Space

Night sky guide for August 2015

Every year, sky watchers in northern hemisphere enjoy in one of the best meteor showers of the year - Perseids. This year, Perseids will peak on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13. This meteor shower is known for its very fast and bright meteors which l

August 01, 2015

Slow moving, very bright fireball turns sky green over Argentina

A slow moving and very bright fireball was observed and recorded over Argentina around midnight UTC on July 31, 2015 (21:00 local time on July 30). Observers say the spectacle lasted about 10 seconds, turning the whole sky green. No sound was associated with the event.

July 31, 2015

Unusual red arcs spotted on the surface of Saturn's icy moon Tethys

New enhanced-color images from NASA's Cassini spacecradr revealed unexplained arc-shaped, reddish streaks on the surface of Saturn's icy moon Tethys. The red arcs are narrow, curved lines on the moon's surface, and are among the most unusual color features o

July 31, 2015

Pluto sends planetary scientists back to the drawing board

Today, physicist Wal Thornhill continues his discussion of NASA’s New Horizons mission to the dwarf planet Pluto. The mission has already provided a number of surprises for planetary scientists.The tiny planet’s geological activity, its apparent age, the stu

July 29, 2015

Blue Moon on July 31, 2015

For the second time this month, the Moon is about to become full, but it most likely won't turn blue, like it's name suggests. According to modern folklore, whenever there are two full Moons in a calendar month, the second one is "blue." Most Blue Moon

July 28, 2015

New Horizons update: Pluto and planetary origins

NASA’s New Horizons mission to the dwarf planet Pluto is attracting international attention to planetary science. And like all recent missions to planets, moons, comets and asteroids, surprising discoveries already abound for scientists on Earth. Giant mountains o

July 26, 2015

NASA's Kepler mission discovers closest Earth twin yet

NASA made an announcement on July 23, 2015 of it's Kepler space telescope spotting the most Earth-like alien planet yet discovered - a world called Kepler-452b that's just slightly bigger than our own and orbits a sun-like star named Kepler-452 at about the same

July 25, 2015

Mystery of equatorial noise solved

A team from MIT, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Sheffield, and elsewhere has detected a remarkably orderly pattern amid the "equatorial noise." The discovery may help scientists to more accurately model the space environment an

July 16, 2015

New Horizons accomplished the historic first-ever flyby of Pluto

New Horizons spacecraft phoned home around 01:00 UTC on July 15, 2015 telling the mission control and the world it had accomplished the historic first-ever flyby of Pluto.The flyby began at 11:49 UTC on July 14 and the spacecraft has been instructed to spend the day gat

July 15, 2015

Tracking space weather for New Horizons

A few months before New Horizons was due to reach Pluto, a community of scientists came together to determine just what kind of a environment the mission would experience during its historic flyby.While the simulations aren't 100% conclusive, this first ever attempt

July 13, 2015

Istok crater on Mars hints at Earth-like climate

A new study of young Istok crater led by Tjalling de Haas of Utrecht University in the Netherlands reveals that Mars, a planet of paradoxes, may have had a climate that resembles that of our own in the recent past.Istok crater, located in the Aonia Terra region of Mars,

July 10, 2015

Our electrically scarred Moon

Half-a-century ago, at the height of the Cold War, the Space Race between two competing superpowers set mankind on an accelerated path toward placing a man on the Moon. In addition to its geopolitical significance, the Moon was central in the evolution of planetary scie

July 10, 2015

Does the solar magnetic field show a North-South divide?

A study of jets travelling through the Sun’s corona at speeds between 200-500 km/s has shown that the fast-moving columns of plasma are deflected much more strongly by the Sun’s magnetic field in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere. A nor

July 09, 2015

A five star, doubly-eclipsing star system discovered

Astronomers at the Open University have discovered the first quintuple star system containing two eclipsing binary stars. While scientists think that about a third of stars are found in pairs or multiple systems, to find five stars connected to each other is very rare.T

July 08, 2015

Neptune’s badly behaved magnetic field modelled in detail

A team of scientists at the Imperial College London have combined 26-year old data with supercomputer simulations and for the first time modelled Neptune's magnetic field in detail. The researchers find that the furthest planet from the Sun has a badly behaved

July 08, 2015

Auroral substorms on Jupiter are not caused by the solar wind, alone

A previous Picture of the Day published in late 2012 quoted Jonathan Nichols from the University of Leicester:“The main aurora oval on Jupiter we think should dim when the solar wind blows harder, but what we see is that actually gets brighter, which is totally

July 07, 2015

After anomaly and temporary loss of communications New Horizons stays on course to Pluto

After NASA's New Horizons spacecraft suffered an anomaly on July 4, which caused temporary loss of communications, mission control announced today the spacecraft is healthy and it continues on its course toward Pluto for a historic July 14 flyby.Contact with the spa

July 06, 2015

Final 'all clear' for historic July 14 Pluto flyby

Having found no potential threats on the way, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft stays course to Pluto, as it speeds closer to it's historic July 14, 2015 flyby of Pluto and it's five moons. Launched from Cape Canaveral on January 19, 2006, New Horizons woke up

July 04, 2015

Night sky guide for July 2015

A spectacular conjunction of Venus and Jupiter will be visible on July 1 with the two planets appearing extremely close, only 0.3 degrees apart.Several weak meteor showers this month will set stage for Perseids, one of the most popular annual meteor showers expected to

July 01, 2015

Venus - volcanically active Solar System body?

