Skip to main content

Latest by G. Torbet

An Ariane 5 rocket containing the Juice spacecraft on the launchpad at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on Thursday April 13 2023.

Launch of Europe’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer delayed by 24 hours

The launch of the European Space Agency's JUICE mission to the icy moons of Jupiter has been delayed by 24 hours due to weather conditions.
Artist's impression of the JUICE spacecraft exploring Jupiter and its giant moon Ganymede.

What the JUICE spacecraft is hoping to learn about Jupiter’s icy moons

Tomorrow sees the launch of the JUICE spacecraft, which will travel to the Jupiter system to investigate whether the moons there could be potentially habitable.
This image of the Crab Nebula combines data from NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) in magenta and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in dark purple.

NASA’s IXPE mission gets an X-ray view of the famous Crab Nebula

A NASA X-ray instrument has provided a new view of one of astronomy's most beautiful objects, the Crab Nebula.
Cassiopeia A (Cas A) is a supernova remnant located about 11,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia. It spans approximately 10 light-years. This new image uses data from Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) to reveal Cas A in a new light.

James Webb captures stunning image of supernova remnant Cassiopeia A

A stunning new image from the James Webb Space Telescope shows a famous supernova remnant called Cassiopeia A, or Cas A.
Sally Ride NASA

How NASA’s astronaut class of 1978 changed the face of space exploration

NASA's 1978 astronaut class was a turning point for the agency, and it set the stage for the more diverse and inclusive space program we have today
This is an artist's impression of a runaway supermassive black hole that was ejected from its host galaxy as a result of a tussle between it and two other black holes. As the black hole plows through intergalactic space it compresses tenuous gas in front to it. This precipitates the birth of hot blue stars. This illustration is based on Hubble Space Telescope observations of a 200,000-light-year-long contrail of stars behind an escaping black hole.

Unique black hole is trailed by 200,000 light-year-long tail of stars

A strange, lonely supermassive black hole is trailed by a tail of stars that's twice as long as the Milky Way is wide.
This zoomed-in image of Uranus, captured by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on 6 February 2023, reveals stunning views of the planet’s rings. The planet displays a blue hue in this representative-colour image, made by combining data from two filters (F140M, F300M) at 1.4 and 3.0 microns, shown here as blue and orange, respectively.

James Webb captures the rarely-seen rings around Uranus

Following up on its image of Neptune released last year, astronomers using Webb have just released a brand-new image of Uranus as you've never seen it before.
This artist's concept shows the brilliant glare of two quasars residing in the cores of two galaxies that are in the chaotic process of merging. The gravitational tug-of-war between the two galaxies ignites a firestorm of star birth.

Hubble spots an ancient pair of supermassive black holes about to merge

Recently, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope spotted two quasars burning brightly in the night sky -- and they're on a collision course.
This is a composite image showing the Saturn Lyman-alpha bulge, an emission from hydrogen which is a persistent and unexpected excess detected by three distinct NASA missions, namely Voyager 1, Cassini, and the Hubble Space Telescope between 1980 and 2017.

Saturn’s rings are raining down particles on its atmosphere

New research using the Hubble Space Telescope shows that Saturn's icy rings actually heat up its upper atmosphere.
The crew of NASA’s Artemis II mission (left to right): NASA astronauts Christina Hammock Koch, Reid Wiseman (seated), Victor Glover, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen.

Here are the 4 astronauts who will travel to the moon for Artemis II

This crew of four will be the first people to leave low-Earth orbit in over 50 years.
This image shows the rocky outcrop the Perseverance science team calls Berea after the NASA Mars rover extracted a rock core and abraded a circular patch. The image was taken by the rover's Mastcam-Z instrument on March 30, 2023.

Perseverance rover collects its first sample from Jezero delta

The sample is rich in carbonate, a chemical compound that is excellent at preserving signs of life.
Perseverance looks towards the Delta on Sol 419, capturing this image with its Right Navigation Camera.

Perseverance and Ingenuity play a game of tag across Mars

The Perseverance rover is trundling across Mars's Jezero Crater, on its way to explore the site of an ancient river delta -- and it's got a friend with it.
The galaxy JW100 (lower right) features prominently in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The streams of star-forming gas dripping from the disk of the galaxy like streaks of fresh paint are formed by a process called ram pressure stripping. Their resemblance to dangling tentacles led astronomers to refer to JW100 as a ‘jellyfish’ galaxy. JW100 is over 800 million light-years away, in the constellation Pegasus.

There’s a cosmic jellyfish in this week’s Hubble image

Jellyfish galaxies have a main body of stars, with tentacle-like structures reaching off away from the body in just one direction.
An artist’s impression of Uranus and its five largest moons (innermost to outermost) Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania and Oberon.

