Flight Plan for New Horizons' Historic Pluto Flyby Uploaded to Spacecraft as Surface Details Begin to Emerge

New Horizons scientists combined the latest black and white map of Pluto’s surface features (left) with a map of the planet’s colors (right) to produce a detailed color portrait of the planet’s northern hemisphere (center). Photo Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

New Horizons scientists combined the latest black-and-white map of Pluto’s surface features (left) with a map of the planet’s colors (right) to produce a detailed color portrait of the planet’s northern hemisphere (center). Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

New Horizons is now just 11 days from its historic flyby exploration of the Pluto system, some three billion miles […]

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 […]

Pluto Slowly Transitions From Astronomical Point Source to Fascinating World in Latest Images From New Horizons

Pluto is revealed as a fascinating planetary world in these latest images that were taken by New Horizons spacecraft between May 29-June 2. The images show four different “faces” of Pluto as it rotates about its axis with a period of 6.4 days. All the images have been rotated to align Pluto’s rotational axis […]

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 […]

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 […]

Astronomers Determine Progenitors of Supernova Explosions More Varied Than Thought

Computer-generated image of a Type Ia supernova explosion. New research has provided important insights about the progenitor stars of these cataclysmic cosmic events. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/Dana Berry

Type Ia supernova explosions can be considered as some of the Universe’s most spectacular and inviting attractions, signifying the death of very massive stars. With peak luminosities […]

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 […]