NASA Science News for Dec. 19, 2014
NASA and an international team of planetary scientists have found evidence in meteorites on Earth that indicates Mars has a distinct and global reservoir of water or ice near its surface.
NASA Science News for Dec. 16, 2014
NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill.
NASA Science News for Dec. 14, 2014
A popular theory holds that ocean water was brought to Earth by the ancient impacts of comets and asteroids. However, new data from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft indicate that terrestrial water did not come from comets like 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
NASA Science News for Dec. 7, 2014
After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles —the farthest any space mission has ever traveled to reach its primary target – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation on Dec. 6th for its long-awaited 2015 encounter with the Pluto system.
Look to the skies in 2015 to see total eclipses, amazing planets and meteor showers.
Here are some of the most noteworthy skywatching events coming next year. SPACE.com will provide more extensive coverage of most of these events as they draw closer.
Some like it hot, but for creating new stars, a cool cosmic environment is ideal. As a new study suggests, a surge of warm gas into a nearby galaxy -- left over from the devouring of a separate galaxy -- has extinguished star formation by agitating the available chilled gas.
The unique findings illustrate a new dimension to galaxy evolution, and come courtesy of the European Space Agency's Herschel space observatory, in which NASA played a key role, and NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes.
Astronomers want to understand why galaxies in the local universe fall into two major categories: younger, star-forming spirals (like our own Milky Way), and older ellipticals, in which fresh star making has ceased. The new study's galaxy, NGC 3226, occupies a transitional middle ground, so getting a bead on its star formation is critical.
The Dawn spacecraft has delivered a glimpse of Ceres, the largest body in the main asteroid belt, in a new image taken 740,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from the dwarf planet. This is Dawn's best image yet of Ceres as the spacecraft makes its way toward this unexplored world.
Dawn will be captured into Ceres' orbit in March, marking the first visit to a dwarf planet by a spacecraft. To date, the best images of Ceres come from the Hubble Space Telescope. In early 2015, however, Dawn will begin delivering images at much higher resolution.
Go treasure hunting for carbon stars, the rubies of the night sky.
Color can be tough to come by in the deep sky, especially if you own a small telescope. Planets serve up a medley of subtle hues, as do a few planetary and bright nebulae. Stars show tints of blue, yellow, and orange, but there's nothing quite like the color red. Show a yellow star to someone at a star party and you might hear a polite "that's nice."
But point the scope at a smoldering ruby like T Lyrae? Watch their faces light up. We react with instinctive pleasure at seeing radiant reds, and there's no better place to get our fill than carbon stars.