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Latest by G. Torbet

NASA’s Psyche spacecraft is shown in a clean room at the Astrotech Space Operations facility near the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Dec. 8, 2022. DSOC’s gold-capped flight laser transceiver can be seen, near center, attached to the spacecraft.

Psyche spacecraft sends data back to Earth using lasers for the first time

NASA's experimental laser communication system, riding along with the Psyche spacecraft, has transmitted Psyche data from over 140 million miles away.
A Tour of Cassiopeia A & Crab Nebula Timelapses

See incredible time lapses of two of space’s most famous objects

Two striking time lapses from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory show how two famous objects have changed over the last two decades.
In celebration of the 34th anniversary of the launch of NASA’s legendary Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers took a snapshot of the Little Dumbbell Nebula, also known as Messier 76, or M76, located 3,400 light-years away in the northern circumpolar constellation Perseus. The name 'Little Dumbbell' comes from its shape that is a two-lobed structure of colorful, mottled, glowing gases resembling a balloon that’s been pinched around a middle waist. Like an inflating balloon, the lobes are expanding into space from a dying star seen as a white dot in the center. Blistering ultraviolet radiation from the super-hot star is causing the gases to glow. The red color is from nitrogen, and blue is from oxygen.

Celebrate Hubble’s 34th birthday with this gorgeous nebula image

Tomorrow is the 34th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble. To celebrate, Hubble scientists have shared an image of the striking Little Dumbbell Nebula.
NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft is depicted in this artist’s concept traveling through interstellar space, or the space between stars, which it entered in 2012.

Voyager 1 spacecraft is still alive and sending signals to Earth

NASA has announced that it is back in contact with Voyager 1, around five months after communications with the spacecraft were disrupted.
The JunoCam instrument on NASA’s Juno captured this view of Jupiter’s moon Io — with the first-ever image of its south polar region — during the spacecraft’s 60th flyby of Jupiter on April 9.

See a flyby of Io, a hellish moon with lakes of lava and an otherworldly mountain

NASA's Juno spacecraft has been investigating Jupiter's moon Io, the most volcanically active body in the solar system, and has observed some dramatic features.
Astronomers have found the most massive stellar black hole in our galaxy, thanks to the wobbling motion it induces on a companion star. This artist’s impression shows the orbits of both the star and the black hole, dubbed Gaia BH3, around their common centre of mass. This wobbling was measured over several years with the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission. Additional data from other telescopes, including ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, confirmed that the mass of this black hole is 33 times that of our Sun. The chemical composition of the companion star suggests that the black hole was formed after the collapse of a massive star with very few heavy elements, or metals, as predicted by theory.

Biggest stellar black hole to date discovered in our galaxy

Astronomers have discovered a large stellar mass black hole that weighs 33 times the mass of the sun and is located just 2,000 light-years away.
This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the barred spiral galaxy UGC 12158 looks like someone took a white marking pen to it. In reality it is a combination of time exposures of a foreground asteroid moving through Hubble’s field of view, photobombing the observation of the galaxy. Several exposures of the galaxy were taken, which is evidenced by the dashed pattern.

Hubble discovers over 1,000 new asteroids thanks to photobombing

Astronomers have used 19 years' worth of Hubble data to detect over 1,000 previously unknown asteroids in our solar system.
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen here in a close-up taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard the Perseverance rover. This image was taken on April 5, the 45th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

Final communications sent to the beloved Ingenuity Mars helicopter

NASA's hugely successful Mars helicopter Ingenuity will continue saving data in case future explorers should come its way again.
An illustration of NASA's Sample Return Lander shows it tossing a rocket in the air like a toy from the surface of Mars.

NASA needs a new approach for its challenging Mars Sample Return mission

NASA is seeking new ideas for its Mars Sample Return mission after admitting that its previous plan to bring samples from Mars back to Earth was too ambitious.
The subject of this image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is the spiral galaxy IC 4633, located 100 million light-years away from us in the constellation Apus. IC 4633 is a galaxy rich in star-forming activity and also hosts an active galactic nucleus at its core. From our point of view, the galaxy is tilted mostly towards us, giving astronomers a fairly good view of its billions of stars.

Hubble spots a bright galaxy peering out from behind a dark nebula

A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a galaxy partly hidden by a huge cloud of dust known as a dark nebula.
Clumps of debris from a disrupted planetesimal are irregularly spaced on a long and eccentric orbit around the white dwarf. Individual clouds of rubble intermittently pass in front of the white dwarf, blocking some of its light. Because of the various sizes of the fragments in these clumps, the brightness of the white dwarf flickers in a chaotic way.

