New data from MESSENGER, the spacecraft that orbited Mercury for four years before crashing into the planet a week ago, reveals Mercury's magnetic field is almost four billion years old. The discovery helps scientists piece together the history of Mercury, the closest planet to the sun and one about which we knew very little before MESSENGER.
Scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that the immense halo of gas enveloping the Andromeda galaxy, our nearest massive galactic neighbor, is about six times larger and 1,000 times more massive than previously measured. The dark, nearly invisible halo stretches about a million light-years from its host galaxy, halfway to our own Milky Way galaxy.
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have discovered what may be the first known example of a globular cluster about to be born: an incredibly massive, extremely dense, yet star-free cloud of molecular gas.
Researchers have developed a very sensitive high frequency amplifier for radio telescopes used on Earth. The amplifier generates extremely little internal electromagnetic noise and will help measure our planet from space more precisely than ever before.
A recent and famous image from deep space marks the first time we've seen a forming planetary system. A team of astrophysicists found that circular gaps in a disk of dust and gas swirling around the young star HL Tau are in fact made by forming planets.
Astronomers have detected wildly changing temperatures on a super Earth - the first time any atmospheric variability has been observed on a rocky planet outside the solar system - and believe it could be due to huge amounts of volcanic activity, further adding to the mystery of what had been nicknamed the 'diamond planet'.
A team of highly determined high school students discovered a never-before-seen pulsar by painstakingly analyzing data from the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT). Further observations by astronomers using the GBT revealed that this pulsar has the widest orbit of any around a neutron star and is part of only a handful of double neutron star systems.
The NameExoWorlds contest, organised by the IAU and Zooniverse, is now entering its next stage. The 20 most popular ExoWorlds have been made available for naming proposals from registered clubs and non-profit organisations.
Groundbreaking images of the Sun captured by scientists at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) give a first-ever detailed view of the interior structure of umbrae - the dark patches in the center of sunspots - revealing dynamic magnetic fields responsible for the plumes of plasma that emerge as bright dots interrupting their darkness.
The famous sunspots on the surface of the Earth's star result from the dynamics of strong magnetic fields, and their numbers are an important indicator of the state of activity on the Sun. Researchers have been conducting multifractal analysis into the changes in the numbers of sunspots. The resulting graphs were surprisingly asymmetrical in shape, suggesting that sunspots may be involved in hitherto unknown physical processes.
A team of astronomers using ground-based telescopes in Hawaii, California, and Arizona recently discovered a planetary system orbiting a nearby star that is only 54 light-years away. All three planets orbit their star at a distance closer than Mercury orbits the sun, completing their orbits in just 5, 15, and 24 days.
It was unprecedented developing a mission that could fly four identically equipped spacecraft in a tight formation and take measurements 100 times faster than any previous space mission - an achievement enabled in part by four NASA-developed technologies that in some cases took nearly 10 years to mature.