Europa, the ice-covered moon of the planet Jupiter, may be able to support life. NASA has commissioned a team of expert scientists to consider the science goals for a landed spacecraft mission to the surface of Europa, and to investigate the composition and geology of its icy shell and the potential for life within its interior ocean.
Quasars are active black holes -- primarily from the early universe. Using a special method where you observe light that has been bent by gravity on its way through the universe, a group of physics students from the Niels Bohr Institute have observed a quasar whose light has been deflected and reflected in six separate images. This is the first time a quasar has been observed with so many light reflections.
A new analysis of cosmic microwave background radiation data by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has taken the furthest look back through time yet - 100 years to 300,000 years after the Big Bang - and provided tantalizing new hints of clues as to what might have happened.
ESO's Very Large Telescope has captured an intriguing star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud - one of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies. This sharp image reveals two distinctive glowing clouds of gas: Red-hued NGC 2014, and its blue neighbour NGC 2020. While they are very different, they were both sculpted by powerful stellar winds from extremely hot newborn stars that also radiate into the gas, causing it to glow brightly.
More than 12 billion years ago a star exploded, glowing so brightly that it outshone its entire galaxy by a million times. This brilliant flash traveled across space for 12.7 billion years to a planet that hadn't even existed at the time of the explosion -- our Earth. By analyzing this light, astronomers learned about a galaxy that was otherwise too small, faint and far away for even the Hubble Space Telescope to see.
Researchers at NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory in Big Bear, Calif., have obtained new and remarkably detailed photos of the sun with the New Solar Telescope. The photographs reveal never-before-seen details of solar magnetism revealed in photospheric and chromospheric features.
Using infrared data from the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, an international team of astronomers has imaged a giant planet around the bright star GJ 504. Several times the mass of Jupiter and similar in size, the new world, dubbed GJ 504b, is the lowest-mass planet ever detected around a star like the sun using direct imaging techniques.
Three new solar modeling developments at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) are bringing scientists closer to being able to predict the occurrence and timing of coronal mass ejections from the sun.
Probing the location of a recent short-duration gamma-ray burst in near-infrared light, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope found the fading fireball produced in the aftermath of the blast. The afterglow reveals for the first time a new kind of stellar blast called a kilonova.
With the signing last week of a 'master agreement' for the Thirty Meter Telescope - destined to be the most advanced and powerful optical telescope in the world - the University of California and UCLA moved a step closer to peering deeper into the cosmos than ever before.
Astronomers have discovered a graveyard of comets. The researchers describe how some of these objects, inactive for millions of years, have returned to life leading them to name the group the 'Lazarus comets'.
On average, galaxies that no longer form stars are larger today than they were several billion years ago. However, this has nothing to do with individual galaxies merging with others, as was long thought to be the case, concludes ETH-Zurich professor Marcella Carollo after evaluating data from the Hubble Space Telescope.
A NASA technologist has developed a fully automated tool that gives mission planners a preliminary set of detailed directions for efficiently steering a spacecraft to hard-to-reach interplanetary destinations, such as Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, and most comets and asteroids.