Once every 30 years or so, or roughly one Saturnian year, a monster storm rips across the northern hemisphere of the ringed planet. In 2010, the most recent and only the sixth giant storm on Saturn observed by humans began stirring. It quickly grew to superstorm proportions, reaching 15,000 kilometers (more than 9,300 miles) in width and visible to amateur astronomers on Earth as a great white spot dancing across the surface of the planet.
One year after their launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Aug. 30, 2012, NASA's twin Van Allen Probes have already fundamentally changed how we understand the Van Allen radiation belts above our planet.
Potential asteroid impact on Earth can have disastrous consequences. In order to prevent such collisions, earthbound space objects must be deflected. This can be accomplished using a space probe to impact the asteroid.
New electrospray thrusters for nanosatellites face some design challenges. To get around the problem, King and his team have developed an elegant strategy: eliminate the expensive and tedious microfabrication required to make the needles by letting Mother Nature take care of the assembly.
The origin of cosmic rays in the universe has confounded scientists for decades. But a study by researchers using data from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole reveals new information that may help unravel the longstanding mystery of exactly how and where they are produced.
The proposals selected for Phase 2 of the 2013 NIAC Program address a range of visionary concepts including photonic laser thrusters, extreme sample return, and innovative spherical robots designed for planetary exploration.
Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have taken a major step in explaining why material around the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy is extraordinarily faint in X-rays. This discovery holds important implications for understanding black holes.
The light-year-long knot of interstellar gas and dust, seen in this Hubble photo, resembles a caterpillar on its way to a feast. Harsh winds from extremely bright stars are blasting ultraviolet radiation at this 'wanna-be' star and sculpting the gas and dust into its long shape.
Physicists have reproduced a pattern resembling the cosmic microwave background radiation in a laboratory simulation of the Big Bang, using ultracold cesium atoms in a vacuum chamber at the University of Chicago.
China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe is scheduled to be launched at the end of this year for a moon landing mission, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence announced on Wednesday.
The combined computing power of 200,000 private PCs helps astronomers take an inventory of the Milky Way. The Einstein@Home project connects home and office PCs of volunteers from around the world to a global supercomputer. Using this computer cloud, an international team analysed archival data from the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope in Australia. Using new search methods, the global computer network discovered 24 pulsars.
Using an instrument on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, called the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager, or HMI, scientists have overturned previous notions of how the sun's writhing insides move from equator to pole and back again, a key part of understanding how the dynamo works. Modeling this system also lies at the heart of improving predictions of the intensity of the next solar cycle.
MOND, a modified law of gravity, correctly predicted in advance of observations the velocity dispersion - the average speed of stars within a galaxy relative to each other - in 10 dwarf satellite galaxies of the Milky Way's giant neighbor Andromeda. MOND also detected subtle differences in gravity fields that dark matter theory says should be uniform.
A team led by astronomers in Brazil has used ESO's Very Large Telescope to study the oldest solar twin known to date. Located 250 light-years away, the star HIP 102152 is more like the Sun than any other solar twin - except that it is nearly four billion years older. This older twin may be host to rocky planets and gives us an unprecedented chance to see how the Sun will look when it ages.