Two of Uranus’ moons could host oceans, new research suggests

Researchers looked through almost 40-year-old data from the NASA Voyager 2 mission and found something unexpected.
Artist's concept of a near-Earth object.

An asteroid is making a close approach to Earth, and scientists are pumped

An asteroid will pass within 100,000 miles of Earth, which is around half the distance between Earth and the moon.
Still from the video of Jezero crater created by merging data from various Mars orbiting spacecraft.

See Mars’s beautiful Jezero Crater from the air in flyover video

Take a virtual flight over the famous Jezero Crater on Mars, thanks to the European Space Agency.
An artist’s depiction of the interstellar comet ‘Oumuamua, as it warmed up in its approach to the sun and outgassed hydrogen (white mist), which slightly altered its orbit. The comet, which is most likely pancake-shaped, is the first known object other than dust grains to visit our solar system from another star.

We now know what caused comet ‘Oumuamua’s strange orbit

It wasn't aliens that sent an interstellar comet to visit our solar system. The explanation is a phenomenon called outgassing.
This artist’s illustration shows the ejection of a cloud of debris after NASA’s DART spacecraft collided with the asteroid Dimorphos. The image was created with the help of the close-up photographs of Dimorphos that the DRACO camera on the DART spacecraft took right before the impact. The DART spacecraft collided with Dimorphos at a speed of over 6 kilometres per second (about 22 000 kilometres per hour). After the impact several telescopes observed the evolution of the cloud of debris, including ESO’s Very Large Telescope.

Scientists observe the aftermath of a spacecraft crashing into asteroid

When NASA crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid, it wasn't only a thrilling test of planetary defense. It was also a unique opportunity for scientists.
This illustration conceptualises the swirling clouds identified by the James Webb Space Telescope in the atmosphere of the exoplanet VHS 1256 b. The planet is about 40 light-years away and orbits two stars that are locked in their own tight rotation. Its clouds, which are filled with silicate dust, are constantly rising, mixing, and moving during its 22-hour day.

James Webb spots exoplanet with gritty clouds of sand floating in its atmosphere

Exoplanet VHS 1256 b, around 40 light-years away, has an unusual atmosphere where clouds of sand float in temperatures of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
[Jupiter: left] - The forecast for Jupiter is for stormy weather at low northern latitudes. A prominent string of alternating storms is visible, forming a ‘vortex street’ as some planetary astronomers call it. [Uranus: right] - Uranus’s north pole shows a thickened photochemical haze that looks similar to the smog over cities. Several little storms can be seen near the edge of the polar haze boundary. Note: The planets do not appear in this image to scale.

Hubble sees the changing seasons on Jupiter and Uranus

Our planet isn't the only place in the solar system with dramatic weather changes - Hubble recently captured seasonal changes to two of the outer planets.
Some exoplanets have one side permanently facing their star while the other side is in perpetual darkness. The ring-shaped border between these permanent day and night regions is called a “terminator zone.” In a new paper in The Astrophysical Journal, physics and astronomy researchers at UC Irvine say this area has the potential to support extraterrestrial life.

Tidally locked exoplanets could be habitable in the ‘terminator zone’

There are exoplanets where one side is always in sunlight and the other is always dark. But a particular region of these planets could be habitable.
This image shows just a portion of M55, the cluster as a whole appears spherical because the stars’ intense gravitational attraction pulls them together. Hubble’s clear view above Earth’s atmosphere resolves individual stars in this cluster. Ground-based telescopes can also resolve individual stars in M55, but fewer stars are visible.

A sparkling field of stars cluster together in Hubble image

A Hubble image of the galaxy Messier 55 shows a stunning sea of stars in an enormous group called a globular cluster.
Using observations from different NASA missions, this map shows where the Moon’s shadow will cross the U.S. during the 2023 annular solar eclipse and 2024 total solar eclipse. The map was developed by NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS) in collaboration with the NASA Heliophysics Activation Team (NASA HEAT), part of NASA’s Science Activation portfolio.

NASA map shows where you can see a solar eclipse across the U.S.

NASA has created a map of the U.S. showing when and where you can see a solar eclipse in 2023 and 2024.
The SpaceX Dragon Endeavour crew ship is pictured docked to the Harmony module's space-facing international docking adapter. Endeavour carried four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, Pilot Larry Connor, and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy, to the International Space Station for several days of research, education, and commercial activities.

Axiom Space to send third private mission to the International Space Station

Axiom Space will send a third private mission to the International Space Station, scheduled for November this year.
UGCA 307 hangs against an irregular backdrop of distant galaxies in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The small galaxy consists of a diffuse band of stars containing red bubbles of gas that mark regions of recent star formation, and lies roughly 26 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Corvus. Appearing as just a small patch of stars, UGCA 307 is a diminutive dwarf galaxy without a defined structure — resembling nothing more than a hazy patch of passing cloud.

