Nasa Image of the Day
Parachute Testing for NASA's InSight Mission

Parachute Testing for NASA's InSight Mission

This parachute testing for NASA's InSight mission to Mars was conducted inside the world's largest wind tunnel, at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, in February 2015.

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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!

The Sky Tonight Astronomy News
Threading the Milky Way - Read more >
Thu, 28 May 2015 15:00:00 +0200


These three new images of huge filamentary structures of gas and dust from ESA’s Herschel space observatory reveal how matter is distributed across our Galaxy, the Milky Way.




Hubble Video Shows Shock Collision Inside Black Hole Jet
Wed, 27 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

One of the trademarks of the Star Wars film episodes is the dreaded Death Star battle station that fires a beam of directed energy powerful enough to blow up planets. The real universe has such fireworks, and they are vastly more powerful than the Star Wars creation. These extragalactic jets are tearing across hundreds of light-years of space at 98 percent the speed of light. Instead of a battle station, the source of the killer beam is a supermassive black hole weighing many million or even a billion times the mass of our sun. Energy from the spinning black hole, and its titanic magnetic fields, shape a narrow jet of gas blasting out a galaxy's center. Hubble has been used over the past 25 years to photograph and rephotograph a jet blasting out the heart of the elliptical galaxy 3C 264 (also known as NGC 3862). Hubble's sharp vision reveals that the jet has a string-of-pearls structure of glowing knots of material. When these images were assembled into a time-lapse movie, they reveal to the surprise of astronomers a faster-moving bright knot rear-ending the bright knot in front of it. The resulting shock collision further accelerates particles that produce a focused beam of deadly radiation. The jet is moving so fast toward us it gives the illusion that it is traveling faster than the speed of light. But not to worry, the host galaxy is 260 million light-years away. We are seeing the jet as it looked before the dinosaurs appeared on Earth, and our planet was suffering a global mass extinction.



Hubble Observes One-of-a-Kind Star Nicknamed 'Nasty'
Thu, 21 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Astronomers have spent decades trying to determine the oddball behavior of an aging star nicknamed "Nasty 1" residing in our Milky Way galaxy. Nasty 1 was identified as a Wolf-Rayet star, a rapidly evolving star that is much more massive than our sun. The star loses its hydrogen-filled outer layers quickly, exposing its super-hot and extremely bright helium-burning core.



Impact crater or supervolcano caldera? - Read more >
Thu, 21 May 2015 11:00:00 +0200


At first glance, the region covered by this latest Mars Express image release appears to be pockmarked with impact craters. But the largest structure among them may hold a rather explosive secret: it could be remains of an ancient supervolcano.




Hubble Catches a Stellar Exodus in Action
Thu, 14 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Globular star clusters are isolated star cities, home to hundreds of thousands of stars. And like the fast pace of cities, there's plenty of action in these stellar metropolises. The stars are in constant motion, orbiting around the cluster's center. Past observations have shown that the heavyweight stars live in the crowded downtown, or core, and lightweight stars reside in the less populated suburbs.



Hubble Finds Giant Halo Around the Andromeda Galaxy
Thu, 07 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

The Andromeda galaxy is our Milky Way's nearest neighbor in space. The majestic spiral of over 100 billion stars is comparable in size to our home galaxy. At a distance of 2.5 million light-years, it is so close to us the galaxy can be seen as a cigar-shaped smudge of light high in the autumn sky. But if you could see the huge bubble of hot, diffuse plasma surrounding it, it would appear 100 times the angular diameter of the full Moon! The gargantuan halo is estimated to contain half the mass of the stars in the Andromeda galaxy itself. It can be thought of as the "atmosphere" of a galaxy. Astronomers using Hubble identified the gas in Andromeda's halo by measuring how it filtered the light of distant bright background objects called quasars. It is akin to seeing the glow of a flashlight shining through a fog. This finding promises to tell astronomers more about the evolution and structure of one of the most common types of galaxies in the universe.



