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

Asteroid 2014 YB35 to safely flyby Earth on Friday, March 27, 2015

A large asteroid named 2014 YB35 will flyby Earth at a safe distance of 11.6 LD (lunar distances) or about 4.45 million km (2.7 million miles) at 06:20 UTC on Friday, March 27, 2015. This asteroid is approximately 440 - 990 meters in diameter and is traveling at a relat

March 26, 2015

Unexplained warm layer discovered in Venus’ atmosphere

A group of Russian, European and American scientists have found a warm layer in Venus’ atmosphere, the nature of which is still unknown. The researchers made the discovery when compiling a temperature map of the upper atmosphere on the planet’s night side ba

March 26, 2015

Dawn of a new era: the revolutionary ion engine that took spacecraft to Ceres

The NASA spacecraft Dawn has spent more than seven years travelling across the Solar System to intercept the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. Now in orbit around Ceres, the probe has returned the first images and data from these distant objects. But inside

March 23, 2015

How is Mars rover Opportunity still alive?

Today, we review one of the great ongoing mysteries in the history of Mars exploration. In January of 2004, the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity arrived at the red planet about three weeks apart.Due to the extreme dustiness of the Martian environment, it was believed

March 21, 2015

Large underground ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon

Hubble Space Telescope has the best evidence yet for an underground saltwater ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. The subterranean ocean is thought to have more water than all the water on Earth's surface. Identifying liquid water is crucial in the

March 21, 2015

Rosetta makes first detection of molecular nitrogen at a comet

ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has made the first measurement of molecular nitrogen at a comet, providing clues about the temperature environment in which Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko formed, the agency reports.The in situ detection of molecular nitrogen has long been

March 20, 2015

The mystery of solar nanoflares

Nanoflares are eruptions on the Sun which are billion times less energetic than ordinary flares but still have the power that belies their name. They appear as little brightenings of the solar surface at extreme ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths and they might solve a l

March 20, 2015

MAVEN detects unexpected aurora and mysterious dust cloud around Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has observed two unexpected phenomena in the Martian atmosphere: an unexplained high-altitude dust cloud and aurora that reaches deep into the Martian atmosphere.The presence of the dust at orbital altitudes from

March 19, 2015

Supermoon, total solar eclipse and March equinox on March 20, 2015

​A supermoon, total solar eclipse and March equinox will all occur during March 20, 2015. The Moon will turn new at 09:36 UTC which is about 13.5 hours after reaching its closest point to our planet (lunar perigee) and will thus appear larger in size and have a larger

March 17, 2015

New desktop app with potential to increase asteroid detection now available to public

A software application based on an algorithm created by a NASA challenge with the potential to increase the number of new asteroid discoveries by amateur astronomers is now available to the public. The analysis of images using this algorithm showed a 15% increase in pos

March 16, 2015

Large green fireball accompanied by sonic booms observed over Europe

A large green fireball accompanied by sonic booms was observed over European countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland at 19:44 UTC on March 15, 2015.Markus Griesser from the Eschenberg Observatory in Switzerland said the information they received clearly indicates

March 16, 2015

Saturn's moon Enceladus exhibits signs of hydrothermal activity

Data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft provided first clear evidence that Saturn's moon Enceladus exhibits signs of present-day hydrothermal activity which may resemble that seen in the deep oceans on Earth. The implications of such activity on a world

March 15, 2015

"Baffling" Mars plumes are electric

Science news headlines around the world tell of a baffling mystery on the planet Mars. In March of 2012, amateur astronomers spotted enormous plumes jetting from the Martian surface. The plumes were more than 250 km high and several hundreds of kilometers in length.Simi

March 15, 2015

MMS spacecraft in Earth’s Orbit, preparing to study magnetic reconnection phenomenon

Following a successful launch at 02:44 UTC on March 13, 2015, NASA’s four Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft are now positioned in Earth’s orbit and ready to begin the first space mission dedicated to the study of a phenomenon called magnetic reconne

March 13, 2015

Mysterious Lovejoy comets

In the last few years, several of the comets discovered by astronomer Terry Lovejoy have provided astronomers on Earth with dramatic and unexpected displays.From the astonishing 2011 journey of comet c/2011 W3, which survived perihelion just 140,000 km above the Sun&rsq

March 09, 2015

Research suggests Mars had an ocean that covered approximately 20% of the planet

Isotopic measurements by researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center reveal that Mars once had an ocean that covered approximately twenty percent of the planet.Geronimo Villanueva, scientists at Goddard, said their study provides a solid estimate of how much w

March 06, 2015

Dawn spacecraft arrives at dwarf planet Ceres

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has reached dwarf planet Ceres and achieved orbit around it on Friday, March 6, 2015. Dawn was approximately 61 000 km (38 000 miles) away from Ceres when it was captured by its gravity at about 12:39 UTC.Mission controllers at NASA’s Je

March 06, 2015

Why don’t comets melt in the Sun?

