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Latest by G. Torbet

This collage shows six planetary radar observations of 2011 AG5 a day after the asteroid made its close approach to Earth on Feb. 3. With dimensions comparable to the Empire State Building, 2011 AG5 is one of the most elongated asteroids to be observed by planetary radar to date.

Look at this weird-shaped asteroid NASA just spotted

NASA recently observed an asteroid that is roughly the same dimensions as the Empire State Building.
Artist’s rendition of oxygen, sodium, and potassium aurorae as Io enters Jupiter’s shadow.

Aurorae light up the skies over Jupiter’s four largest moons

One of the great natural wonders of the world are the Northern Lights, but aurorae aren't just limited to Earth -- they are on other planets and moons as well.
This image of the floor of Jezero Crater was taken by one of the Navcam imagers aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on Feb. 5, the 698th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

It’s been 2 years since the Perseverance rover landed on Mars

In that time the rover has collected samples, made audio recordings, created oxygen, deployed a helicopter, taken thousands of images, and much more.
The ISS Progress 82 cargo craft is pictured shortly after docking to the space station in October of 2022.

Another coolant leak affects cargo spacecraft docked to ISS

For the second time in recent months, a Russian spacecraft docked at the International Space Station has leaked coolant. The crew are not in any danger.
Right in the middle of this image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, nestled among a smattering of distant stars and even more distant galaxies, lies the newly discovered dwarf galaxy known as Donatiello II. If you can’t quite discern Donatiello II’s clump of faint stars in this image, then you are in good company. Donatiello II is one of three newly discovered galaxies. All three were missed by an algorithm designed to search astronomical data for potential galaxy candidates. Even the best algorithms have their limitations when it comes to distinguishing very faint galaxies from individual stars and background noise. In such challenging situations, identification must be done the old-fashioned way – by a dedicated human trawling through the data themselves.

Amateur astronomer spots dwarf galaxy that computers missed

There are some tasks that humans are still better at than machines. In this case, we're referring to spotting a dwarf galaxy.
This image shows an artist impression of our Milky Way galaxy in its youth. Five small satellite galaxies, of various types and sizes, are in the process of being accreted into the Milky Way. These satellite galaxies also contribute globular star clusters to the larger galaxy. The Sparkler galaxy provides a snap-shot of an infant Milky Way as it accretes mass over cosmic time.

James Webb Telescope catches a glimpse of young version of the Milky Way

The James Webb Space Telescope has got a glimpse into what our galaxy was like in its formative years by observing a distant galaxy called The Sparkler.
An asteroid roughly the size of Rome’s Colosseum — between 300 to 650 feet (100 to 200 meters) in length — has been detected by an international team of European astronomers using NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. They used data from the calibration of the MIRI instrument, in which the team serendipitously detected an interloping asteroid. The object is likely the smallest observed to date by Webb and may be an example of an object measuring under 1 kilometer in length within the main asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter. More observations are needed to better characterize this object’s nature and properties.

A failed Webb telescope calibration leads to the discovery of this tiny asteroid

Data from a failed calibration of Webb's MIRI instrument has been used to spot a tiny asteroid that measures just a few hundred feet across.
This illustration shows NASA’s Lunar Flashlight carrying out a trajectory correction maneuver with the Moon and Earth in the background. Powered by the small satellite’s four thrusters, the maneuver is needed to reach lunar orbit.

NASA’s Lunar Flashlight satellite won’t make it to its planned orbit

NASA's Lunar Flashlight mission, intended to search the south pole of the moon for water ice, has been hindered by a problem with its thrusters.
Curiosity Rover

Mars Curiosity rover finds evidence of water where it was expected to be dry

Recently, the Curiosity rover has made an intriguing discovery suggesting that water was once present in an area that scientists had thought would be dry.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has observation time devoted to Saturn each year, thanks to the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) program, and the dynamic gas giant planet always shows us something new. This latest image heralds the start of Saturn's "spoke season" with the appearance of two smudgy spokes in the B ring, on the left in the image.

Hubble is investigating mysterious ‘spokes’ in Saturn’s rings

Saturn is famous for its beautiful rings, but these rings have a strange feature: spokes that appear intermittently. Now Hubble is on the case.
Artist's illustration of CAPSTONE approaching the moon.

