy water built the mountain by repeated eruptions, flows, and freezing. Streaks from falls of rocks and debris run down its flanks, while overhead views show fracturing across its summit.Ahuna Mons is a volcano that rises 13,000 feet high and spreads 11 miles wide at its base. This would be impressive for a volcano on Earth. But Ahuna Mons...

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Anomalous grooves on Martian moon Phobos explained by impacts

In this spacecraft image of Phobos, red arrows indicate a chain of small craters whose origin researchers were able to trace back to a primary impact at the large crater known as Grildrig.Some of the mysterious grooves on the surface of Mars' moon Phobos are the result of debris ejected by impacts eventually falling back onto the surface to form linear chains...

Planet Nine could spell doom for solar system

Artist's impression showing Planet Nine causing other planets in the solar system to be hurled into interstellar space.The solar system could be thrown into disaster when the sun dies if the mysterious 'Planet Nine' exists, according to research from the University of Warwick.

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ALMA finds unexpected trove of gas around larger stars

Artist impression of a debris disk surrounding a star in the Scorpius-Centaurus Association. ALMA discovered that -- contrary to expectations -- the more massive stars in this region retain considerable stores of carbon monoxide gas. This finding could offer new insights into the timeline for giant planet formation around young stars.Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) surveyed dozens of young stars -- some Sun-like and others approximately double that size -- and discovered that the larger variety have...

Cosmic neighbors inhibit star formation, even in the early-universe

Color images of the central regions of z > 1.35 SpARCS clusters. Cluster members are marked with white squares.The international University of California, Riverside-led SpARCS collaboration has discovered four of the most distant clusters of galaxies ever found, as they appeared when the universe was only 4...

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