NASA Telescopes Find Clues for How Giant Black Holes Formed So Quickly
Tue, 24 May 2016 13:00:00 -0400
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
Hubble Takes Mars Portrait Near Close Approach
Thu, 19 May 2016 13:00:00 -0400
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 -0400
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.
Hubble Discovers Moon Orbiting the Dwarf Planet Makemake
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:00:00 -0400
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.
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 -0400
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.
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.
Behemoth Black Hole Found in an Unlikely Place
Wed, 06 Apr 2016 13:00:00 -0400
Imagine driving through a small town containing modest-sized buildings and seeing a 100-story skyscraper. Astronomers found the equivalent monstrosity in space: a near-record supermassive black hole that weighs 17 billion suns and lives in a cosmic backwater community of a few galaxies. Until now, extremely massive black holes have been found at the cores of very large galaxies in regions of the universe packed with other large galaxies. This is not just coincidence. Like a cosmic Pac-Man, a monster black hole gobbles smaller black holes when two galaxies collide. This game of bumper cars is common in large galaxy clusters. In fact, the current black hole record holder tips the scale at 21 billion suns and resides in the crowded Coma galaxy cluster, located 330 million light-years away.
Hubble's Journey to the Center of Our Galaxy
Thu, 31 Mar 2016 10:00:00 -0400
Hubble's infrared vision pierced the dusty heart of our Milky Way galaxy to reveal
more than half a million stars at its core. Except for a few blue, foreground stars, the stars are part of the Milky Way's nuclear star cluster, the most massive and densest stellar cluster in our galaxy. Located 27,000 light-years
away, this region is so packed with stars, it is equivalent to having a million suns crammed into the volume of space between us and our closest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, 4.3 light-years away. At the very hub of our galaxy, this star
cluster surrounds the Milky Way's central supermassive black hole, which is
about 4 million times the mass of our sun.
To learn even more about the Milky Way's nuclear star cluster and Hubble, join astronomers
and scientists during a live Hubble Hangout discussion at 3pm EDT on Thurs., March 31 at http://hbbl.us/y6k.
NASA and STScI Select Hubble Fellows for 2016
Fri, 25 Mar 2016 13:00:00 -0400
NASA has selected 36 fellows for its prestigious Einstein, Hubble, and Sagan
Fellowships. Each postdoctoral fellowship provides three years of support to
awardees to pursue independent research in astronomy and astrophysics. The
new fellows will begin their programs in the fall of 2016 at a host university or
research center of their choosing in the United States.
Hubble Unveils Monster Stars
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 11:00:00 -0400
An international team of astronomers using the ultraviolet capabilities of NASA's Hubble
Space Telescope has identified nine monster stars with masses over 100 times the mass
of the sun in the star cluster R136. This makes for the largest sample of very
massive stars identified to date. The results, which will be published in the Monthly
Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, raise many new questions about the
formation of massive stars. R136 is only a few light-years across and is located in the
Tarantula Nebula within the Large Magellanic Cloud, about 170,000 light-years away
from Earth. The young cluster hosts many extremely massive, hot, and luminous stars
whose energy is mostly radiated in the ultraviolet.
ExoMars on its way to solve the Red Planet’s mysteries - Read more >
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 22:40:00 +0100
The first of two joint ESA-Roscosmos missions to Mars has begun a seven-month journey to the Red Planet, where it will address unsolved mysteries of the planet’s atmosphere that could indicate present-day geological – or even biological – activity.
Telescopes Combine to Push Frontier on Galaxy Clusters
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 13:00:00 -0500
To learn more about galaxy clusters, including how they grow via
collisions, astronomers have used some of the world's most powerful
telescopes, looking at different types of light. They have focused long
observations with these telescopes on a half-dozen galaxy clusters. The
name for the galaxy cluster project is the "Frontier Fields." Two of these
Frontier Fields galaxy clusters, MACS J0416.1-2403 (abbreviated MACS
J0416) in the right panel and MACS J0717.5+3745 (MACS J0717 for short) in
the left panel, are featured here in a pair of multiwavelength images.