NASA’s CAPSTONE satellite suffered another wobble but is now working again

NASA's CAPSTONE satellite, in an experimental orbit around the moon, has been experiencing communications problems but is now back and running as it should be.
An artist’s impression of the dwarf planet Quaoar and its ring. Quaoar’s moon Weywot is shown on the left.

Tiny dwarf planet Quaoar has a mysterious ring

The European Space Agency's CHEOPS telescope recently discovered a large ring around the dwarf planet Quaoar which has researchers intrigued.
The Ingenuity helicopter is pictured on the surface of Mars.

Ingenuity helicopter helps researchers learn about dust on Mars

One challenge of Mars exploration is something very small: dust. Now, researchers have used data from Ingenuity to understand more about how dust moves on Mars.
A snapshot of the Tarantula Nebula (also known as 30 Doradus) is featured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The Tarantula Nebula is a large star-forming region of ionized hydrogen gas that lies 161,000 light-years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud, and its turbulent clouds of gas and dust appear to swirl between the region’s bright, newly formed stars.

The Tarantula Nebula glows brightly in this week’s Hubble image

This week's Hubble image captures the huge, bright cloud of dust and gas known as the Tarantula Nebula.
The Blanco Telescope dome at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, where the Dark Energy Camera used for the recently completed Dark Energy Survey was housed.

Astronomers create most accurate map yet of all the matter in the universe

Recent research has produced the most accurate map to date of how both matter and dark matter are spread across the universe.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon cargo capsule lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on the company’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station.

How to watch SpaceX’s Hispasat Amazonas Nexus launch today

Today, Sunday February 5, SpaceX will be performing a launch of a Spanish communications satellite using one of its Falcon 9 rockets. Here's how to watch.
This illustration depicts NASA’s Juno spacecraft soaring over Jupiter’s south pole.

There’s a problem with the Juno spacecraft’s camera

The beloved JunoCam science instrument has recently developed some problems, causing the loss of images collected during a recent flyby of Jupiter.
ISRO's Small Satellite Launch Vehicle launches for the first time from Sriharikota, India on Sunday, August 7.

Indian space agency has figured out what went wrong with its rocket launch

Last summer, ISRO had problems with the launch of its new rocket. Now, the agency has announced the problem was due to a vibration disturbance.
A crowded field of galaxies throngs this Picture of the Month from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, along with bright stars crowned with Webb’s signature six-pointed diffraction spikes. The large spiral galaxy at the base of this image is accompanied by a profusion of smaller, more distant galaxies which range from fully-fledged spirals to mere bright smudges. Named LEDA 2046648, it is situated a little over a billion light-years from Earth, in the constellation Hercules.

See a stunning field of galaxies captured by James Webb Space Telescope

Stunning images from James Webb continue to entrance, and recently the researchers using the telescope have shared a gorgeous image of a field of galaxies.
A single bright blue star dominates the scene against a dark background with many small stars visible in the distance.

Hubble measures the mass of a lonely dead star for the first time

Recent research using the Hubble Space Telescope has measured the mass of a lone white dwarf for the first time.
Comet ZTF stuns in this image taken two weeks before its Earth close approach, on 19 January 2023. Look closely, and you’ll spot that comets have two tails, one made of ionised gas and another of dust. As a comet approaches the inner Solar System, solar radiation causes volatile materials within the comet to vaporise into gas and stream out of the nucleus – the comet’s ‘head’ – carrying dust away with them.

How to see the green comet this week before it leaves us for good

This weekend will see a special visitor to the skies over our planet, as a 50,000-year-old comet will be passing by.
(Jan. 20, 2022) --- Expedition 68 Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) points the camera toward himself and takes a "space-selfie" during a seven-hour and 21-minute spacewalk to install a modification kit on the International Space Station's starboard truss structure preparing the orbital lab for its next roll-out solar array.

How to watch this week’s spacewalk from the ISS

This Thursday, February 2, two astronauts will be performing a spacewalk from the International Space Station (ISS). Here's how to watch.
The bright variable star V 372 Orionis takes center stage in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, which has also captured a smaller companion star in the upper left of this image. Both stars lie in the Orion Nebula, a colossal region of star formation roughly 1,450 light-years from Earth.