This is how the world ends: swallowed or shredded by a dying sun

Researchers recently studied the status of dead stars called white dwarfs, giving a glimpse at what our own solar system will look like in 5 billion years.
This image, taken with the VLT Survey Telescope hosted at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, shows the beautiful nebula NGC 6164/6165, also known as the Dragon’s Egg. The nebula is a cloud of gas and dust surrounding a pair of stars called HD 148937.

This beautiful nebula holds a starry mystery at its heart

A gorgeous nebula turns out to hold a surprise at its center: a pair of stars that don't match as they should.
The Moon’s shadow, or umbra, is pictured from the space station as it orbited into the path of the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

See what the solar eclipse looked like from space

The astronauts on board the International Space Station caught a stunning glimpse of this week's solar eclipse, and NASA has shared some images.
Still from the NASA livestream of the total eclipse in Russellville, Arkansas on March 8, 2024.

The first views of the eclipse are coming in, and they’re stunning

Eclipse mania is gripping swaths of the U.S. today as a total solar eclipse passes across the country from Texas to Maine.
For the first time, potential signs of the rainbow-like ‘glory effect’ have been detected on a planet outside our Solar System. Glory are colourful concentric rings of light that occur only under peculiar conditions. Data from ESA’s sensitive Characterising ExOplanet Satellite, Cheops, along with several other ESA and NASA missions, suggest this delicate phenomenon is beaming straight at Earth from the hellish atmosphere of ultra-hot gas giant WASP-76b, 637 light-years away.

First indications of a rare, rainbow ‘glory effect’ on hellish exoplanet

Researchers believe they may have identified a set of rainbow-like colorful rings, called a glory, on a planet outside our solar system for the first time.
An artistic celebration of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) year-one data, showing a slice of the larger 3D map that DESI is constructing during its five-year survey. By mapping objects across multiple periods of cosmic history with extremely high precision, DESI is allowing astronomers to make unprecedented measurements of dark energy and its effect on the accelerating expansion of the Universe.

Is dark energy changing over time? A new survey suggests it could be

New results from a survey into dark energy show a look back  11 billion years into the past, with the largest ever 3D map of the universe.
An artist’s concept design of NASA’s Lunar Terrain Vehicle.

These 3 companies are developing NASA’s new moon vehicle

Today, NASA announced the three companies that will be developing its new lunar vehicle: Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost, and Venturi Astrolab.
A team of astronomers used the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope to survey the starburst galaxy Messier 82 (M82), which is located 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. M82 hosts a frenzy of star formation, sprouting new stars 10 times faster than the Milky Way galaxy. Webb’s infrared capabilities enabled scientists to peer through curtains of dust and gas that have historically obscured the star formation process. This image from Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) instrument shows the centre of M82 with an unprecedented level of detail. With Webb’s resolution, astronomers can distinguish small, bright compact sources that are either individual stars or star clusters. Obtaining an accurate count of the stars and clusters that compose M82’s centre can help astronomers understand the different phases of star formation and the timelines for each stage.

James Webb images capture the galactic winds of newborn stars

A stunning new pair of images from the James Webb Space Telescope show a new view of a familiar galaxy: Messier 82.
Photograph of the camera, with one of the colour filters positioned in place.

The world’s largest digital camera for astronomy is ready to go

Ready to scan the night sky for evidence of dark matter and to identify near-Earth asteroids, the camera for the upcoming Vera Rubin Observatory is complete.
Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks photographed in March 2024.

The ‘Devil Comet’ will be visible during the solar eclipse in April

Not only will April bring a rare total solar eclipse, but there's also the chance to view the dramatically named Devil Comet.
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration, who produced the first ever image of our Milky Way black hole released in 2022, has captured a new view of the massive object at the center of our Galaxy: how it looks in polarized light. This is the first time astronomers have been able to measure polarization, a signature of magnetic fields, this close to the edge of Sagittarius A*. This image shows the polarized view of the Milky Way black hole. The lines mark the orientation of polarization, which is related to the magnetic field around the shadow of the black hole.

Stunning image shows the magnetic fields of our galaxy’s supermassive black hole

The Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, the group that took the historic first ever image of a black hole, is back with a new stunning black hole image.
An artist's impression of ESA’s Euclid mission in space.

