New research helps better determine the age of the outer realms of our Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way is surrounded by a halo now determined to be about 11.4 billion years old. These new findings help us better understand how galaxies evolve.
New research indicates that giant asteroids -- even larger than the one that obliterated the dinosaurs 65 million years ago -- hit Earth billions of years ago, and in numbers much higher than previously thought.
It's Hubble's 22nd anniversary, and the telescope is celebrating with a glorious image of the 30 Doradus star-forming region. Hubble catches sight of brief auroras on Uranus, and will turn its eye closer to home in June, using the Moon to watch the Venus transit.
Studies of the moons, rings and the environment of Saturn are being carried out by NASA's Cassini mission. Data on one of the planet's irregular moons, Phoebe, suggests that this object may be a planetesimal, similar in constitution to Pluto. Perhaps it drifted in from the outer solar system and was captured by Saturn.
We know a lot about our own Milky Way galaxy. Since we are embedded in it, we have a close-up view of it. We've measured the distribution of stars in space and the numbers of stars that have different masses. Up until now, it has been assumed that other galaxies have the same distribution of stars -? that is, the relative number of stars at each mass is the same with very massive stars being rarer than smaller stars. But new results show that some galaxies have even more extreme distributions.
A new study shows that complex organic compounds, even those critical to the formation of life on Earth, easily formed in the early solar system. The early solar nebula that formed the Sun and planets seems to have the right conditions for forming organic molecules.
Among the planets out there, could there exist other systems and stars directly related to our own? It is thought that the Sun formed in a cluster of stars. Could there have been an exchange of material among those stars so that the now long-distant solar siblings have retained some of the material from our solar system? What if some of that material was biological and had been preserved during the exchange?
Astronomers have suspected that a gigantic black hole resides at the center of our Milky Way galaxy for some time now, but they can't say for sure. Now scientists are hoping to image this mysterious object with a world-wide array of radio telescopes.
The universe's mysterious dark matter gets a little more mysterious. And Hubble celebrates its 22nd birthday by showing off its keen vision, capturing an immense and detailed view of a nearby star-forming region.
What do extrasolar planet systems have to do with Earth weather? Perhaps a lot. The United Kingdom Met Office, which, handles the UK national weather service, has a research team looking at applying space-weather models to the Earth, Sun and our solar system. If the models can explain what is seen in other planetary systems, different from our own, then they can help us understand the physics that drives our weather and climate.
An asteroid known as 2012 DA14 was discovered in Feb 2012 and is on track for close swing by Earth in 2013. Many reports circulated about it hitting our planet, but that's not going to happen. Astronomers are monitoring the asteroid for calculations on its future passes.
The existence of black holes has been known for some time, and it can seem like we know all about them. We know that individual, stellar-size black holes form at the end of a massive star's life. We also know that supermassive black holes exist in the center of galaxies, and it is assumed that they form from the merger of medium-size black holes. Yet these medium-size objects have not been found. Now an x-ray telescope's discovery suggests they do exist. New observations with the Hubble Space Telescope and the SWIFT telescope yield new clues.
Some strange, gigantic explosions, which seem to be fueled by fueled by solar energy, have been detected just above the surface of the planet Venus. These powerful explosions have also been detected in the past near Earth, Saturn and possibly Mars.
Although the concept of dark matter has been around for a long time, scientists aren't really clear on what it is. Originally, scientists thought that dark matter was associated with and "stuck to" the luminous matter we see ? stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies and other groupings. But new observations confirm a suspicion that emerged a few years ago: dark matter does not always behave exactly like normal matter.
Famously fractious star Eta Carinae is replaying one of its greatest hits -? an explosion witnessed on Earth 170 years earlier. And Hubble has discovered a new type of planet -? a hot super-Earth made up mostly of water and ice.
Earth might someday have a second sun in the sky, at least for a few weeks. This would occur when one of the brightest stars in the sky explodes as a supernova. The star is Betelgeuse, the red giant that marks the shoulder of the northern winter constellation Orion the hunter. But don't count on it to happening anytime soon.
Venus is sometimes called a sister planet to Earth but has important differences. While similar in size, Venus has a much thicker atmosphere and is unbearably hot at the surface. Venus has been studied by many spacecraft, and recently the Venus Express, launched in 2005, probed its atmosphere and surface. Results from infrared observations indicate something may have changed in Venus' rate of rotation, posing an intriguing mystery for researchers.