Latest Astronomy Stories

Galactic Pyrotechnics on Display
2014-07-03 10:58:10

NASA/JPL Celebrants this Fourth of July will enjoy the dazzling lights and booming shock waves from the explosions of fireworks. A similarly styled event is taking place in the galaxy Messier 106, as seen by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Herschel Space Observatory. Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with important NASA contributions. [ Watch the Video: Zooming In On Messier 106 ] Energetic jets, which blast from Messier 106's central black...

Ocean On Saturnian Moon Titan May Be As Salty As The Dead Sea
2014-07-03 10:00:08

Gerard LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online The inner ocean of Saturn’s largest moon Titan may be as salty as the Dead Sea, according to scientists with NASA’s Cassini mission, which has been collecting gravity and topographic data from the distant Saturnian satellite over the last ten years. After studying the data, researchers built a model structure of Titan, resulting in a better understanding of the moon’s outer ice shell. The study was published this week in the...

Umbrella Galaxy
2014-07-03 04:44:09

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Astronomers are hoping to gain a new understanding of how galaxies grow from watching a distant “twin” of the Milky Way as it is swallowing another galaxy. Dr. Caroline Foster of the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) led the team that has been studying NCG 4651, called the Umbrella galaxy for the “parasol” of stars that are all that remain of the galaxy being consumed. Umbrella can be found approximately 62 million...

star formation region Gum 15
2014-07-02 10:48:50

European Southern Observatory The little-known cloud of cosmic gas and dust called Gum 15 is the birthplace and home of hot young stars. Beautiful and deadly, these stars mold the appearance of their mother nebula and, as they progress into adulthood, will eventually also be the death of her. This image was taken as part of the ESO Cosmic Gems program [1] using the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. It shows Gum 15, located in the...

Early Sun's Violent Beginnings May Have Unlocked The Mystery Of Milky Way Meteorites
2014-07-01 14:36:46

Gerard LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Observations of a Sun-like star through the Herschel Space Observatory may have unlocked the mystery of meteorites in our own galaxy, according to European Space Agency (ESA) astronomers. Astronomers are studying young stars in faraway areas of the galaxy, discovering they have a violent beginning, much as our own sun did 4.5 billion years ago. Herschel is surveying the chemical composition of stars being born and a team of...

IRIS Solar Observatory After 1 Year In Space
2014-06-27 03:09:48

[ Watch The Video: A First For IRIS: Observing A Gigantic Solar Eruption ] Karen C. Fox, NASA On June 27, 2013, NASA's newest solar observatory was launched into orbit around Earth. The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, observes the low level of the sun's atmosphere -- a constantly moving area called the interface region -- in better detail than has ever been done before. During its first year in space, IRIS provided detailed images of this area, finding even more...

European Space Agency Selects Athena Advanced Telescope For Study Of High-Energy Astrophysics
2014-06-27 09:41:59

Gerard LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online The European Space Agency (ESA) is in the process of launching a second “Large-class” mission to explore the universe for high-energy astrophysics and selected the Athena advanced telescope for the task. The mission is scheduled for launch in 2028 to study the hot and energetic Universe as part of ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015 to 2025 plan. Athena is a large X-ray telescope combined with state-of-the-art scientific instruments...

Potentially Habitable Exoplanet With Earth-Like Temperatures Found
2014-06-27 08:24:53

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online Astronomers have discovered a new, potentially habitable Super-Earth believed to possess temperatures comparable to those found here, but with much larger seasonal shifts, provided the atmosphere is similar to our planet's own. Dr. Robert A. Wittenmyer, a researcher at UNSW Australia specializing in the detection and characterization of extrasolar planets, and his colleagues located the new Super-Earth in orbit around the nearby...

New Evidence Explains How The 'Pillars Of Creation' Came Into Being
2014-06-27 06:48:02

Gerard LeBlond for redorbit.com - Your Universe Online [ Watch the Video: How The ‘Pillars of Creation’ Were Created ] The 'Pillars of Creation' is one of the most famous images observed by the Hubble Space Telescope. It shows cooler interstellar gases being eroded by intense radiation and wind from nearby massive stars. The image was photographed in 1995. Scott Balfour, an astronomer from Cardiff University produced a similar simulation and suggests that the stars that make the...

captured asteroid
2014-06-27 04:02:00

Gerard LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online [ Watch the Video: Plasma Simulation Of The Solar Wind And A Near-Earth Asteroid ] Space appears to be an endless vacuum void of sound, but it’s not. Electric activity not visible to the naked eye emerges from asteroids drifting through space, and NASA is now in the process of sending astronauts to an asteroid to explore its electrical environment. Solar winds from the sun travel through space about a million miles per hour and...

Latest Astronomy Reference Libraries

Stellar Astrophysics
2014-01-12 00:00:00

The prominent feature that allows for the existence of life on Earth is the Sun. Radiation from our closest star provides heat and energy to our planet, driving biological processes and providing the necessary conditions for liquid water to naturally exist. But our Sun is only but one star in this vast Universe. And as it turns out, most stars are quite different than the one that illuminates our day. For this reason, scientists have, for hundreds of years, attempted to study the other...

Planetary Astronomy
2014-01-12 00:00:00

Image Caption: Artistic concept of a planetary system. Credit: Wikipedia/NASA/JPL-Caltech The term Astronomy encompasses a broad range of topics, including the study of stars, galaxies, and planets. In order to focus on the different areas of study, many subfields of astronomy emerge. One such area is the study of planets known, appropriately, as Planetary Astronomy. Observational Planetary Astronomy Even within the field of Planetary Astronomy, there are several divisions to...

2014-01-12 00:00:00

Image Caption: The Hubble Extreme Deep Field (XDF) was completed in September 2012 and shows the farthest galaxies ever photographed by humans. Each speck of light in the photo is an individual galaxy, some of them as old as 13.2 billion years; the observable universe is estimated to contain more than 200 billion galaxies. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia What is Cosmology? I once commented to an acquaintance that I was fascinated by the field of Cosmology, and mused that if I had more time, I...

2014-01-12 00:00:00

Image Caption: NGC 4414, a typical spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices, is about 56,000 light-years in diameter and approximately 60 million light-years distant. Credit: NASA/ESA/Wikipedia What is Astrophysics? For much of the modern age the term Astrophysics has been used synonymously with Astronomy. This interchange is so common that many textbooks even offer the two as having the same meaning. However, from a strictly historical perspective there are differences...

Tropic of Capricorn
2013-02-21 13:31:57

The Tropic of Capricorn, alternately called the Southern Tropic, is a marker of the most southerly latitude on the Earth at which the Sun can be directly overhead. This occurs at the December solstice, when the southern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun at its maximum degree. It is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. It presently lies 23 degrees 26’ 16’’ south of the Equator. Currently, the Tropic of Capricorn is drifting towards the north at...

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Word of the Day
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.