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Rocker experiment will observe spiral galaxy near big dipper's handle

In the pre-dawn hours of Nov. 10, astrophysicist Timothy Cook and his research team will be at the Army?s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, ready to launch a NASA-funded science experiment, called IMAGER, which has been five years in the making. They will use a Black Brant IX, an 18-foot-long two-stage sounding rocket capable of carrying up to 1,200 pounds of payload into suborbital flight.

Posted: Oct 25th, 2012

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Cosmic filaments make up half the mass of the universe

An international team of astronomers has carried out the first three-dimensional study of a cosmic filament of dark matter. Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the team discovered that the filament, which is part of the Cosmic Web, is fuelling one of the most massive galaxy clusters in the universe, and has a length of over 60 million light years.

Posted: Oct 18th, 2012

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Jupiter: Turmoil from below, battering from above

Jupiter, the mythical god of sky and thunder, would certainly be pleased at all the changes afoot at his namesake planet. As the planet gets peppered continually with small space rocks, wide belts of the atmosphere are changing color, hotspots are vanishing and reappearing, and clouds are gathering over one part of Jupiter, while dissipating over another.

Posted: Oct 17th, 2012

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What's baking on Titan?

Radar images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal some new curiosities on the surface of Saturn's mysterious moon Titan, including a nearly circular feature that resembles a giant hot cross bun and shorelines of ancient seas.

Posted: Oct 16th, 2012

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Dark energy camera to probe universe?s biggest mysteries

Eight billion years ago, rays of light from distant galaxies began their long journey to Earth. On Sept. 12, that ancient starlight found its way to a mountaintop in Chile, where the newly-constructed Dark Energy Camera - the most powerful sky-mapping machine ever created - captured and recorded it for the first time.

Posted: Sep 20th, 2012

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Space-age food served up with seeds of success

An eggplant the size of a basketball, and a cucumber half a meter long seem, at first glance, out of this world. They are, literally. Chinese scientists have created more than 120 varieties of plants by sending seeds into space over the past 25 years.

Posted: Sep 3rd, 2012

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Sweet building blocks of life found around young star

Life is made up of a series of complex organic molecules, including sugars. A team of astronomers led by researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute, have now observed a simple sugar molecule in the gas surrounding a young star and this discovery proves that the building blocks of life were already present during planet formation.

Posted: Aug 29th, 2012

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Space-warping white dwarfs produce gravitational waves

Gravitational waves, much like the recently discovered Higgs boson, are notoriously difficult to observe. Scientists first detected these ripples in the fabric of space-time indirectly, using radio signals from a pulsar-neutron star binary system. The find, which required exquisitely accurate timing of the radio signals, garnered its discoverers a Nobel Prize. Now a team of astronomers has detected the same effect at optical wavelengths, in light from a pair of eclipsing white dwarf stars.

Posted: Aug 28th, 2012

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The Milky Way now has a twin (or two)

Research presented today at the International Astronomical Union General Assembly in Beijing has found the first group of galaxies that is just like ours, a rare sight in the local Universe.

Posted: Aug 23rd, 2012

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