Nasa Image of the Day
Booster Test for Space Launch System Rocket

Booster Test for Space Launch System Rocket

The second and final qualification motor (QM-2) test for the Space Launch System’s booster is seen, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at Orbital ATK Propulsion Systems test facilities in Promontory, Utah. During the Space Launch System flight the boosters will provide more than 75 percent of the thrust needed to escape the gravitational pull of the Earth.

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Sky View Cafe
Sky View Cafe

Sky View Café is a Java applet that lets you use your web browser to see many types of astronomical information, in both graphical and numerical form. You can see which stars and planets will be out tonight in the sky above your home town, see how the next solar or lunar eclipse will look from London, or find out when the Moon rose over Sydney on your birthday ten years ago. Sky View Café includes star charts, a 3-D orrery, displays of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, an astronomical event calendar, an ephemeris generator, and many other features. Enter Sky View Café now!

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The Sky Tonight Astronomy News
Hubble Reveals Stellar Fireworks in 'Skyrocket' Galaxy
Tue, 28 Jun 2016 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

As we celebrate the Fourth of July by watching dazzling fireworks shows, another kind of fireworks display is taking place in a small, nearby galaxy.



Hubble Confirms New Dark Spot on Neptune
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Pancake-shaped clouds not only appear in the children's book "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," but also 3 billion miles away on the gaseous planet Neptune. When they appeared in July 2015, witnessed by amateur astronomers and the largest telescopes, scientists suspected that these clouds were bright companions to an unseen, dark vortex. The dark vortex is a high-pressure system where the flow of ambient air is perturbed and diverted upward over the vortex. This forms huge, lens-shaped clouds, that resemble clouds that sometimes form over mountains on Earth.



Venus has potential – but not for water - Read more >
Mon, 20 Jun 2016 15:00:00 +0200


ESA’s Venus Express may have helped to explain the puzzling lack of water on Venus. The planet has a surprisingly strong electric field – the first time this has been measured at any planet – that is sufficient to deplete its upper atmosphere of oxygen, one of the components of water.




ExoMars sets sights on the Red Planet - Read more >
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 10:00:00 +0200


ExoMars captured its first images of Mars this week as part of its preparations for arriving at the Red Planet in October.




Gluttonous Star May Hold Clues to Planet Formation
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 15:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

In 1936, astronomers observed signs that the young star FU Orionis had begun gobbling material from its surrounding disk of gas and dust with a sudden voraciousness. During a three-month binge, as matter turned into energy, the star became 100 times brighter, heating the disk around it to temperatures of up to 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The brightening is the most extreme event of its kind that has been confirmed around a star the size of the sun, and may have implications for how stars and planets form. The intense baking of the star's surrounding disk likely changed its chemistry, permanently altering material that could one day turn into planets. FU Orionis is still devouring gas to this day, although not as quickly.



Cloudy Days on Exoplanets May Hide Atmospheric Water
Wed, 08 Jun 2016 12:30:00 -0400Hubble Image

Water is a hot topic in the study of exoplanets, including "hot Jupiters," whose masses are similar to that of Jupiter, but lie much closer to their parent star than Jupiter is to the sun. They are estimated to be a scorching 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning any water they host would take the form of water vapor.



LISA Pathfinder exceeds expectations - Read more >
Tue, 07 Jun 2016 12:15:00 +0200


ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission has demonstrated the technology needed to build a space-based gravitational wave observatory.




NASA's Hubble Finds Universe Is Expanding Faster Than Expected
Thu, 02 Jun 2016 11:30:00 -0400Hubble Image

When astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered nearly 100 years ago that the universe was uniformly expanding in all directions, the finding was a big surprise. Then, in the mid-1990s, another shocker occurred: astronomers found that the expansion rate was accelerating perhaps due to a repulsive property called "dark energy." Now, the latest measurements of our runaway universe suggest that it is expanding faster than astronomers thought. The consequences could be very significant for our understanding of the shadowy contents of our unruly universe. It may mean that dark energy is shoving galaxies away from each other with even greater or growing strength. Or, the early cosmos may contain a new type of subatomic particle referred to as "dark radiation." A third possibility is that "dark matter," an invisible form of matter that makes up the bulk of our universe, possesses some weird, unexpected characteristics. Finally, Einstein's theory of gravity may be incomplete.



Watch LISA Pathfinder briefing - Read more >
Thu, 02 Jun 2016 13:00:00 +0200

Livestreaming of the media briefing on the first results from ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission will begin on 7 June at 09:30 GMT (11:30 CEST). LISA Pathfinder is a technology demonstrator for the observation of gravitational waves from space.   




Rosetta’s comet contains ingredients for life - Read more >
Fri, 27 May 2016 20:00:00 +0200


Ingredients regarded as crucial for the origin of life on Earth have been discovered at the comet that ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has been probing for almost two years.




Mars Webcam goes pro - Read more >
Wed, 25 May 2016 15:22:00 +0200


A modest ‘webcam’ on Mars Express has proven useful for outreach, education and citizen-science. Now ESA have decided to adopt it as a professional science instrument.




NASA Telescopes Find Clues for How Giant Black Holes Formed So Quickly
Tue, 24 May 2016 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Using data from three of NASA's Great Observatories (the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Spitzer Space Telescope), scientists have found the best evidence to date that supermassive black holes in the early universe were produced by the direct collapse of a gas cloud. If confirmed, this result could lead to new insight into how black holes were formed and grew billions of years ago. This artist's illustration depicts a possible "seed" for the formation of a supermassive black hole. The inset boxes contain Chandra (top) and Hubble (bottom) images of one of two candidate seeds, where the properties in the data matched those predicted by sophisticated models produced by researchers of the direct-collapse mechanism.