Sungrazer comets that survive perihelion extremely close to the Sun is a longstanding puzzle for comet science. In reality, observations going back centuries reveals that a comet’s activity has little or nothing to do with solar warming.Comets sometimes flare or e

March 04, 2015

Giant methane storms on Uranus

Most of the times we have looked at Uranus, it has seemed to be a relatively calm place. Well, yes its atmosphere is the coldest place in the solar system. But, when we picture the seventh planet in our solar system invariably the image of a calming blue hazy disc that

March 02, 2015

Two craters found after bright fireball explodes over Kerala, India

A bright fireball accompanied by sonic boom was seen and recorded falling from the sky over Kerala, India on Friday, February 27, 2015. The fireball left behind orange trail as it descended.The phenomenon reportedly happened at around 17:00 UTC (22:30 local time) and la

March 01, 2015

Night sky guide for March 2015

With fireball season underway there are many reports of bright fireballs coming in from all over the world, the latest coming from India on February 27. The season will last until April. Total solar eclipse will occur on March 20 when the Moon will completely block the

March 01, 2015

Dawn, mission to the asteroid belt - narrated by Leonard Nimoy

Produced in 2007, this overview video about NASA's Dawn mission to giant asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres was released before the spacecraft's launch that year.The mission greatly appreciated Leonard Nimoy's support and participation.Dawn investigated V

February 28, 2015

Astronomers find newborn stars at the edge of the Milky Way galaxy

A team of Brazilian astronomers led by Denilso Camargo of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul have made a remarkable discovery, a cluster of stars forming on the very edge of the Milky Way galaxy. This is the first time astronomers have found stars being born

February 27, 2015

First global rainfall and snowfall map from GPM released

NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission has produced its first global map of rainfall and snowfall, from April to September 2014. The data map combines measurements from 12 satellites and the GPM Core Observatory, launched February 27, 2014. It covers 8

February 27, 2015

Earth’s other ‘moon’ and its crazy orbit could reveal mysteries of the solar system

We all know and love the moon. We’re so assured that we only have one that we don’t even give it a specific name. It is the brightest object in the night sky, and amateur astronomers take great delight in mapping its craters and seas. To date, it is the only

February 25, 2015

Unusual comet skirting past the Sun

An unusual comet named SOHO-2875 is skirting past the Sun since February 18, 2015 and is still visible on LASCO C3 imagery. At first it appeared to be a small object about to be disintegrated by the Sun's heat, but surprisingly it emerged intact and is now brighteni

February 21, 2015

New Horizons spots small moons orbiting Pluto

Exactly 85 years after Clyde Tombaugh’s historic discovery of Pluto, the New Horizons spacecraft set to encounter the icy dwarf planet this summer is providing its first views of the small moons orbiting Pluto. The moons Nix and Hydra are visible in a series of im

February 19, 2015

Very bright fireball seen over Pennsylvania, US

A very bright fireball was seen and recorded by NASA's cameras over Pennsylvania, US at 09:45 UTC (04:45 EST) on February 17, 2015.NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO) said the space rock was about 60 cm (2 feet) in diameter, weighing roughly 226 kg (500 po

February 18, 2015

Massive clouds erupted 260 km into Martian atmosphere - and no one knows why

Enormous cloud-like plumes reaching 260km above the surface of Mars have left scientists baffled. This is way beyond Mars’s normal weather, reaching into the exosphere where the atmosphere merges with interplanetary space. None of the conventional explanations

February 17, 2015

Crystal comets

The “dusty snowball” theory of comets needs attention, since there are crystals that need high temperatures to form in the matrix of at least two.Recently, the composition of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G) was discussed in the scientific press. It

February 16, 2015

Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) successfully launched

After a few days of delay, the Deep Space Climate Observatory or DSCOVR was finally launched at 23:03 UTC on Wednesday, February 11, 2015.DSCOVR was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and

February 12, 2015

New videos released in honor of SDO's 5th anniversary

February 11, 2015 marks five years in space for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which provides incredibly detailed images of the whole Sun 24 hours a day.Capturing an image more than once per second, SDO has provided an unprecedentedly clear picture of how massiv

February 11, 2015