Scientists working for the ESA's Venus Express mission have recently presented the best evidence yet for existence of active volcanoes on planet Venus. Previous radar missions have revealed Venus to be covered in volcanoes and lava flows and it is long assumed that

July 01, 2015

Fiery space debris re-entry recorded over Southeastern US

A bright fiery object was observed traveling almost horizontally over Southeastern United States around 05:30 UTC on June 29, 2015 (01:30 EDT). The object was visible for more than 45 seconds and was described by many as having multiple colors and breaking up in pieces.

June 30, 2015

Watching meteors from space: Meteor investigation camera destroyed, again

Eight months after a catastrophic failure of Orbital Cygnus mission to the International Space Station, in which supplies for the Meteor mission were lost, a new special camera was built and is now ready for lift off.Currently scheduled to launch on June 28, 2015, the

June 27, 2015

Earth's magnetic complexity begins to untangle - Swarm mission

After a year in orbit, the three Swarm satellites have provided a first glimpse inside Earth and started to shed new light on the dynamics of the upper atmosphere – all the way from the ionosphere about 100 km above, through to the outer reaches of our protective

June 22, 2015

Rosetta mission conference - update, latest results and what lies ahead

The following video is a replay of media briefing held at the Paris Air Show on June 17, 2015 with members of the Rosetta team. The briefing includes an update on the mission, some of the latest results, and an outline what still lies ahead. ESA’s Rosetta comet-ch

June 17, 2015

Philae lander finally wakes up after 7 months of hibernation, 306 million km from Earth

After about 7 months of hibernation on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, ESA's famous Philae probe finally recharged its batteries on June 13, 2015, enough to contact mission control. Philae probe, its Rosetta mothership and Comet 67P are about 305

June 15, 2015

DSCOVR reached its orbit around 1st Lagrange point

NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), launched on February 11, 2015, has reached its final destination on June 7 and entered orbit around the 1st Lagrange point (L1), the neutral gravity point between the Earth and Sun, approximately 1.5 million km (~1 mil

June 11, 2015

Night sky guide for June 2015

There are no major showers active in June. Weak Ophiuchids will peak on June 20 with the maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible from a dark location around 5 per hour (ZHR). The Moon will be 4 days old at the time, and as such will present minimal interference.F

June 01, 2015

Ceres: an electrically scarred world

In April of 2015, the NASA Dawn Spacecraft began transmitting new, close-up images of the mysterious dwarf planet Ceres. The images to date have only deepened the mystery surrounding the puzzling bright spots on the planet’s surface.However, in addition to this on

May 28, 2015

Martian sunset observed in color by Curiosity rover

Curiosity Mars rover recorded this sequence of views of the Sun setting at the close of the mission's 956th Martian day, or sol (April 15, 2015), from the rover's location in Gale Crater. It was the first sunset observed in color by Curiosity. The four images sh

May 10, 2015

Ecopoiesis - planting an ecosystem on Mars

Taming the brutal environment of Mars for future human explorers to survive and thrive there may demand a touch of “ecopoiesis” – the creation of an ecosystem able to support life.The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program is funding cutting-

May 09, 2015

15 advanced space technology concepts selected for further study

NASA has selected 15 proposals for study under Phase I of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), a program that aims to turn science fiction into science fact through the development of pioneering technologies.The chosen proposals cover a wide range of inventive

May 09, 2015

Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks - May 5/6, 2015

This year's Eta Aquarids, known for their speed, peak during the early morning hours of May 5 - 6. Traveling at about 66 km/s (148 000 mph) into Earth's atmosphere these meteors are leaving glowing trains (incandescent bits of debris in the wake of the meteor) w

May 05, 2015

Night sky guide for May 2015

If not for the nearly full moon spoiling the party, southern hemisphere observers would be in for a special treat when above average meteor shower - Eta Aquarids - peaks on the night of May 5 and the morning of May 6. This meteor shower is capable of producing up to 60

May 01, 2015

MESSENGER mission ends with planned impact on Mercury's surface

NASA's Mercury exploration mission "MESSENGER" ended on Thursday, April 30, 2015 with a planned impact into Mercury's surface at 19:26 UTC. MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft impacted "Shakespeare&

April 30, 2015

3D Earth observations from space

Results from a recent field campaign, which was organised to help investigate the potential of a new Earth observation mission concept, have provided a unique 3D glimpse of the peaks and troughs under the Mittelbergferner glacier in the Austrian Alps, ESA reports today.

April 29, 2015