This composite NASA Hubble Space Telescope Image captures the positions of comet Siding Spring and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, which happened at 2:28 p.m. EDT October 19, 2014. The comet passed by Mars at approximately 87,000 miles (about one-third of the distance between Earth and the Moon). At that time, the comet and Mars were approximately 149 million miles from Earth.
The comet image shown here is a composite of Hubble exposures taken between O [...]
NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft obtained this ultraviolet image of hydrogen surrounding comet Siding Spring on Friday, Oct. 17, two days before the comet’s closest approach to Mars. The Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) instrument imaged the comet at a distance of 5.3 million miles (8.5 million kilometers).
The image shows sunlight that has been scattered by atomic hydrogen, and is shown as blue in this false-color representation. Comets are surround [...]
Although scientists have flown two spacecraft in formation, no one ever has aligned the spacecraft with a specific astronomical target and then held that configuration to make a scientific observation — creating, in effect, a single or “virtual” telescope with two distinctly different satellites.
A NASA team, led by aerospace engineer Neerav Shah of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is not only developing the guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C) technol [...]
On Oct. 18, 2014, a sunspot rotated over the left side of the sun, and soon grew to be the largest active region seen in the current solar cycle, which began in 2008. Currently, the sunspot is almost 80,000 miles across -- ten Earth's could be laid across its diameter.
Sunspots point to relatively cooler areas on the sun with intense and complex magnetic fields poking out through the sun's surface. Such areas can be the source of solar eruptions such as flares or coronal mass ejections. So [...]
Biggest census ever of exocomets around Beta Pictoris.
The HARPS instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has been used to make the most complete census of comets around another star ever created. A French team of astronomers has studied nearly 500 individual comets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris and has discovered that they belong to two distinct families of exocomets: old exocomets that have made multiple passages near the star, and younger exocomets that probably came from the [...]
3, 2, 1 liftoff!
It’s a familiar phrase heard just before a rocket launches at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center or Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Throughout history, millions have traveled from across the world to see the fiery plumes created by a rocket’s large boosters, which have launched astronauts and other payloads into space time and time again.
“Booster separation is a very critical phase of flight for the Space Launch System because the clearance between the cor [...]
Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data. There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space.
When an image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory of PSR B1509-58 -- a spinning neutron star surrounded by a cloud of energetic particles --was released in 2009, it quickly gained attention because many saw a hand-like structure in the X-ray emission.
In a new image of the s [...]
Less than two years after SpaceX began producing the Merlin 1D engines that power the Falcon 9 rocket, the 100th Merlin 1D engine is complete. SpaceX is currently the largest private producer of rocket engines in the world.
The Merlin 1D is an all-American engine designed and built in-house at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. Engines are currently manufactured at a rate of four per week, projected to rise to five per week by the end of 2014.
The completed stage is then shipp [...]
This wide, sharp telescopic view reveals galaxies scattered beyond the stars and faint dust nebulae of the Milky Way at the northern boundary of the high-flying constellation Pegasus. Prominent at the upper right is NGC 7331. A mere 50 million light-years away, the large spiral is one of the brighter galaxies not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog.
The disturbed looking group of galaxies at the lower left is well-known as Stephan's Quintet. About 300 million light-year [...]
Russian spacewalkers Max Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev closed the Pirs docking compartment hatch at 1:06 p.m. EDT ending the third spacewalk for Expedition 41. The cosmonauts were outside the International Space Station for three hours and 38 minutes. Two U.S. spacewalks took place Oct. 7 and 15.
The duo’s first task was to remove the Radiometriya experiment that was installed on the Zvezda service module in 2011 and which is no longer required for data collection. They jettisoned it f [...]
New maps of Saturn’s moon Titan reveal large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles. These regions are curiously shifted off the poles, to the east or west, so that dawn is breaking over the southern region while dusk is falling over the northern one.
The pair of patches was spotted by a NASA-led international team of researchers investigating the chemical make-up of Titan’s atmosphere.
“This is an unexpected and potentially groundbreaking discover [...]
It might look like a spoked wheel or even a "Chakram" weapon wielded by warriors like "Xena," from the fictional TV show, but this ringed galaxy is actually a vast place of stellar life. A newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the galaxy NGC 1291. Though the galaxy is quite old, roughly 12 billion years, it is marked by an unusual ring where newborn stars are igniting.
"The rest of the galaxy is done maturing," said Kartik Sheth of the National Radio Astronomy Observa [...]