One of the great, unanswered questions for space weather scientists is just what creates two gigantic donuts of radiation surrounding Earth, called the Van Allen radiation belts. Recent data from the Van Allen Probes - two nearly identical spacecraft that launched in 2012 - address this question.
NASA has issued an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for proposals about science instruments that could be carried aboard a future mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. Selected instruments could address fundamental questions about the icy moon and the search for life beyond Earth.
Astronomers analyzing a long-lasting blast of high-energy light observed in 2013 report finding features strikingly similar to those expected from an explosion from the universe's earliest stars. If this interpretation is correct, the outburst validates ideas about a recently identified class of gamma-ray burst and serves as a stand-in for what future observatories may see as the last acts of the first stars.
Earlier this week, three planet hunters came together during a live Google Hangout to discuss the discovery boom, consider what state-of-the-art telescopes can - and can't - tell us about exoplanets, as well as ponder the likelihood of finding evidence of life on another planet.
Meet the seven new dwarf galaxies. Yale University astronomers, using a new type of telescope made by stitching together telephoto lenses, recently discovered seven celestial surprises while probing a nearby spiral galaxy. The previously unseen galaxies may yield important insights into dark matter and galaxy evolution, while possibly signaling the discovery of a new class of objects in space.
A new technique for measuring the age of a star using its spin - gyrochronology - is coming into its own. Today astronomers are presenting the gyrochronological ages of 22 sun-like stars. Before this, only two sun-like stars had measured spins and ages.
The European Science Foundation (ESF) has released a new report on 'technological breakthroughs for scientific progress'. While the sector is known to be a key driver of society-benefiting innovation, both ESF and the European Space Agency are banking on part of its future lying in non-space technologies.
As anybody who has started a campfire by rubbing sticks knows, friction generates heat. Now, computer modeling by NASA scientists shows that friction could be the key to survival for some distant Earth-sized planets traveling in dangerous orbits.
Understanding the sun from afar isn't easy. NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft - which orbits Mercury, and so is as close as 28 million miles from the sun versus Earth's 93 million miles - is near enough to the sun to detect solar neutrons that are created in solar flares.
For the first time, in response to the public's increased interest in being part of discoveries in astronomy, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is organizing a worldwide contest to give popular names to selected exoplanets along with their host stars.