Astronomers Trace Spiral Structure of Milky Way With WISE

Using data from NASA’s WISE spacecraft, astronomers were able to trace the shape of our Milky Way galaxy’s spiral arms, by revealing the presence of hundreds of open clusters of very young stars shrouded in dust, called embedded clusters, which are known to reside in spiral arms. The image shows the location of the […]

Saturn's Massive Phoebe Ring Even Larger Than Previously Thought

Image of the Phoebe ring taken in 2009, overlaid in tan colors. The ring is much larger than Saturn's other more visible rings and is also tilted with respect to the other rings. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/U

Image of the Phoebe ring taken in 2009, overlaid in tan colors. The ring is much larger than Saturn’s other more visible rings and is also tilted with respect to the other rings. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/U. Virginia

Saturn is truly the “Lord of the Rings” and one of the most majestic places in the […]

Between the Planet and the Star: A New Ultra-Cold, Sub-Stellar Object Discovered Close to Sun

An artist’s depiction of the newly discovered WISE J085510.83-071442.5, the coldest known brown dwarf candidate, located 7.2 light-years from the Sun. Image Credit: Penn State University/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Contrary to the human need for organising objects in well-defined and distinct categories, our Solar System seems to be replete with celestial objects that defy our tidy definitions […]

Putting an End to the Planet X Saga? Latest Search for Hypothetical Planet at Edge of Solar System Comes Up Empty

The notion of Planet X, a hypothetical massive planet orbiting the Sun beyond the known reaches of the Solar System, has held great appeal for the general public for many decades. The newest results from NASA’s WISE mission, however, indicate that no such planet exists. Image Credit: Warner Bros.

 

Deeply ingrained in popular […]

It Takes Two to Tango: Astronomers Find Evidence of Possible Black Hole Duo

An artist’s concept of two colliding black holes, in the process of merging. Image Credit: Credit: NASA / CXC / A. Hobart.

“Dancing: A series of movements involving two partners, where speed and rhythm match harmoniously with music.”

— The Computer, explaining the meaning of ‘Dancing’ to the Ship’s Captain – ‘Wall-E’ (2008).

 

NASA's WISE Finds Mysterious Centaurs May Be Comets

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The true identity of centaurs, the small celestial bodies orbiting the Sun between Jupiter and Neptune, is one of the enduring mysteries of astrophysics. Are they asteroids or comets? A new study of observations from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) finds most centaurs are comets.

[…]

New Members of Asteroid Families Discovered by WISE

An asteroid “family” is comprised of fragments of a parent body that was broken up during a collision. Image Credit: NASA / JPL / Caltech

NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has found new members of asteroid families. This was accomplished by reviewing millions of images collected during the asteroid-hunting part of the WISE […]

Does Asteroid 2012 DA14 Spell Armageddon? NASA Says, 'Not So Much' ...

An asteroid will make a very close approach to Earth on Feb. 15, and NASA is preparing for the encounter. Image Credit: Jeff Darling

An asteroid is barreling toward Earth! But no worries … there’s no need to get Bruce Willis into a space shuttle and have him save us with a nuclear weapon […]

NEOs: Too Close For Comfort?

Artist’s impression of an asteroid approaching the Earth. Image Credit: Jeff Darling

Be afraid – but not too afraid. It’s true that at some point, if we don’t take steps to prevent it, a big dumb object is going to smash into the Earth so hard that civilization as we know it will be […]

‘Doomsday Rocks’ Aplenty, Say New NASA Results

"The only question is When?" The movie 'Armageddon' presented Hollywood's version of how humanity might deal with a catastrophic near-Earth object, but the NEOWISE data may offer us a far more realistic awareness of the dangers posed by distant space rocks. Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Move over, Bruce Willis. Your asteroid-hunting, Earth-saving days may […]