Send your drawing into space with Cheops - Read more >
Wed, 06 May 2015 17:00:00 +0200


Do you want to send your art into space on the new Cheops satellite? ESA and its mission partners are inviting children to submit drawings that will be miniaturised and engraved on two plaques that will be put on the satellite. 




Astronomers Set a New Galaxy Distance Record
Tue, 05 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

The universe is incredibly big. But how do astronomers know that? Billion-mile-long tape measures can't be found at the hardware store. Instead, astronomers use the expansion of the universe itself to establish milepost markers. The light from remote objects is attenuated and weakened as space stretches like a rubber band. The consequences are that starlight will look redder relative to a nearby star of the same temperature. When starlight is spread into its component color via spectroscopy, features in the light will be shifted to the red end of the spectrum. This "redshift" can be used to reliably calibrate distances. The challenge is the farthest objects in the universe are typically too faint for spectroscopy to work. So instead, astronomers deduce a galaxy's distance by precisely measuring its colors in visible and infrared light. This technique has found candidates for the farthest object in the universe.



Celestial fireworks celebrate Hubble’s 25th anniversary - Read more >
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:15:00 +0200


This glittering tapestry of young stars exploding into life in a dramatic fireworks display has been released today to celebrate 25 incredible years of the Hubble Space Telescope.




Hubble Space Telescope Celebrates 25 Years of Unveiling the Universe
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 09:15:00 -0400Hubble Image

NASA and ESA are celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope's silver anniversary of 25 years in space by unveiling some of nature's own fireworks a giant cluster of about 3,000 stars called Westerlund 2. The cluster resides inside a vibrant stellar breeding ground known as Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina. The comparatively young, 2-million-year-old star cluster contains some of our galaxy's hottest, brightest, and most massive stars. The largest stars are unleashing a torrent of ultraviolet light and hurricane-force winds that etch away the enveloping hydrogen gas cloud. This creates a fantasy celestial landscape of pillars, ridges, and valleys.



Rosetta and Philae find comet not magnetised - Read more >
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:00:00 +0200


Measurements made by Rosetta and Philae during the probe’s multiple landings on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko show that the comet’s nucleus is not magnetised.




Our Sun Came Late to the Milky Way's Star-Birth Party
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 14:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

Our Sun missed the stellar "baby boom" that erupted in our young Milky Way galaxy 10 billion years ago. During that time the Milky Way was churning out stars 30 times faster than it does today. Our galaxy was ablaze with a firestorm of star birth as its rich reservoir of hydrogen gas compressed under gravity, creating myriad stars. But our Sun was not one of them. It was a late "boomer," arising 5 billion years later, when star birth had plunged to a trickle.



NASA and STScI Select Hubble Fellows for 2015
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 14:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) have announced the selection of 17 new Hubble Fellows. STScI in Baltimore, Maryland, administers the Hubble Fellowship Program for NASA. The Hubble Fellowship Program includes all research relevant to present and future missions relating to NASA's Cosmic Origins Program. These missions currently include the Herschel Space Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the James Webb Space Telescope, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), and the Spitzer Space Telescope. The new Hubble Fellows will begin their programs in the fall of 2015.



Hubble Finds Phantom Objects Near Dead Quasars
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 11:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

In 2007, Dutch schoolteacher Hanny van Arkel discovered a never-before-seen ghostly structure near a galaxy, while she was participating in an online amateur scientist project called Galaxy Zoo. The galaxy hosts a bright quasar that may have illuminated the apparition by hitting it with a beam of light from hot gas around a central black hole. Astronomers eagerly used the Hubble Space Telescope to do follow-up observations, which revealed knots of dust and gas in the "greenish blob." Assuming that this feature could offer insights into the puzzling behavior of active galaxies, Bill Keel of the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, initiated a search for other similar phenomenon. After all, where there's one strange blob there could be more. Keel had 200 volunteers look at archival data of 15,000 galaxies hosting quasars. In the end, he found eight other galaxies with bright active nuclei that have illuminated material far outside the radius of the galaxy. The eerie structures have looping, spiral, and braided shapes. Hubble's images show that they are like the remnants of galaxy collisions.

