Space

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

Large fireball observed over UK on April 26, 2015

A large fireball has been observed over the United Kingdom around 21:10 UTC on April 26, 2015. "The first image came from Graham Roche, and it looks like a very large fireball, could be around -10 magnitude or even brighter," the United Kingdom Meteor Observat

April 28, 2015

A satellite revolution in oceanography

Plymouth is one of England’s historic port cities, a place from which sailors, soldiers and scientists have set off to sea for centuries. Today there’s a new twist to the tale though, as oceanographers now have a huge fleet of satellites in space to add to t

April 27, 2015

Mars might have liquid water

Researchers have long known that there was water in the form of ice on Mars. Now, new research from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows that it is possible that there is liquid water close to the surface of Mars. The explanation is that the substance perchlorate

April 22, 2015

Lyrid meteor shower peaks on April 23, 2015

Lyrid meteor shower will reach its maximum activity this year on the morning of April 23, 2015. The Moon will be 5 days old at the time, and so will present minimal interference. Lyrid meteors are known for their luminous dust trains observable for several seconds.The p

April 21, 2015

Gamma-ray spectrometer prompts researchers to rethink how Mercury formed

A versatile instrument developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists and riding on the first spacecraft to ever orbit Mercury is causing researchers to rethink their theories on the planet’s formation.Known as the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer,

April 19, 2015

Scientists identify missing wave near Jupiter’s equator

In the clouds of Jupiter, scientists have found evidence of a type of atmospheric wave that had long been proposed but had not been identified in images before now.Researchers consider this kind of wave, called a Kelvin wave, a fundamental part of a planetary atmosphere

April 19, 2015

Dawn's new Ceres color map reveals surface diversity

A new color map of dwarf planet Ceres, which NASA's Dawn spacecraft has been orbiting since March 2015, reveals the diversity of the surface of this planetary body. Differences in morphology and color across the surface suggest Ceres was once an active body, Dawn

April 14, 2015

Does gravity alone rule the cosmos?

For nearly three years we have reported on countless discoveries that challenge the foundations of modern cosmology and astrophysics. Today we routinely hear of celestial objects ranging in scale from stars, galaxies and quasar groups that should not exist if the standa

April 12, 2015

Daylight fireball explodes over Kosice, Slovakia

A bright meteor was observed and recorded over eastern Slovakia on April 6, 2015. The event happened around 16:30 UTC (18:30 local time).One video of the meteor was taken from a car in the Hungarian town of Rakospalota, and another in a second car in the Slovak city of

April 11, 2015

Are bright spots on Ceres electric?

In March, the NASA Dawn Spacecraft entered the orbit of the mysterious dwarf planet Ceres, with the craft scheduled to begin sending images to Earth later this month.For several weeks, surprising and unexplained bright spots within a crater on the planet’s surface

April 08, 2015

Total lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015

A total lunar eclipse will occur on April 4, 2015. This is the shortest total lunar eclipse of the century and third of four total lunar eclipses separated by approximately 6 months, a rare phenomenon astronomers call a 'tetrad.' The first two were on April 15 a

April 03, 2015

The electrochemistry of Comets with Dr. Franklin Anariba

It is a great paradox in comet science: We are told that a comet nucleus is a ball of ice, or dirty snowball, or icy fluff ball that accreted billions of year ago in the solar system’s infancy. Comets are said to sublimate ices as they move toward the sun, and

April 01, 2015

Night sky guide for April 2015

This month is marked by the third of four total lunar eclipses separated by approximately 6 months - tetrad - which will occur at 12:00 UTC on April 4, 2015. The Moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red color. The eclipse will be visible thro

April 01, 2015

Millions of images observed by NEOWISE now available to the public

Millions of images of celestial objects, including asteroids, observed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft are now available online to the public. The data was collected following the restart of the asteroid-seeking s

March 27, 2015

Primordial plasma: Hot gas or streams of charged particles?

Complex rings, knots, and twisted streamers are often ejected from stars (and other celestial objects). The overall shape of so-called “planetary nebula” sometimes reveal gigantic, bifurcated jets emerging from the central star, indicating the beginnings of

March 27, 2015