Behold, directly overhead, a certain strange star was suddenly seen...
Amazed, and as if astonished and stupefied, I stood still.

— Tycho Brahe

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Updated: 15 hours 56 min ago

Curiosity Sniffs a Spike in Methane. Could it be a Sign of Life?

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 6:17pm

The Curiosity rover has detected another methane plume on Mars, once again raising the issue of whether or not there could be life somewhere beneath the surface.

The post Curiosity Sniffs a Spike in Methane. Could it be a Sign of Life? appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Third Falcon Heavy Launch Blasts 24 Payloads Into Orbit Including a Solar Sail. Doesn’t Quite Stick the Landing

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 4:35pm

In what Elon Musk is calling their “most difficult” mission so far, SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket for the third time. The launch took place at 2:30 am ET Tuesday from a launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission was called STP-2, and Universe Today sent a photographer to capture all …

The post Third Falcon Heavy Launch Blasts 24 Payloads Into Orbit Including a Solar Sail. Doesn’t Quite Stick the Landing appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Carnival of Space #617

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 3:22pm

Welcome to the 617th Carnival of Space! The Carnival is a community of space science and astronomy writers and bloggers, who submit their best work each week for your benefit. We have a fantastic roundup today so now, on to this week’s worth of stories! Universe Today: Martian Clouds Might Start with Meteor Trails Through …

The post Carnival of Space #617 appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Hubble is the Ultimate Multitasker: Discovering Asteroids While it’s Doing Other Observations

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 1:26pm

It looks like a poster of the famous Hubble Deep Field, marked with white streaks by a child, or put away carelessly and scratched in the process. But it’s not. The white streaks aren’t accidents; they’re the paths of asteroids. A couple years ago, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope was observing very distant galaxies, some …

The post Hubble is the Ultimate Multitasker: Discovering Asteroids While it’s Doing Other Observations appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Uranus’ Rings are Surprisingly Bright in Thermal Emissions

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 4:38pm

New observations by ALMA and the VLT provide the most-detailed look yet at Uranus' system of rings, revealing things about their temperature and particle distribution

The post Uranus’ Rings are Surprisingly Bright in Thermal Emissions appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Messier 88 – the NGC 4501 Spiral Galaxy

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 8:25am

Located in the Coma Berenices constellation, about 50 to 60 million light-years from Earth, is the spiral galaxy known as Messier 88

The post Messier 88 – the NGC 4501 Spiral Galaxy appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

NASA Model Shows Greenland’s Ice Sheet Will Disappear Over the Next 1000 Years, Raising Sea Levels by 7 Meters

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 4:40pm

Great news! Humankind’s greatest-ever engineering project is nearing completion. Soon we will have warmed the Earth enough to get rid of all those pesky ice sheets and other frozen areas. The finish line is in sight. If we all work together for the next thousand years, we’ll finally reach our goal! NASA has been tracking …

The post NASA Model Shows Greenland’s Ice Sheet Will Disappear Over the Next 1000 Years, Raising Sea Levels by 7 Meters appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Deep Space Atomic Clocks Will Help Spacecraft Answer, with Incredible Precision, if They’re There Yet

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 1:29pm

How do spacecraft know where they are? There’s no GPS out there. Right now, it involves sending a signal to the spacecraft which the spacecraft then sends right back to Earth. The elapsed time reveals the distance. But on June 24th, that method could be replaced by something much more autonomous. The method of relaying …

The post Deep Space Atomic Clocks Will Help Spacecraft Answer, with Incredible Precision, if They’re There Yet appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Enceladus is Filled with Tasty Food for Bacteria

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 7:45pm

As soon as the Cassini-Huygens mission arrived the Saturn system in 2004, it began to send back a number of startling discoveries. One of the biggest was the discovery of plume activity around the southern polar region of Saturn’s moon Enceladus’, which appears to be the result of geothermal activity and an ocean in the …

The post Enceladus is Filled with Tasty Food for Bacteria appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Want to Find Aliens? The Largest Dataset in the History of SETI has Been Released to the Public

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:26pm

Breakthrough Listen has just released their latest analysis of the past three years of their SETI research, as well as all the info they collected in that time

The post Want to Find Aliens? The Largest Dataset in the History of SETI has Been Released to the Public appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Stunning Image Shows How Saturn’s Tiny Moon Sculpts the Planet’s Rings

