AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch Luch-5V on a Proton-M rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan scheduled for 28 Apr 14 4:25:00 GMT

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Surprise Discovery: Rings Around an Asteroid!

Artist’s conception of the asteroid Chariklo with its ring system. Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org)

When it comes to planetary rings, what do you think of? Saturn is the first obvious thing that comes to mind, with its famous majestic ring system surrounding the gas giant planet. The other gas and ice [...]

That Friday Feelin': New Horizons to Pass Key Distance Milestone Today on Journey to Pluto

With 5 Astronomical Units of distance and just 90 weeks to go, New Horizons is primed and ready for its July 2015 rendezvous with Pluto. Image Credit: NASA

Friday is almost universally recognized as an indicator that the weekend draws inexorably closer … but for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, today will mark a milestone [...]

Hubble Space Telescope Discovers New Moon Orbiting Neptune

This composite image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the location of Neptune’s newest known moon, S/2004 N 1, which was discovered by Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute. The black and white portion and the color inset were both taken in 2009. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute).

NASA’s Hubble [...]

It's an Alien Blue World—But Nothing Like Earth

Artist’s conception of exoplanet HD 189733b—a “deep blue dot” reminiscent of Earth from a distance. Image Credit: NASA / ESA / M. Kornmesser

The planets and moons in our Solar System come in a wide variety of colors, and the natural beauty can be breathtaking. Now, the true color of a much more distant [...]

Pluto's Unnamed Moons Given Names by IAU

Two newly discovered moons orbiting Pluto have been given official names by the International Astronomical Union. Image Credit: NASA / STSci

Two of Pluto’s small moons, previously known just as P4 and P5, have been given official names by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Pluto is the god of the underworld in classical mythology, [...]

Undiscovered Country: Of New Horizons and the Kuiper Belt

Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, seen here in an image from the Voyager 2 flyby, is thought to be a captured Kuiper Belt Object. Photo Credit: NASA.

Starting at about the orbit of Neptune and stretching out to roughly 50 astronomical units (1 AU = Earth-Sun distance), or 7.5 billion kilometers from the Sun, is [...]

What Will We Find At Pluto?

NASA’s first mission to the dwarf planet Pluto is two years away from its destination. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Buie Southwest Research Institute

Something odd happened a few months after NASA’s deep space probe New Horizons was launched Jan. 19, 2006—its target got demoted from a planet to a “dwarf planet.” In [...]

The Search for Alien Life Part 2: In the Realm of the Gas Giants

The trailing hemisphere of Jupiter’s moon Europa as imaged by Galileo. Photo Credit: NASA

Beyond the main asteroid belt lie the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn and their impressive retinues of moons. What chances for life are out here in the frozen wastes of the solar system? At first glance, you’d imagine none. The [...]

Planet Directly Observed Orbiting Distant Star

This false-color near-infrared image has been processed to remove most of the scattered light from the star Kappa Andromedae (masked out at center).The “super-Jupiter” companion, Kappa Andromedae b (upper left), lies at a projected distance of about 55 times the average distance between Earth and the sun and about 1.8 times farther than Neptune, [...]

Voyagers Press On Towards the Edge

The Voyagers have each passed their 35th birthdays and – despite having had several scientific instruments shut down, due to power limitations, in recent years – they both continue to enhance our understanding of the outer reaches of the Sun’s realm. Image Credit: NASA

If you are a traditionalist, you might choose a gift [...]