The Women Behind the New Horizons Mission and New Pluto Map

The women of the New Horizons team, photographed at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory on July 11, 2015, just three days before the spacecraft’s closest approach to Pluto. Kneeling from left to right: Amy Shira Teitel, Cindy Conrad, Sarah Hamilton, Allisa Earle, Leslie Young, Melissa Jones, Katie Bechtold, Becca Sepan, Kelsi Singer, Amanda […]

The Science of Pluto: The Gates of the Planetary Underworld (Part 1)

A computer-generated impression of the view from the surface of Pluto. The Sun looks like a very bright star on the sky (upper right), while Charon, Pluto’s biggest satellite, looms large near the horizon (at left). The scientific study of the Pluto-Charon system, has been one of expanding horizons and increased awareness of our […]

The Case of the Helium-Shrouded Exoplanet With the Hydrogen, Comet-Like Tail

An artist's concept of the vast envelope of atomic hydrogen that envelopes the nearby helium-dominated exoplanet Gliese 436b. The radiation pressure from the planet's host star causes the gradual escape over time of significant amounts of hydrogen from Gliese 436b's atmosphere into space, which subsequently forms a large comet-like tail that follows the planet in its orbit around its star. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

An artist’s concept of the vast envelope of atomic hydrogen that envelopes the nearby helium-dominated exoplanet Gliese 436b. The radiation pressure from the planet’s host star causes the gradual escape over time of significant amounts of hydrogen from Gliese 436b’s atmosphere into space, which subsequently forms a large comet-like tail that follows the planet […]

Alien Ocean: All Systems Go for New NASA Mission to Europa

Artist's conception of the Europa Clipper during a flyby of Europa. Image Credit: NASA

Artist’s conception of the Europa Clipper during a flyby of Europa. Image Credit: NASA

After many years of people hoping and waiting, NASA has announced that a new mission to Europa has successfully completed its first major review by the agency and now is entering the development phase, known as formulation. In other words, […]

Astronomers Get Rare Glimpse of the 'Nasty' Lifestyles of Massive Stars

Artist’s illustration of the vast disk of gas surrounding the massive and bright Wolf-Rayet star NaSt1, affectionately nicknamed ‘Nasty 1′. Observations with the Hubble and Chandra space telescopes revealed that contrary to other Wolf-Rayet stars, NaSt1 is feeding material into its companion star (shown here by the bridge of bright material connecting the two […]

Hubble Reveals Fascinating and Chaotic Properties of Pluto's Moons

Using a set of archival data that were taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. astronomers were able to conduct the most comprehensive and detailed study to date of Pluto’s four smaller moons, Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx. This artist’s illustration shows the scale and comparative brightness of these small satellites, as discovered by Hubble […]

New Study Reassesses Habitability of Exoplanets Around Multiple Star Systems

An artist’s concept of Kepler-47, which was the first-ever planetary system to be discovered orbiting a binary star. A new research that was based on data taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope provides stringest limits to the potential habitablity of exoplanets in several such systems. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

One defining scientific revolution of […]

Cloudy With a Chance of Sunshine: Astronomers Study Weather on Distant Exoplanets

An artist’s rendering of the possible weather and atmospheric circulation patterns on hot Jupiters. A new research by a team of astronomers that was based on data taken with NASA’s Kepler space telescope, studied the phase variations that occur as different portions of these planets are illuminated by their host stars as seen from […]

To the Edge of Time: Celebrating 25 Years of Hubble Science (Part 4)

The breathtaking image of the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field, which was created from data that had been collected with the Hubble Space Telescope in 2003 and 2004. In order for the image to be created, the space telescope pointed towards a small patch of the sky for a total of 50 days, while the […]

Worlds Beyond Our Own: Celebrating 25 Years of Hubble Science (Part 3)

A stunning image of a giant cluster of about 3,000 stars, called Westerlund 2, which lies approximately 20,000 light-years away from Earth. This image was officially selected by NASA to commemorate the 25th anniversary since the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, on April 24, 1990. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team […]