Mystery Deepens: New Study Shows Comets Don't Explain Odd Dimming of Kepler's 'Weird Star'

The mystery surrounding KIC 8462852 may not involve comets after all, but it is still an enigma for astronomers. Image Credit: NASA

The mystery surrounding KIC 8462852 may not involve comets after all, but it is still an enigma for astronomers. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

As has been reported previously on AmericaSpace, and elsewhere, there is something weird going on around a star which is a little over 1,400 light-years away. Astronomers are still baffled as to […]

Dawn Spacecraft Begins Extensive Study of Dwarf Planet Ceres from Lowest Orbit

Artist's conception of Dawn orbiting Ceres. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s conception of Dawn orbiting Ceres. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Dawn spacecraft just recently entered its lowest and final orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, providing the closest look ever at the puzzling world. Dawn will, of course, be taking thousands more high-resolution photographs, but what else will it be doing during the remainder […]

First High-Resolution Images Released of Ceres from Dawn's New Lowest Orbit

One of the first new images taken in Dawn's lowest orbit around Ceres, showing the crater chain called Gerber Catena. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

One of the first new images taken in Dawn’s lowest orbit around Ceres, showing the crater chain called Gerber Catena. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

NASA has released the first images of the dwarf planet Ceres from the Dawn spacecraft’s new lowest orbit. This is the closest view that Dawn will have of Ceres and its intriguing […]

Mystery Solved? Odd Bright Spots on Ceres Explained as Salt Deposits

False color view of Occator crater on Ceres, showing the unusual brights spots. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

False color view of Occator crater on Ceres, showing the unusual bright spots. The image was taken by the framing camera on NASA’s Dawn spacecraft from a distance of about 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

There now might be a definitive answer to a puzzle which has intrigued both scientists and the […]

NASA's Dawn Spirals to Final Science Orbit, Poised to Return Up-Close Images

From NASA/JPL: "This view, made using images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, is a color-coded topographic map of Occator crater on Ceres.  Blue is the lowest elevation, and brown is the highest. The crater, which is home to the brightest spots on Ceres, is approximately 56 miles (90 kilometers wide)." Occator is home to Ceres' "bright spots." Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

From NASA/JPL: “This view, made using images taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, is a color-coded topographic map of Occator crater on Ceres. Blue is the lowest elevation, and brown is the highest. The crater, which is home to the brightest spots on Ceres, is approximately 56 miles (90 kilometers wide).” Occator is home to […]

The Kepler Discovery Controversy: Objects Orbiting New Star Likely Cometary Fragments, Not Aliens

Are the unusual objects around KIC 8462852 a giant swarm of comets or something else? Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)

Are the unusual objects around KIC 8462852 a giant swarm of comets or something else? Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)

There has been a lot of discussion during the past several days regarding a discovery by the Kepler Space Telescope, which, according to some, might be the first evidence for advanced extraterrestrial intelligence, or […]

Unusual Fast-Moving 'Ripples' Discovered in Planetary Debris Disk Surrounding Nearby Star

Hubble and VLT images of the "ripples" within the debris disk surrounding the young star AU Microscopii. Image Credit: ESO/NASA/ESA

Hubble and VLT images of the “ripples” within the debris disk surrounding the young star AU Microscopii. Image Credit: ESO/NASA/ESA

Planetary debris disks, or protoplanetary disks, are some of the most interesting phenomena in astronomy – these giant clouds of dust and gas surrounding young stars are the birthplaces of new planets. Now, astronomers […]

New NASA Planetary Science Proposals Include Venus and 'Metallic Asteroid' Missions

Artist's conception of the VERITAS spacecraft in orbit around Venus. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s conception of the VERITAS spacecraft in orbit around Venus. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Looking ahead to future planetary missions, NASA has selected five new science investigations for refinement over the next year. Later, one or two of those missions will be chosen to actually be launched, perhaps as early as 2020. The selections are […]

Rosetta Scientists Answer Question of How 'Rubber Duck' Comet 67P Got Its Shape

Image from July 14, 2015 showing the double-lobed or "rubber duck" shape of Comet 67P and outgassing of water vapor, gas and dust. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Image from July 14, 2015, showing the double-lobed or “rubber duck” shape of Comet 67P and outgassing of water vapor, gas, and dust. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, or 67P, has been the focus of intense study by the Rosetta spacecraft since 2014. One of the key mysteries scientists […]

A Deeper Understanding: Dawn Reaches Third Science Orbit, Shows Closest View of Ceres Yet

From NASA/JPL: "The Lonely Mountain The Lonely Mountain  NASA's Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers). The mountain, located in the southern hemisphere, stands 4 miles (6 kilometers) high. Its perimeter is sharply defined, with almost no accumulated debris at the base of the brightly streaked slope." This image was taken August 19. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

From NASA/JPL: “The Lonely Mountain: NASA’s Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers). The mountain, located in the southern hemisphere, stands 4 miles (6 kilometers) high. Its perimeter is sharply defined, with almost no accumulated debris at the base of the brightly streaked slope.” […]