Hubble Finds Dead Stars 'Polluted' with Planet Debris
Thu, 09 May 2013 10:00:00 -0400
Deep inside the Hyades star cluster, a pair of burned-out stars are
yielding clues to the presence of rocky planets that may have whirled
around them. Asteroid debris is 'raining' into the hot atmospheres of
these white dwarfs. Asteroids should consist of the same material that
form terrestrial planets, and seeing evidence of asteroids points to
the possibility of Earth-sized planets in the same system.
STScI Appoints New Mission Head for the James Webb Space Telescope
Tue, 07 May 2013 11:00:00 -0400
The Space Telescope Science Institute has appointed Dr. Massimo Stiavelli as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Mission Head. Stiavelli will be responsible for the development and operations of the JWST Science and Operations Center at STScI. He has been acting JWST Mission Head since January 2012. The largest space observatory ever developed, JWST is scheduled for launch in 2018. Stiavelli succeeds Dr. Kathy Flanagan, who was appointed the Institute's Deputy Director in October 2012. Stiavelli has worked at the Institute for over 17 years. His many positions at the Institute include instrument scientist for three Hubble cameras. Stiavelli has been working on the JWST project since 1996.
Hubble Captures Comet ISON
Tue, 23 Apr 2013 13:00:00 -0400
Comet ISON is potentially the "comet of the century" because
around the time the comet makes its closest approach to the Sun,
on November 28, it may briefly become brighter than the full Moon.
Right now the comet is far below naked-eye visibility, and so
Hubble was used to snap the view of the approaching comet, which
is presently hurtling toward the Sun at approximately 47,000
miles per hour. When the Hubble picture was taken on April 10,
the comet was slightly closer than Jupiter's orbit at a distance
of 386 million miles from the Sun. Even at that great distance
the Sun is warming the comet enough to trigger outgassing from
its frozen gases locked up in the solid nucleus. Hubble
photographed a jet blasting dust particles off the sunward-facing
side of the comet's nucleus. Preliminary measurements from the
Hubble images suggest that the nucleus of ISON is no larger than
three or four miles across. The comet was discovered in September
2012 by the Russian-led International Scientific Optical Network
(ISON) using a 16-inch telescope.
Herschel links Jupiter’s water to comet impact - Read more >
Tue, 23 Apr 2013 10:00:00 +0200
ESA’s Herschel space observatory has solved a long-standing mystery as to the origin of water in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter, finding conclusive evidence that it was delivered by the dramatic impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in July 1994.
Hubble Sees a Horsehead of a Different Color
Fri, 19 Apr 2013 08:50:00 -0400
Unlike other celestial objects there is no question how the Horsehead
Nebula got its name. This iconic silhouette of a horse's head and neck
pokes up mysteriously from what look like whitecaps of interstellar foam.
The nebula has graced astronomy books ever since its discovery over a
century ago. But Hubble's infrared vision shows the horse in a new light.
The nebula, shadowy in optical light, appears transparent and ethereal
when seen at infrared wavelengths. This pillar of tenuous hydrogen gas
laced with dust is resisting being eroded away by the radiation from a
nearby star. The nebula is a small part of a vast star-forming complex in
the constellation Orion. The Horsehead will disintegrate in about 5
Explosive crater twins on Mars - Read more >
Thu, 11 Apr 2013 11:00:00 +0200
Dramatic underground explosions, perhaps involving ice, are responsible for the pits inside these two large martian impact craters, imaged by ESA’s Mars Express on 4 January.
NASA and STScI Select 17 Hubble Fellows for 2013
Tue, 09 Apr 2013 14:00:00 -0400
NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) have announced the
selection of 17 new Hubble Fellows. The Hubble Fellowship Program now includes all
research relevant to present and future missions in NASA's Cosmic Origins theme.
These missions currently include the Herschel Space Observatory, the Hubble Space
Telescope (HST), the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the Stratospheric
Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), and the Spitzer Space Telescope. STScI in Baltimore, Md., administers the Hubble Fellowship Program for NASA.
