AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch AFSPC-4 on a Delta 4 - Medium+ rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL scheduled for 23 Jul 14 23:03:00 GMT

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Kepler Phase 2: Planet-Hunting Space Telescope's New Mission Proposal Approved

Illustration of how the new K2 mission will work, using solar pressure to help stabilize the telescope. Image Credit: NASA Ames / W. Stenzel

There is some good news for planet-hunters this week: The proposed K2 mission extension for the Kepler Space Telescope has been been approved by NASA. The approval, based on a recommendation from [...]

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 [...]

Hubble Spies Massive Black Hole-Fueled Space Slinky

Video courtesy of NASA

In an effort to understand how black holes shape the evolution of galaxies, astronomers spent eight months creating a series of time-lapse movies from 400 observations made by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The movies, taken from observations conducted over a 13-year period from 1995-2008, show a 5,000-mile-long jet [...]

Kepler Recovery Efforts Conclude, Other Missions Mulled

Image Credit: NASA

After several months’ worth of review and testing, the team operating the Kepler Space Telescope has opted to close its efforts to make Kepler fully operational again. This follows the loss of one of the crucial components that controls the alien planet-hunting spacecraft. In an Aug. 15 teleconference, Charles Sobeck, deputy [...]

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 [...]

Can Kepler Be Saved? Engineering Team to Attempt Recovery of Ailing Space Telescope

Artist’s illustration of Kepler in orbit. Image Credit: NASA / Kepler mission / Wendy Stenzel

The Kepler space telescope has been nothing short of incredible, revolutionizing our understanding of exoplanets and showing just how common and diverse they really are (as the saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction). Recently, however, additional mechanical problems [...]

Hubble Space Telescope Reveals Evidence of Farthest Known Planet From Its Star

A gap in the protoplanetary disk of dust and gas whirling around TV Hydrae uncovered evidence of an unseen, growing planet, according to astronomers studying Hubble data. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Debes (STScI), H. Jang-Condell (University of Wyoming), A. Weinberger (Carnegie Institution of Washington), A. Roberge (Goddard Space Flight Center), G. Schneider (University [...]

Sifting Through the Atmospheres of Far-off Worlds

This image shows the HR 8799 planets with starlight optically suppressed and data processing conducted to remove residual starlight. The star is at the center of the blackened circle in the image. The four spots indicated with the letters b through e are the planets. This is a composite image using 30 wavelengths of [...]

Astronomy at the High Frontier

Hubble Space Telescope, as seen from the Shuttle Atlantis during the fourth servicing mission in May 2009. Photo Credit: NASA

The atmosphere is a problem for astronomers for two big reasons: it’s turbulent, so it smears out the light from cosmic objects, and it blocks out huge swathes of the electromagnetic spectrum. To see [...]

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, [...]