Call for Media: First results from ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission - Read more >
Tue, 24 May 2016 16:15:00 +0200


Media representatives are invited to a briefing on the first results from ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission, a technology demonstrator for the observation of gravitational waves from space.




Are mystery Mars plumes caused by space weather? - Read more >
Mon, 23 May 2016 15:00:00 +0200


Mysterious high-rise clouds seen appearing suddenly in the martian atmosphere on a handful of occasions may be linked to space weather, say Mars Express scientists.




Hubble Takes Mars Portrait Near Close Approach
Thu, 19 May 2016 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

On May 12, 2016, astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured this striking image of Mars, when the planet was 50 million miles from Earth. The photo reveals details as small as 20 miles to 30 miles across. This observation was made just a few days before Mars opposition on May 22, when the sun and Mars will be on exact opposite sides of Earth. Mars also will be 47.4 million miles from Earth. On May 30, Mars will be the closest it has been to Earth in 11 years, at a distance of 46.8 million miles. Mars is especially photogenic during opposition because it can be seen fully illuminated by the sun as viewed from Earth.



Hubble Catches Views of a Jet Rotating with Comet 252P/LINEAR
Thu, 12 May 2016 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

For thousands of years, humans have recorded sightings of mysterious comets sweeping across the nighttime skies. These celestial wanderers, "snowballs" of dust and ice, are swift-moving visitors from the cold depths of space. Some of them periodically visit the inner solar system during their journeys around the sun.



Second ExoMars mission moves to next launch opportunity in 2020 - Read more >
Mon, 02 May 2016 12:00:00 +0200


On 14 March 2016, the Roscosmos State Corporation and the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the jointly-developed ExoMars 2016 interplanetary mission, comprising the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli lander, on a Proton rocket from Baikonur, thus marking the first phase in the European-Russian ExoMars cooperation programme.




Powerful winds spotted from mysterious X-ray binaries - Read more >
Thu, 28 Apr 2016 10:00:00 +0200


ESA’s XMM-Newton has discovered gas streaming away at a quarter of the speed of light from very bright X-ray binaries in two nearby galaxies.




Hubble Discovers Moon Orbiting the Dwarf Planet Makemake
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Makemake is one of several dwarf planets that reside in the frigid outer realm of our solar system called the Kuiper Belt, a "junkyard" of countless icy bodies left over from our solar system's formation.



Profile of a methane sea on Titan - Read more >
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 12:00:00 +0200


Saturn’s largest moon is covered in seas and lakes of liquid hydrocarbons – and one sea has now been found to be filled with pure methane, with a seabed covered by a sludge of organic-rich material, and possibly surrounded by wetlands.




Space Microscope to test universality of freefall - Read more >
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 10:00:00 +0200


France’s Microscope satellite, carrying a set of ESA high-tech thrusters, lifted off last night from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, taking advantage of the same Soyuz launch that took the EU’s Sentinel-1B into orbit.




Herschel’s Galactic panorama - Read more >
Fri, 22 Apr 2016 11:00:00 +0200


This new video from ESA’s Herschel space observatory reveals in stunning detail the intricate pattern of gas, dust and star-forming hubs along the plane of our Galaxy, the Milky Way.




Hubble Sees a Star 'Inflating' a Giant Bubble
Thu, 21 Apr 2016 11:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Twenty-six candles grace NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's birthday cake this year, and now one giant space "balloon" will add to the festivities. Just in time for the 26th anniversary of Hubble's launch on April 24, 1990, the telescope has photographed an enormous, balloon-like bubble being blown into space by a super-hot, massive star. Astronomers trained the iconic telescope on this colorful feature, called the Bubble Nebula, or NGC 7635. The bubble is 7 light-years across about one-and-a-half times the distance from our sun to its nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri. The Bubble Nebula lies 7,100 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia.



Calling all artists: apply now for art and science residency - Read more >
Wed, 20 Apr 2016 12:00:00 +0200


ESA, in partnership with Ars Electronica, is announcing art&science@ESA, a new art residency to explore the fertile ground between art and space science.




Interstellar dust intercepted at Saturn - Read more >
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 20:00:00 +0200


The international Cassini spacecraft has detected the faint but distinct signature of dust coming from outside our Solar System.




First light for ExoMars - Read more >
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 09:55:00 +0200


The ESA–Roscosmos ExoMars spacecraft are in excellent health following launch last month, with the orbiter sending back its first test image of a starry view taken en route to the Red Planet.




The colour-changing comet - Read more >
Thu, 07 Apr 2016 15:00:00 +0200


Rosetta’s comet has been seen changing colour and brightness in front of the ESA orbiter’s eyes, as the Sun’s heat strips away the older surface to reveal fresher material.




Found: Andromeda’s first spinning neutron star - Read more >
Thu, 31 Mar 2016 15:00:00 +0200


Decades of searching in the Milky Way’s nearby ‘twin’ galaxy Andromeda have finally paid off, with the discovery of an elusive breed of stellar corpse, a neutron star, by ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope.



This Month's Sky Map
This Month's Sky Map

Take a look at this month's Sky Map to help you explore the wonders of the night sky!

Ideal for all sky watchers including beginners to astronomy.

The Sky Map will help you identify planets, bright stars, constellations and nebulae!
Printable version available too!


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