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Latest by G. Torbet

Members of the public can help astronomers observe and study the night sky through NASA’s Universe of Learning Exoplanet Watch program.

NASA is asking for your help to study exoplanets

NASA is asking for the public's help in learning more about exoplanets in a citizen science program called Exoplanet Watch.
Illustration of a planet on a black background. The planet is large and rocky. Roughly two-thirds of the planet is lit, while the rest is in shadow.

How James Webb peers into the atmospheres of far-off exoplanets

The James Webb Space Telescope recently detected its first exoplanet, but its real promise is in studying exoplanet atmospheres.
The Falcon Heavy is seen at Launch Complex 39A in Florida.

How to watch the classified SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch tomorrow

Tomorrow will see the fifth launch of SpaceX's heavy-lift vehicle, the Falcon Heavy, performing a classified launch for the US military.
Scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to look deep into the heart of the pair of merging galaxies known as UGC 4211 discovered two black holes growing side by side, just 750 light-years apart. This artist’s conception shows the late-stage galaxy merger and its two central black holes. The binary black holes are the closest together ever observed in multiple wavelengths.

These supermassive black holes are cozying up close together

Two supermassive black holes have been spotted nestled close together in the heart of merging galaxy UGC4211.
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 mission hindered by thruster issue

NASA's Lunar Flashlight spacecraft, a briefcase-sized satellite on its way to the moon, is experiencing difficulties with its thrusters.
NGC 346, shown here in this image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), is a dynamic star cluster that lies within a nebula 200,000 light years away. Webb reveals the presence of many more building blocks than previously expected, not only for stars, but also planets, in the form of clouds packed with dust and hydrogen. 

James Webb captures stunning image of star formation in nearby galaxy

A stunning new image from James Webb is also leading astronomers to rethink their theories about how stars and planets could have formed in the early universe.
(Nov. 27, 2022) --- The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft, loaded with over 7,700 pounds of science, supplies, and cargo, approaches the International Space Station while orbiting 259 miles above the African continent.

How to watch a SpaceX Dragon depart the ISS on Monday

This week will see a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft depart from the International Space Station (ISS) and head back to Earth. Here's how to watch.
mars 2020 perseverance rover

Perseverance rover celebrates its first Martian birthday

The Perseverance rover recently celebrated a milestone: its first Martian year since landing, which marks the end of its primary mission.
The scattered stars of the globular cluster NGC 6355 are strewn across this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. NGC 6355 is a galactic globular cluster that resides in our Milky Way galaxy's inner regions. It is less than 50,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Ophiuchus.

Hubble snaps a cluster in our galaxy bursting with stars

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured a grand image of thousands of densely packed stars in a globular cluster within the Milky Way.
unprocessed image from the WISPR instrument on board NASA’s Parker Solar Probe shows comet NEOWISE

Earth to be visited by once-in-50,000-year comet

Skywatchers will soon be in for a special treat, as a comet which passes our planet just once every 50,000 years should be visible in the skies this month.
This image of the spectacular Sh2-54 nebula was taken in infrared light using ESO’s VISTA telescope at Paranal Observatory in Chile. The clouds of dust and gas that are normally obvious in visible light are less evident here, and in this light we can see the light of the stars behind the nebulae now piercing through.

Peering into clouds of dust to understand star formation

A new image from the European Southern Observatory shows a stunning starscape around the nebula Sh2-54.
These are Hubble Space Telescope images of two massive clusters of galaxies named MOO J1014+0038 (left panel) and SPT-CL J2106-5844 (right panel). The artificially added blue color is translated from Hubble data that captured a phenomenon called intracluster light. This extremely faint glow traces a smooth distribution of light from wandering stars scattered across the cluster. Billions of years ago the stars were shed from their parent galaxies and now drift through intergalactic space.

Hubble sees the ghostly light of lost, wandering stars

Hubble has investigated wandering stars that aren't tied to any particular galaxy and found that they are giving off a ghostly haze of light.
Photo taken on December 24 at 344 km above the moon

South Korean lunar orbiter takes gorgeous images of Earth

A South Korean spacecraft arrived in lunar orbit in December 2022, and it recently sent back a couple of stunning images of Earth as seen from the moon.
NASA’s retired Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere in early January.

Old NASA satellite predicted to reenter the atmosphere tomorrow

Most of a NASA satellite reentering the atmosphere tomorrow is expected to burn up and pose minimal risk, but some debris could reach the surface.
The power of JWST to map galaxies at high resolution and at longer infrared wavelengths than Hubble allows it look through dust and unveil the underlying structure and mass of distant galaxies. This can be seen in these two images of the galaxy EGS23205, seen as it was about 11 billion years ago. In the HST image (left, taken in the near-infrared filter), the galaxy is little more than a disk-shaped smudge obscured by dust and impacted by the glare of young stars, but in the corresponding JWST mid-infrared image (taken this past summer), it’s a beautiful spiral galaxy with a clear stellar bar.

James Webb spots early galaxies similar to our Milky Way

Astronomers have used Webb to discover some of the earliest galaxies with a feature called stellar bars, making them similar to our Milky Way.
A shower of Perseid meteors lights up the sky in 2009 in this NASA time-lapse image.

How to watch the Quadrantids meteor shower this week

As the new year arrives, there's a great chance to catch the Quadrantids meteor shower.
An astronaut aboard the space shuttle Atlantis captured this image of the Hubble Space Telescope on May 19, 2009.

NASA is looking for ideas on how to boost the Hubble Space Telescope

NASA is inviting private companies to submit their proposals for boosting the telescope as a demonstration of how to perform similar operations on satellites.
In this image, the gold-plated Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) Instrument shines after being installed inside the Perseverance rover.

Perseverance rover experiment produces record amount of oxygen on Mars

Inside the belly of the Perseverance rover, currently exploring Mars's Jezero Crater, is a small box with a big job: making oxygen.
This illustration shows the SWOT spacecraft with its antenna mast and solar arrays fully deployed.

See NASA’s newest Earth-monitoring satellite unfurl in space

This month, NASA launched a new satellite which has now unfurled in space ready to begin science operations, with a video showing the unfolding process.
This festive NASA Hubble Space Telescope image resembles a holiday wreath made of sparkling lights. The bright southern hemisphere star RS Puppis, at the center of the image, is swaddled in a gossamer cocoon of reflective dust illuminated by the glittering star. The super star is ten times more massive than our Sun and 200 times larger.

Listen to the festive sounds of space with new NASA sonification

NASA has released a new festive sonification based on an image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope showing the enormous star RS Puppis.
The HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured these images of sand dunes covered by frost just after winter solstice. The frost here is a mixture of carbon dioxide (dry) ice and water ice and will disappear in a few months when spring arrives.

See the otherworldly sights of Mars in the wintertime

While the northern hemisphere of Earth experiences the winter solstice this week, there are also snowy winter scenes to be found on Mars.
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked at the space station.

NASA and Roscosmos still investigating cause of space station leak

Space agencies are investigating the cause of a leak on the space station and are working on a plan to safely return three crew members to Earth.
This image is dominated by NGC 7469, a luminous, face-on spiral galaxy approximately 90 000 light-years in diameter that lies roughly 220 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. Its companion galaxy IC 5283 is partly visible in the lower left portion of this image.

James Webb image shows the bright glowing heart of a galaxy

Astronomers recently shared a stunning new image of space from the James Webb Space Telescope, showing a galaxy with an unusually bright heart.
A portion of the open cluster NGC 6530 appears as a roiling wall of smoke studded with stars in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. NGC 6530 is a collection of several thousand stars lying around 4,350 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius.

See a close-up of the stunning Lagoon Nebula in new Hubble image

Hubble has imaged a cluster of thousands of stars shrouded in dust, which makes up a small part of the huge and beautiful Lagoon Nebula.
A swath of sky measuring 2% of the area covered by the full moon was imaged with Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) in eight filters, and with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide-Field Camera 3 (WFC3) in three filters that together span the 0.25 to 5 micron wavelength range. This image represents a portion of the full PEARLS field, which will be about four times larger.

James Webb survey image shows a field of shining galaxies

Researchers from a Webb survey called PEARLS recently released their first results showing an area of the sky called the North Ecliptic Pole.
NASA’s Juno mission captured this infrared view of Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io on July 5, 2022, when the spacecraft was about 50,000 miles (80,000 kilometers) away. This infrared image was derived from data collected by the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument aboard Juno. In this image, the brighter the color the higher the temperature recorded by JIRAM.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft to investigate Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io

Juno will begin an investigation of the intriguing volcanic moon Io, performing a series of nine flybys.
This sparkling new image depicts a small section of the Carina Nebula, one of the NASA Hubble Space Telescope’s most-imaged objects. The Carina Nebula, NGC 3372, is an enormous cloud of gas and dust home to several massive and bright stars, including at least a dozen that are 50 to 100 times the mass of our Sun.

See Hubble’s take on the famous and beautiful Carina Nebula

The Hubble Space Telescope recently captured a scene made famous by its sibling, the James Webb Space Telescope.
In this illustration super-Earth Kepler-138 d is in the foreground. To the left, the planet Kepler-138 c, and in the background the planet Kepler 138 b, seen in silhouette transiting its central star. Kepler 138 is a red dwarf star located 218 light-years away. The low density of Kepler-138 c and Kepler-138 d — which are nearly identical in size — means that they must be composed largely of water.

Hubble and Spitzer spot two far-off watery worlds

Hubble and Spitzer have identified two planets which seem to be water worlds, with oceans which are 500 times deeper than those on Earth.
nasa swot launch

NASA launches fresh water observation satellite

NASA has launched its first mission to survey fresh water systems from a global perspective.
The location where NASA’s Perseverance will begin depositing its first cache of samples is shown in this image taken by the Mars rover on Dec. 14, 2022, the 646th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

The Perseverance rover is building a sample cache on Mars

Perseverance will soon begin stashing Martian sample tubes in a depot which will eventually hold 10 tubes deposited over around one month.
The Soyuz MS-22 crew ship is pictured docked to the Rassvet module. In the background, the Prichal docking module is attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

Coolant leak in Soyuz docked to ISS is causing temperatures to rise

A leak in a Soyuz craft docked to the International Space Station is causing temperatures to rise but is not putting the crew in danger, according to Roscosmos.
AstroRad Vest

How will NASA keep Mars astronauts safe from cosmic radiation? Here’s the plan

Space is full of dangerous cosmic radiation, and in order to send astronauts to Mars, we'll need to protect them from it. Here's how.
This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures a small portion of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). The SMC is a dwarf galaxy and one of the Milky Way’s nearest neighbors, lying only about 200,000 light-years from Earth. It makes a pair with the Large Magellanic Cloud, and both objects are best seen from the Southern Hemisphere, but are visible from some northern latitudes as well.

Our galactic companion, the Small Magellanic Cloud, sparkles in Hubble image

This week's Hubble image shows the Small Magellanic Cloud, or SMC, which is a satellite galaxy to our Milky Way.
An artist’s impression of the planet Janssen (orange circle), which orbits its star so closely that its entire surface is a lava ocean that reaches temperatures of around 2,000 degrees Celsius.

How the ‘hell planet’ covered in lava oceans got so close to its star

Exoplanet 55 Cancri e, known as the hell planet, reaches temperatures of 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit. Now researchers have a new theory for how it got so hot.