Stars sparkle in Orion Nebula in this week’s gorgeous Hubble image

Hubble has captured a scene from the Orion Nebula, located 1,450 light-years away and famous as a stellar nursery where large numbers of new stars are born.
The researchers with their 16.7-pound find. White helmet: Maria Schönbächler. Green helmet: Maria Valdes. Black helmet: Ryoga Maeda. Orange helmet: Vinciane Debaille.

Scientists discover monster 17-pound meteorite in Antarctica

A team of researchers working in Antarctica have discovered a massive meteorite, weighing in at a hefty 17 lbs.
Artist impression of BepiColombo flying by Venus on 10 August 2021. The spacecraft makes nine gravity assist maneouvres (one of Earth, two of Venus and six of Mercury) before entering orbit around the innermost planet of the Solar System.

Two spacecraft worked together to learn about Venus’ magnetic field

A pair of spacecraft happened to be passing by Venus on their way somewhere else, but they managed to grab some bonus data about the planet.
starlink mega constellation satellite network spacex mission 3

How to watch SpaceX’s Starlink launch tomorrow

Tomorrow, Sunday January 29, SpaceX will launch a further batch of Starlink satellites. Here's how to watch.
This image by the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope’s Near-InfraRed Camera (NIRCam) features the central region of the Chameleon I dark molecular cloud, which resides 630 light years away. The cold, wispy cloud material (blue, centre) is illuminated in the infrared by the glow of the young, outflowing protostar Ced 110 IRS 4 (orange, upper left). The light from numerous background stars, seen as orange dots behind the cloud, can be used to detect ices in the cloud, which absorb the starlight passing through them.

James Webb peers into icy cloud to learn about exoplanet formation

Researchers using James Webb have peered into a molecular cloud to look for these ices which could be formed into future exoplanets.
Illustration of Lucy passing by an asteroid.

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft to visit a bonus asteroid later this year

NASA's Lucy spacecraft was to make its first close approach to an asteroid in 2025, but a new plan will see a flyby of a bonus asteroid later this year.
The radio telescope array ALMA has pin-pointed the exact cosmic age of a distant JWST-identified galaxy, GHZ2/GLASS-z12, at 367 million years after the Big Bang. ALMA’s deep spectroscopic observations revealed a spectral emission line associated with ionized Oxygen near the galaxy, which has been shifted in its observed frequency due to the expansion of the Universe since the line was emitted. This observation confirms that the JWST is able to look out to record distances, and heralds a leap in our ability to understand the formation of the earliest galaxies in the Universe.

Age of ancient galaxy discovered by Webb confirmed using ALMA

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, an array of telescopes located in Chile, has confirmed the age of a very distant galaxy using oxygen.
The James Webb Space Telescope.

One of James Webb’s four instruments is offline following error

The James Webb Space Telescope is experiencing an issue with one of its instruments, the Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph or NIRISS.
The European Space Agency's Juice spacecraft will explore Jupiter's icy moons.

Juice spacecraft heading to spaceport ahead of mission to study Jupiter’s moons

Out solar system will soon be getting a new explorer, as a mission to study the moons of Jupiter readies for launch.
An artist's concept of the Geotail spacecraft.

30-year-old mission to study the magnetosphere comes to a close

A 30-year-old NASA-JAXA mission has come to an end with the closing of operations on the Geotail satellite.
A host of astronomical objects throng this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Background galaxies ranging from stately spirals to fuzzy ellipticals are strewn across the image, and bright foreground stars much closer to home are also present, surrounded by diffraction spikes. In the centre of the image, the vague shape of the small galaxy UGC 7983 appears as a hazy cloud of light. UGC 7983 is around 30 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo, and is a dwarf irregular galaxy — a type thought to be similar to the very earliest galaxies in the Universe.

There’s an asteroid surprise in this week’s Hubble image

This week's Hubble image shows the small but intriguing galaxy UGC 7983, thought to be similar to some of the earliest galaxies that existed in the universe.
The planet Venus.

How to watch the conjunction of Venus and Saturn online today

There's a close conjunction of Venus and Saturn in the sky tonight, which you can watch online from the warmth of your home.