The Universe is an old neighbourhood - roughly 13.8 billion years old. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is also ancient- some of its stars are more than 13 billion years old. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of action: new objects form and others are destroyed.
Stars ten times as massive as the Sun, or more, should not exist: as they grow, they tend to push away the gas they feed on, starving their own growth. Scientists have been struggling to figure out how some stars overcome this hurdle.
When the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission begins its journey to the Red Planet in 2013, it will carry a sensitive magnetic-field instrument built and tested by a team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Supernovae were always thought to occur in two main varieties. But a team of astronomers including Carnegie's Wendy Freedman, Mark Phillips and Eric Persson is reporting the discovery of a new type of supernova called Type Iax.
NASA intentionally crashed the GRAIL twins onto the Moon on Dec. 17, 2012, following successful prime and extended science missions. Both spacecraft hit a mountain near the lunar north pole, which was shrouded in shadow at the time. Developed by Southwest Research Institute, LAMP uses a novel method to peer into the darkness of the Moon's permanently shadowed regions, making it ideal for observations of the Moon's night-side and its tenuous atmospheric constituents.
A little more than a year ago a research team started to develop a vital part of a Finnish invention - an electric solar wind sail for interplanetary journeys. Now, a prototype has been successfully manufactured and tested.
University of Colorado Boulder astronomers targeting one of the brightest quasars glowing in the universe some 11 billion years ago say "sideline quasars" likely teamed up with it to heat abundant helium gas billions of years ago, preventing small galaxy formation.
About 35 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Eridanus (The River), lies the spiral galaxy NGC 1637. Back in 1999 the serene appearance of this galaxy was shattered by the appearance of a very bright supernova. Astronomers studying the aftermath of this explosion with ESO's Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile have provided us with a stunning view of this relatively nearby galaxy.
The first truly global telescope came a significant step closer to completion this month with the installation and first light on three new 1-meter telescopes at the South Africa Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) near Sutherland, South Africa.
The original Philae comet lander has been travelling through space since 2 March 2004. It is currently in hibernation mode, awaiting its arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. But the Philae models on the ground are being put through their paces: they are being tested to breaking point and examined by the German Aerospace Center.