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 4:33pm

The Cassini mission to Saturn ended a year and a half ago, but scientific results are still coming from all of the data it collected. When Cassini moved in closer to Saturn in its final months, it took a very detailed look at the gas giant’s rings, travelling between them and the planet itself. That …

The post Stunning Image Shows How Saturn’s Tiny Moon Sculpts the Planet’s Rings appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Two Earth-Like Worlds Found Orbiting a Red Dwarf Only 12.5 Light-Years Away

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 7:10pm

The CARMENES project has detected two more Earth-like planets that orbit a red dwarf star just 12.5 light years away

The post Two Earth-Like Worlds Found Orbiting a Red Dwarf Only 12.5 Light-Years Away appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Competition Will Let You Name an Exoplanet

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 6:20pm

When it comes to naming all those exoplanets that astronomers keep finding, it’s up to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to do the job. In an effort to reach out to the global community, they’re running a new contest. In honour of their 100 year anniversary, the IAU has organized the 100IAU NameExoWorlds event. “The …

The post Competition Will Let You Name an Exoplanet appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

The Earliest Example of Merging Galaxies Ever Found

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 3:52pm

Galaxy mergers are not particularly rare, but they are important events. Not only for the galaxies involved, but for scientists trying to piece together how galaxies evolve. Now, astronomers using ALMA have found the earliest example yet of merging galaxies. The pair of merging galaxies in question is called B14-65666, an unwieldy name, but scientifically …

The post The Earliest Example of Merging Galaxies Ever Found appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

This is the Closest OSIRIS-REx has Gotten to Bennu. Just 680 Meters Above the Asteroid

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 7:00pm

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been at asteroid Bennu since Dec. 3rd, 2018. On that day, it went from travelling to the asteroid to travelling around it. Since then it’s been surveying and mapping Bennu. Now OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) has reached a new milestone. On June 12th, the spacecraft executed …

The post This is the Closest OSIRIS-REx has Gotten to Bennu. Just 680 Meters Above the Asteroid appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

New Ideas to Reduce Muscle Loss During Spaceflight

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 4:51pm

One of the obstacles to long space missions is the muscle loss that astronauts suffer from. It’s called atrophy, and NASA says that astronauts can lose up to 20% muscle mass during missions of only 5 to 11 days. This muscle loss affects what are called “anti-gravity muscles,” including calf muscles, the quadriceps and the …

The post New Ideas to Reduce Muscle Loss During Spaceflight appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Carnival of Space #616

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 2:55pm

It’s that time again! This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Pamela Hoffman at the Everyday Spacer blog. Click here to read Carnival of Space #616. And if you’re interested in looking back, here’s an archive to all the past Carnivals of Space. If you’ve got a space-related blog, you should really join the carnival. …

The post Carnival of Space #616 appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Weekly Space Hangout: June 19, 2019 – Corey Gray, Lead Operator at the LIGO Hanford Observatory

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 2:37pm

Hosts: Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain) Dr. Kimberly Cartier (KimberlyCartier.org / @AstroKimCartier ) Dr. Morgan Rehnberg (MorganRehnberg.com / @MorganRehnberg & ChartYourWorld.org) Dr. Brian Koberlein (briankoberlein.com / @BrianKoberlein) Tonight we are pleased to welcome Corey Gray, Lead Operator at the LIGO Hanford Observatory. Corey earned dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics from …

The post Weekly Space Hangout: June 19, 2019 – Corey Gray, Lead Operator at the LIGO Hanford Observatory appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Martian Clouds Might Start with Meteor Trails Through the Atmosphere

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 2:02pm

On Earth, clouds form when enough droplets of water condense out of the air. And those droplets require a tiny speck of dust or sea salt, called a condensation nuclei, to form. In Earth’s atmosphere, those tiny specks of dust are lofted high into the atmosphere where they trigger cloud formation. But on Mars? Mars …

The post Martian Clouds Might Start with Meteor Trails Through the Atmosphere appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Inflatable Heat Shield Could Deliver Heavy Payloads to Worlds With a Thick Atmosphere

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 12:40am

NASA is testing out a new inflatable heat shield which could enable them to send heavier missions to Mars, as well as Venus and Titan.

The post Inflatable Heat Shield Could Deliver Heavy Payloads to Worlds With a Thick Atmosphere appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy