Costing a fraction of conventional space telescopes and similar in size and weight to a car battery, the satellites are two of six that will work together to shed light on the structures and life stories of some of the brightest stars in the sky, uncovering unique clues as to the origins of our own Sun and Earth.
On June 5th, 2014, the ISS passed over the Table Mountain Observatory in Wrightwood, California, and beamed an HD video to researchers waiting below. Unlike normal data transmissions, which are encoded in radio waves, this one came to Earth on a beam of light.
New research indicates that ultraviolet photons emitted by the sun likely cause H2O molecules on the lunar surface to either quickly desorb or break apart. The fragments of water may remain on the lunar surface, but the presence of useful amounts of water on the sunward side is not likely.
If the icy surface of Pluto's giant moon Charon is cracked, analysis of the fractures could reveal if its interior was warm, perhaps warm enough to have maintained a subterranean ocean of liquid water, according to a new study.
The world of astronomy has changed. An astronomer used to have to travel to a remote location and endure long, cold nights, patiently guiding a telescope to collect precious photons of light. Now, a proliferation of online archives allows astronomers to make discoveries from the comfort of their own offices. By mining such archives, a team of astronomers has found a treasure trove of 'red nugget' galaxies.
Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a team of researchers reports the first-ever detection of molecular gas in two galaxies that were previously rocked by gamma ray bursts (GRBs), the brightest explosions in the Universe. These new observations revealed that the molecular gas was concentrated toward the centers of the galaxies, while the GRBs occurred in unusual environments that were surprisingly bereft of gas yet rich in dust.
Space is not empty. A wind of charged particles blows outwards from the Sun, carrying a magnetic field with it. Sometimes this solar wind can break through the Earth's magnetic field. Researchers now have an answer to one of the questions about how this actually occurs.
Dwarf galaxies that orbit the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxies defy the accepted model of galaxy formation, and recent attempts to wedge them into the model are flawed, reports an international team of astrophysicists. A new study pokes holes in the current understanding of galaxy formation and questions the accepted model of the origin and evolution of the universe.
After 18 months of research and deliberation, the Committee on Human Spaceflight - a diverse national group of scientists and professionals convened by Congressional request - issued a 285-page report June 4 on whether Earth-bound humans should continue exploring space.
The European SPHERE instrument has been successfully installed on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) and has achieved first light. This powerful new facility can directly image gas-giant exoplanets and dust discs orbiting nearby stars (up to 300 light years away) with unparalleled precision and contrast.