Palomar 12 was not born here. The stars of the globular cluster, first identified in the Palomar Sky Survey, are younger than those in other globular star clusters that roam the halo of our Milky Way Galaxy. Palomar 12's position in our galaxy and measured motion suggest its home was once the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy, a small satellite of the Milky Way.
Disrupted by gravitational tides during close encounters the satellite galaxy has lost its stars to the larger Milky Way. Now par [...]
Exactly 85 years after Clyde Tombaugh’s historic discovery of Pluto, the NASA spacecraft set to encounter the icy dwarf planet this summer is providing its first views of the small moons orbiting Pluto.
The moons Nix and Hydra are visible in a series of images taken by the New Horizons spacecraft from Jan. 27-Feb. 8, at distances ranging from about 125 million to 115 million miles (201 million to 186 million kilometers). The long-exposure images offer New Horizons’ best view yet of these [...]
NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts are counting down to the first of three assembly spacewalks set to begin Friday at 7:10 a.m. EST. The duo checked out their rescue jet packs they would use in the unlikely event they became untethered from the International Space Station. The spacewalks will prepare the station for new commercial crew vehicle docking ports.
The latest supply ship to dock to the orbital lab, Progress 58, had its hatches opened Wednesday morning, following its Tuesd [...]
Starburst galaxies transmute gas into new stars at a dizzying pace – up to 1,000 times faster than typical spiral galaxies like the Milky Way. To help understand why some galaxies "burst" while others do not, an international team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to dissect a cluster of star-forming clouds at the heart of NGC 253, one of the nearest starburst galaxies to the Milky Way.
"All stars form in dense clouds of dust and gas," said Adam Le [...]
A team of astronomers from National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), Osaka Kyoiku University, Nagoya University, and Kyoto Sangyo University observed Nova Delphini 2013 (Figure 1, 3) which occurred on August 14, 2013. Using the 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS) to observe this object, they discovered that the outburst is producing a large amount of lithium (Li; Note 1).
Lithium is a key element in the study of the chemical evolution of the universe becaus [...]
Newly 3-D printed wrenches, data to improve cooling systems, protein crystals and seedling samples returned Feb. 10 aboard SpaceX’s fifth contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station. Researchers will use samples and data returned to improve scientific studies on Earth and build on research that will enable space exploration.
Printed parts and hardware returned from the first phase of operations for the 3-D Printing In Zero-G technology demonstration aboard the station. A [...]
New SPHERE instrument shows its power.
The new SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope has been used to search for a brown dwarf expected to be orbiting the unusual double star V471 Tauri. SPHERE has given astronomers the best look so far at the surroundings of this intriguing object and they found — nothing. The surprising absence of this confidently predicted brown dwarf means that the conventional explanation for the odd behaviour of V471 Tauri is wrong. This unexpected result [...]
Turning a rocket booster case into spaghetti sounds more like magic than engineering, but a test that did just that could be an important step in the future of human space exploration.
As NASA prepares to test the massive solid rocket booster for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in March, a team of engineers is looking even farther into the future by exploring an advanced composite that someday might be used to create even more powerful boosters. To understand how well these ma [...]
Astronomers identify the closest known flyby of a star to our solar system: a dim star that passed through the Oort Cloud 70,000 years ago
A group of astronomers from the US, Europe, Chile and South Africa have determined that 70,000 years ago a recently discovered dim star is likely to have passed through the solar system’s distant cloud of comets, the Oort Cloud. No other star is known to have ever approached our solar system this close – five times closer than the current closest star, [...]
The radio frequency band that many NASA missions use to communicate with spacecraft — S-band — is getting a bit crowded and noisy, and likely to get more jammed as science missions demand higher and higher data rates.
A team of NASA technologists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, just may have a solution, particularly for potential missions that plan to operate in low-Earth orbit and have limited real estate to accommodate communications gear.
Under tw [...]