Hubble Breaks Record in Search for Farthest Supernova
Thu, 04 Apr 2013 10:00:00 -0400
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a star detonated with enough energy to briefly shine with an intrinsic brightness of one billion of our suns. The beacon of radiation arrived at Earth 10 billion years later and was captured in a Hubble Space Telescope deep survey of the universe. It is the farthest, and earliest, supernova of its type detected to date. More than simply an example of the ancient fireworks in the young and effervescent universe, the supernova belongs to a special class of stellar detonations that are so reliably bright, they can be used as intergalactic milepost markers.
Taken Under the "Wing" of the Small Magellanic Cloud
Thu, 04 Apr 2013 09:00:00 -0400
NASA's Chandra X-ray telescope has made the first detection of X-ray emission
from young solar-type stars that lie outside our Milky Way galaxy. They live in a
region known as the "Wing" of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of
our Milky Way. X-rays from young stars trace how active their magnetic fields are.
Magnetic activity provides clues to a star's rotation rate and the rising and falling
of hot gas in the star's interior. Astronomers suggest that if the X-ray properties of
young stars are similar in different environments around our galaxy, then other
related properties, such as the formation of planets, are also likely to be similar.
Black hole wakes up and has a light snack - Read more >
Tue, 02 Apr 2013 11:00:00 +0200
Astronomers have watched as a black hole woke up from a decades-long slumber to feed on a low-mass object – either a brown dwarf or a giant planet – that strayed too close. A similar feeding event, albeit on a gas cloud, will soon happen at the black hole at the centre of our own Milky Way Galaxy.
Planck reveals an almost perfect Universe - Read more >
Thu, 21 Mar 2013 11:00:00 +0100
Acquired by ESA’s Planck space telescope, the most detailed map ever created of the cosmic microwave background – the relic radiation from the Big Bang – was released today revealing the existence of features that challenge the foundations of our current understanding of the Universe.
NASA Helps Make Guinness World Record for Largest Astronomy Lesson at SXSW
Wed, 13 Mar 2013 13:00:00 -0400
Looking up through hundreds of colored filters and spectral glasses, 526
people shattered the record for the Largest Astronomy Lesson. Under the
Texas night sky, students were instructed on the lawn of the Long Center
for the Performing Arts at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in
Austin on Sunday, March 10, 2013.
Hubble Finds Birth Certificate of Oldest Known Star
Thu, 07 Mar 2013 14:00:00 -0500
You can't be older than your parents. But there is a nearby star that at
first glance looks like it is older than the universe! Hubble Space
Telescope astronomers are coming to grips with this paradox by
improving the precision of the observations used to estimate the age of
this "Methuselah star."
Gravitational Lens Creates Cartoon of Space Invader
Tue, 05 Mar 2013 09:00:00 -0500
The universe is eerie enough without giving us an apparition of a 1980s
video game alien attacker. This oddball-looking object is really a mirage
created by the gravitational field of a foreground cluster of galaxies
warping space and distorting the background images of more distant
Herschel to finish observing soon - Read more >
Tue, 05 Mar 2013 11:00:00 +0100
ESA’s Herschel space observatory is expected to exhaust its supply of liquid helium coolant in the coming weeks after spending more than three exciting years studying the cool Universe.
Cassini Scientist for a Day 2012 Competition - Results - Read more >
Mon, 04 Mar 2013 11:15:00 +0100
Students from across Europe have been selected as winners of the Cassini Scientist for a Day 2012 competition. Coordinated by ESA, national competitions were held in several European countries, including Poland, Spain and Greece, with more than 1000 entries. An equivalent competition was run by NASA for schools in the US.
Speedy black hole holds galaxy’s history - Read more >
Wed, 27 Feb 2013 19:00:00 +0100
A rapidly rotating supermassive black hole has been found in the heart of a spiral galaxy by ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s NuSTAR space observatories, opening a new window into how galaxies grow.