Science and Space Policy

Government Shutdown Creates Financial Woes, Uncertainty for Astronomers

Among its many effects, the U.S. government shutdown has created a struggling postdoctoral program, delays in NASA missions, and problems for government scientists trying to continue their research.

Location of AT2018cow

Stellar Science

Celestial Event Dubbed "The Cow" Puzzles Astronomers

Astronomers can't agree on what kind of strange stellar death created a brilliant source dubbed "the Cow."

Solar System

Future Planetary Probes Can Learn from Cassini

An unusual water composition at Saturn’s moon Phoebe means that future spacecraft will have to be on the lookout for different water ratios than we are used to on Earth.

Image of Martian dust storm

Solar System

Dust Storm Electricity Might Forge Perchlorates on Mars

Electrostatic discharge in a simulated dusty Martian environment yields perchlorates — a potential energy source for microbial life — at abundances 1,000 times greater than sunlight alone.

Infrared mosaic of Titan

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Titan Dust Storms Pose Challenges for Future Spacecraft

Future missions to Saturn's moon Titan may have to contend with blowing particles and higher-than-expected winds from recently discovered dust storms.

contact binary star

Stellar Science

Typo Throws Off Timing for Expected Binary Star Merger

Revised data changed expectations for a star pair that was supposed to merge in 2022.

Arecibo Observatory radar system

Professional Telescopes

Arecibo Observatory Emerges from Storm with $6M Upgrade

The famed Arecibo Observatory has faced down several funding challenges in recent years, and a hurricane to boot, but now a new project is making the radio dish more relevant to astronomy than ever.

Is the dust clearing?

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Rover Call Home: NASA Listens for Opportunity's Wake-up

The Opportunity rover fell silent in June after nearly 15 years of work on the Red Planet. Now the dust storm that prevented its batteries from charging is clearing.

Eta Carinae

Stellar Science

Sibling Rivalry Caused Eta Carinae's Historic Explosion

Faint echoes of light illuminate what really happened during the Great Eruption of the super-star Eta Carinae.

Galaxies

Andromeda Collided with Galactic Sibling Billions of Years Ago

A new study says our neighbor galaxy’s big stellar halo and stellar evolution are due to a major collision that ended 2 billion years ago.

artist's concept of Cassini at Enceladus

Astrobiology

Organics Inside Enceladus: Complex Enough for Life?

Scientists aren't comfortable yet saying that organics on Saturn's icy moon arose from life, but they have an idea of what to look for next.

Black Holes

Scientists See Strong Evidence of Rare Middle-weight Black Hole

New observations give more fuel to the concept of intermediate-mass black holes.

Pulsar-white dwarf binary

Cosmology

Pulsar Limits “Fifth Force” Interactions with Dark Matter

A recent experiment to better understand the nature of dark matter constrains a possible "fifth force" of nature to almost zero.

Neutron star collision

Stellar Science

Gravitational Waves Shed Light on Neutron Star Interiors

The gravitational-wave detection last year of a neutron star merger has revealed details on neutron star structure, ruling out exotic quark matter in the objects’ cores.

WASP-107b

Exoplanets

Scientists Spot Helium Escaping Giant Planet's Atmosphere

Hubble observations reveal a Jupiter-size exoplanet losing its atmosphere in a system 200 light-years away.

TESS launch

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Successful Launch for NASA’s TESS Exoplanet Mission

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched successfully on April 18th at 6:51 p.m. EDT aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to survey the entire sky for new worlds.

Gamma-ray emitting supernova remnants

Stellar Science

Gamma-ray Supernova Remnants Shed Light on Cosmic Rays

Astronomers have found the gamma-ray-emitting remains of three exploded stars, and the remnants might reveal the origin of cosmic rays.

Magellanic Clouds

Stellar Science

Supergiant Star Caught Fleeing In Another Galaxy

The discovery of a runaway star in the Small Magellanic Cloud suggests that runaway stars are a common phenomenon in the universe.

Solar System

Hubble: Weather Watcher of the Outer Solar System

Hubble's powerful eye scouts the outer planets once an Earth year, shedding light on planetary weather, like Jupiter's Great Red Spot and Neptune's Great Dark Spot.

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