Euclid space telescope’s vision cleared thanks to deicing

The Euclid Space Telescope is fully operational after a deicing procedure removed small amounts of water ice from its mirror.
A person watches the annular solar eclipse of October 14, 2023, in Kerrville, Texas.

How to safely watch April’s total solar eclipse, in person or online

Next month will see a rare and exciting astronomical event: a total solar eclipse that will be viewable across much of North America. Here's how to watch it.
FS Tau is a multi-star system made up of FS Tau A, the bright star-like object near the middle of the image, and FS Tau B (Haro 6-5B), the bright object to the far right that is partially obscured by a dark, vertical lane of dust. The young objects are surrounded by softly illuminated gas and dust of this stellar nursery. The system is only about 2.8 million years old, very young for a star system. Our Sun, by contrast, is about 4.6 billion years old.

Hubble captures the dramatic jets of a baby star

A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the drama that unfolds as a new star is born.
This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the irregular galaxy UGC 5829.

Hubble images the spooky Spider Galaxy

A recent image from Hubble shows an irregular galaxy, the spindly arms and clawed shape of which has led to it being named the Spider Galaxy.
The Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 23, 2024

Russian Soyuz on its way to ISS after being delayed due to electrical issue

A trio of crew members are on their way to the International Space Station on a Soyuz spacecraft following a rescheduled launch caused by an electrical issue.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, on the company’s 29th commercial resupply services mission for the agency to the International Space Station.

Here’s the new science that’s launching to the ISS today

Today will see the launch of not only a group of astronauts visiting the ISS, but also a uncrewed cargo mission sent to resupply the station.
NASA astronaut Tracy C. Dyson, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, and spaceflight participant Marina Vasilevskaya of Belarus pose for a portrait at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center on Nov. 2, 2023.

How to watch three crew members launch to the ISS on Thursday

This Thursday will see the launch of one NASA astronaut and two other crew members to the International Space Station (ISS). Here's how to watch.
Artist's impression of the Euclid mission in space.

Get out the scrapers: Euclid space telescope is getting deiced

If you thought it was annoying to deice your car in the winter, then spare a thought for the engineers whose job it is to deice telescopes in space.
spacex starship third test flight screenshot 2024 03 14 143605

SpaceX’s Starship reaches orbit on third test flight

SpaceX's mighty Starship rocket has made it into space on its third test flight. The rocket launched at 9:25 a.m. ET today, March 14.
This colorful web of wispy gas filaments is the Vela Supernova Remnant, an expanding nebula of cosmic debris left over from a massive star that exploded about 11,000 years ago. This image was taken with the Department of Energy-fabricated Dark Energy Camera (DECam), mounted on the US National Science Foundation's Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. The striking reds, yellows, and blues in this image were achieved through the use of three DECam filters that each collect a specific color of light. Separate images were taken in each filter and then stacked on top of each other to produce this high-resolution image that contains 1.3 gigapixels and showcases the intricate web-like filaments snaking throughout the expanding cloud of gas.

See the stunning Vela supernova remnant in exquisite detail in expansive image

An enormous new image of the ghostly Vela supernova remnant shows off the fascinating and elaborate structure of this striking cosmic object.
Starship stacked

How to watch SpaceX launch the third flight of its Starship rocket on Thursday

SpaceX has announced the time of its next test of its Starship rocket, which will be the third test flight of the vehicle to date. Here's how to watch.
Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, left, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa are seen inside the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft onboard the SpaceX recovery ship MEGAN shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, Tuesday, March 12, 2024. Moghbeli, Mogensen, Furukawa, and Borisov are returning after nearly six-months in space as part of Expedition 70 aboard the International Space Station.

NASA’s Crew-7 astronauts splash down safely off the coast of Florida

NASA's Crew-7 mission has splashed down off the coast of Florida, with the four astronauts on board returning safely from the International Space Station.
This image of NGC 5468, a galaxy located about 130 million light-years from Earth, combines data from the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes. This is the most distant galaxy in which Hubble has identified Cepheid variable stars. These are important milepost markers for measuring the expansion rate of the Universe. The distance calculated from Cepheids has been cross-correlated with a Type Ia supernova in the galaxy. Type Ia supernovae are so bright they are used to measure cosmic distances far beyond the range of the Cepheids, extending measurements of the Universe’s expansion rate deeper into space.

The expansion rate of the universe still has scientists baffled

The question of how fast the universe is expanding confounds scientists, and new research using James Webb and Hubble doesn't make the answer any clearer.