Asian astronomers have been studying the possibility of installing large telescopes in Asia to bolster the astrophysics community’s research. After testing many sites over 20 years, it appears that a difficult site in a mountainous plateau in Tibet may be the answer. The site, in Ngari, has improving infrastructure and is arid, with clear skies during part of the year. Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan are planning to install facilities there in the next few years after site testing is complete.
Neptune’s moon Triton was discovered more than a century and a half ago, but much remains unknown about this distant icy world, including whether it could harbor an underground ocean.
Astronomers are always searching for evidence on the formation of the universe. Using both the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, astronomers found and measured a tiny galaxy that appears to have formed 500 years after the formation of the universe. This makes this small object a new record holder. Without the help of a gravitational lens that magnifies the light from the distant object, the telescopes would never have detected the faint object.
Hubble finds Pluto has a fifth moon. A faint galaxy is one of the most distant objects ever detected. And a new Deep Field image, the Extreme Deep Field, combines all Hubble's images of a tiny sliver of space
A telescope located at the South Pole discovered a cluster of galaxies creating stars at a record pace. This Phoenix Cluster activity may cause us to rethink how galaxies evolve.
NASA has announced another robotic mission to Mars in 2016. Called InSight, it will explore Mars' geologic history and help us better understand the evolution of both Mars and Earth. Much of the technology comes from successful 2008 Phoenix Mars lander.
Star clusters are aggregates of stars that formed together. They range dramatically in size, forming out of anywhere from a few hundred stars to many thousands. A young but fairly massive star cluster is known to exist in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a companion galaxy to our own Milky Way. This giant star cluster may not be just one cluster, but actually a merger of at least two clusters. Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope have illuminated the circumstances of this interesting region.
The Mars Science Laboratory is a NASA satellite that transported the new Mars rover to that planet. After a harrowing decent and landing, the new rover -- named Curiosity -- began to send images back to Earth and test all its equipment. Even the rover’s movements were checked in many directions to ensure it is ready for exploration. This rover contains many advanced instruments, including a chemical analysis lab for determining the composition of Martian soil and rocks.
A huge, new asteroid impact crater discovered in Greenland is thought to be a billion years older than any other known asteroid impact crater on Earth. Erosion features on Earth -? rain, wind, continental shift -? make finding evidence of impact craters very difficult. This new crater is about 62 miles across and believed to be 3 billion years old.
The dwarf planet Pluto is never out of the news. It is an object of study because it formed and evolved in the outer part of the solar system called the Kuiper Belt. In support of the NASA New Horizons mission, launched in 2006 and on its way to Pluto, Hubble Space Telescope observations are probing the system so the spacecraft can navigate through it. Although the first moon of Pluto, Charon, was discovered in 1978, 3 more moons were discovered between 2004 and 2011 using Hubble. Now a fifth moon has been discovered, suggesting that the Pluto system may have quite a lot of small (and potentially hazardous) bodies in it.
Astronomers are keen to find extrasolar planets that are similar in size to Earth, as well as those significantly smaller. Now during observations of a planetary system known to have at least one orbiting planet, a second very small planet was found. The object, called UCF-1.01, orbits around the red-dwarf star GJ 436.
The annual Perseid meteor shower is the best and most watched annual shower, and the best viewing for 2012 occurs Saturday evening, August 11 through Sunday evening, August 12. At its very best, about 90 meteors per hour are visible.
The interior of Mars contains huge reservoirs of water, with some locations seemingly as wet as the interior of Earth. This new research is a result of examining two meteorites that formed in the mantle of Mars, were blasted off the planet by a meteorite impact long ago, and landed on Earth more than two million years ago.
Our massive nearby neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, is headed straight for the Milky Way. Hubble watches a star fry a planet's atmosphere. And dim "ghost galaxies" pose a stellar mystery.
When we think of quasars, we envision brilliant, energetic objects, produced by black holes, that are the result of collisions of large galaxies. But not all quasars are exceedingly bright and the black holes that produce them can be more modest in size. How does this occur? A new study with observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that fainter quasars are more common. The study also reveals that modest-sized black holes consume smaller amounts of gas and dust as well as small companion satellites, feeding the black hole and perhaps eventually producing a quasar.
When humans establish a base or some sort of colony on another world, they'll need resources. Power and water are crucial. This applies to any Moon base that might be established, so scientists have been searching for locations that have sunlight for power and ice for water. The poles of the Moon are the right areas for such searches. New data on the Shackleton Crater near the lunar south pole suggest there might indeed be ice there.
NASA's Voyager 1 space probe launched back in 1977 and is now about to become the first human-made object to travel beyond the edge of the Solar System. It's not easy telling where that boundary actually is, but Voyager 1 is starting to detect evidence that it's close.
Our galaxy, the Milky Way, and our closest galactic neighbor, Andromeda, are closing in on each other due to their mutual gravitational attraction. New information from the Hubble Space Telescope tells us that collision is about 4 billion years in our future.
Vesta is the second most massive asteroid in the asteroid belt and has been known to astronomers since 1807. Although ground-based telescopes have been used to observe Vesta and determine many of its characteristics, the NASA Dawn mission is orbiting the object to gain deeper knowledge. Vesta has a large mountain, has suffered a massive collision and has many other diverse features on its surface.