A small, fuzzy dwarf galaxy in our neighborhood captured by Hubble

This week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a galaxy in our backyard, cosmically speaking, taken as part of a project to image nearby galaxies.
Rendering of Firefly’s Blue Ghost lunar lander delivering NASA’s LuSEE-Night radio telescope to the far side of the Moon.

NASA picks a commercial partner to visit the far side of the moon

NASA has contracted Firefly Aerospace to deliver payloads including a radio telescope to the far side of the moon, which minimizes radio noise coming from Earth.
ESA’s Rosalind Franklin twin rover is back on its wheels and drilled down 1.7 metres into a martian-like ground in Italy – about 25 times deeper than any other rover has ever attempted on Mars. The test rover, known as Amalia, also collected samples for analysis under the watchful eye of European science teams.

How Europe’s ExoMars rover plans to get to Mars without Russia

ExoMars was supposed to be a joint Europe-Russia mission. But the rover will now be sent to Mars using a European lander instead.
This illustration shows NASA’s Dragonfly rotorcraft-lander approaching a site on Saturn’s exotic moon, Titan. Taking advantage of Titan’s dense atmosphere and low gravity, Dragonfly will explore dozens of locations across the icy world, sampling and measuring the compositions of Titan's organic surface materials to characterize the habitability of Titan’s environment and investigate the progression of prebiotic chemistry.

How NASA’s Dragonfly mission will assess Titan for habitability

NASA's robotic rotorcraft Dragonfly will explore Saturn's moon Titan -- a location that is intriguing because it is thought to be potentially habitable.
NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter is depicted in this illustration. The mission team spent most of 2021 assessing how much propellant is left on the orbiter, concluding it has enough to stay active through at least 2025.

How much fuel is left in this 20-year-old Mars orbiter?

Figuring out how much fuel remains in the Mars Odyssey spacecraft turned out to be more complicated than NASA engineers were expecting.
A bright white trail is in view after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon capsule lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 14, 2022, on the company’s 25th Commercial Resupply Services mission for the agency to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 8:44 p.m. EDT. Dragon will deliver more than 5,800 pounds of cargo, including a variety of NASA investigations, to the space station. The spacecraft is expected to spend about a month attached to the orbiting outpost before it returns to Earth with research and return cargo, splashing down off the coast of Florida.

How to watch the SpaceX resupply launch to the ISS this week

This week, a SpaceX Cargo Dragon will blast off from Florida carrying scientific equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. Here's how to watch.
Images of four example galaxies selected from the first epoch of COSMOS-Web NIRCam observations, highlighting the range of structures that can be seen. In the upper left is a barred spiral galaxy; in the upper right is an example of a gravitational lens, where the mass of the central galaxy is causing the light from a distant galaxy to be stretched into arcs; on the lower left is nearby galaxy displaying shells of material, suggesting it merged with another galaxy in its past; on the lower right is a barred spiral galaxy with several clumps of active star formation.

Astronomers share early images from James Webb’s galaxy survey

The snapshot of the sky captured by James Webb shows 25,000 galaxies -- and it's just a taste of what is to come.
This artist’s impression shows the planet-forming disc around the star V883 Orionis. In the outermost part of the disc water is frozen out as ice and therefore can’t be easily detected. An outburst of energy from the star heats the inner disc to a temperature where water is gaseous, enabling astronomers to detect it. The inset image shows the two kinds of water molecules studied in this disc: normal water, with one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms, and a heavier version where one hydrogen atom is replaced with deuterium, a heavy isotope of hydrogen.

Water was present in our solar system before the sun formed

Astronomers are looking to a distant star system still in the planet-forming phase to understand how water came to be on Earth.
Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, left, NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata, right, are seen inside the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft onboard the SpaceX recovery ship Shannon shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida, Saturday, March 11, 2023. Mann, Cassada, Wakata, and Kikina are returning after 157 days in space as part of Expedition 68 aboard the International Space Station.

Four Crew-5 astronauts return home safe from International Space Station

A crew of four astronauts has returned safely to Earth from the International Space Station, splashing down  in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.
The irregular spiral galaxy NGC 5486 hangs against a background of dim, distant galaxies in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The tenuous disk of the galaxy is threaded through with pink wisps of star formation, which stand out from the diffuse glow of the galaxy’s bright core.

Hubble captures a messy irregular galaxy which hosted a supernova

This week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a spiral galaxy called NGC 5486, shot through with wisps of pink where new stars are being born.