Join Hubble scientists for a live Hubble Hangout discussion at 3pm EDT on Thurs., April 2, to learn even more. Visit: http://hbbl.us/y6c .



Herschel and Planck find missing clue to galaxy cluster formation - Read more >
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:00:00 +0200


By combining observations of the distant Universe made with ESA’s Herschel and Planck space observatories, cosmologists have discovered what could be the precursors of the vast clusters of galaxies that we see today.




Hubble and Chandra Discover Dark Matter Is Not as Sticky as Once Thought
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:00:00 -0400Hubble Image

In particle physics labs, like the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, scientists smash atoms together to study the underpinnings of matter and energy. On the scale of the macrocosm, nature provides a similar experiment by crashing clusters of galaxies together. Besides galaxies and gas, the galaxy clusters contain huge amounts of dark matter. Dark matter is a transparent form of matter that makes up most of the mass in the universe. During collisions, the clouds of gas enveloping the galaxies crash into each other and slow down or stop. Astronomers found that the dark matter continued straight through the violent collisions, without slowing down relative to the galaxies. Their best explanation is that the dark matter did not interact with visible particles, and it also interacted less frequently with other dark matter than previously thought. Astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory to study 72 large galaxy cluster collisions. Chandra traced the hot gas, and Hubble saw how the invisible dark matter warps space and distorts the images of background stars. This allowed for the distribution of dark matter in the collision to be mapped. The finding narrows down the options for what this dark matter might be.



Black hole winds pull the plug on star formation - Read more >
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:00:00 +0100


Astronomers using ESA’s Herschel space observatory have found that the winds blowing from a huge black hole are sweeping away its host galaxy’s reservoir of raw star-building material.




Rosetta makes first detection of molecular nitrogen at a comet - Read more >
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 20:00:00 +0100


ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has made the first measurement of molecular nitrogen at a comet, providing clues about the temperature environment in which Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko formed.




Crossing the boundary from high to low on Mars - Read more >
Thu, 12 Mar 2015 11:00:00 +0100


On the boundary between the heavily cratered southern highlands and the smooth northern lowlands of Mars is an area rich in features sculpted by water and ice.




Hot water activity on icy moon’s seafloor - Read more >
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 19:00:00 +0100


Tiny grains of rock detected by the international Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn point to hydrothermal activity on the seafloor of its icy moon Enceladus.




Improved vision for James Webb Space Telescope - Read more >
Wed, 25 Feb 2015 11:00:00 +0100


Key science elements of the James Webb Space Telescope have been upgraded ahead of the observatory’s launch in 2018.




Mars hills hide icy past - Read more >
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 11:00:00 +0100


A complex network of isolated hills, ridges and small basins spanning 1400 km on Mars is thought to hide large quantities of water-ice.




Mystery Mars plume baffles scientists - Read more >
Mon, 16 Feb 2015 17:00:00 +0100


Plumes seen reaching high above the surface of Mars are causing a stir among scientists studying the atmosphere on the Red Planet.




Planck reveals first stars were born late - Read more >
Thu, 05 Feb 2015 15:00:00 +0100


New maps from ESA’s Planck satellite uncover the ‘polarised’ light from the early Universe across the entire sky, revealing that the first stars formed much later than previously thought.




Rosetta swoops in for a close encounter - Read more >
Wed, 04 Feb 2015 14:30:00 +0100


ESA’s Rosetta probe is preparing to make a close encounter with its comet on 14 February, passing just 6 km from the surface.




Planck: gravitational waves remain elusive - Read more >
Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0100


Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from ESA’s Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial gravitational waves. 




Rosetta watches comet shed its dusty coat - Read more >
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:00:00 +0100


ESA’s Rosetta mission is providing unique insight into the life cycle of a comet’s dusty surface, watching 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as it sheds the dusty coat it has accumulated over the past four years.




Getting to know Rosetta’s comet - Read more >
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:00:00 +0100


Rosetta is revealing its host comet as having a remarkable array of surface features and with many processes contributing to its activity, painting a complex picture of its evolution.



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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