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Latest by G. Torbet

This is an artist’s conception of the exoplanet GJ 9827d, the smallest exoplanet where water vapour has been detected in its atmosphere. The planet could be an example of potential planets with water-rich atmospheres elsewhere in our galaxy. It is a rocky world, only about twice Earth’s diameter. It orbits the red dwarf star GJ 9827. Two inner planets in the system are on the left. The background stars are plotted as they would be seen to the unaided eye looking back toward our Sun, which itself is too faint to be seen. The blue star at upper right is Regulus, the yellow star at bottom centre is Denebola, and the blue star at bottom right is Spica. The constellation Leo is on the left, and Virgo is on the right. Both constellations are distorted from our Earth-bound view from 97 light-years away.

Small exoplanet could be hot and steamy according to Hubble

Hubble recently identified water vapor in the atmosphere of a small, hot exoplanet.
This map shows the location where the small asteroid 2024 BX1 harmlessly impacted Earth’s atmosphere over Germany, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) west of Berlin, on Jan. 21. A NASA system called Scout predicted the impact time and site within 1 second and about 330 feet (100 meters).

NASA automated system predicts asteroid impact over Germany

NASA recently predicted the impact of a small asteroid which burned up in the atmosphere over Germany, using its impact prediction system, Scout.
NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter unlocked its rotor blades, allowing them to spin freely, on April 7, 2021, the 47th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

NASA says goodbye to Mars helicopter Ingenuity after an incredible 72 flights

The plucky helicopter Ingenuity has finally come to the end of its mission on Mars due to damage to one of its rotors that occurred during a recent landing.
This new NASA Hubble Space Telescope image showcases a resplendent pair of galaxies known as Arp 140.

Hear the otherworldly sounds of interacting galaxies with this Hubble sonification

Hubble scientists have created a sonification of interacting galaxy pair Arp 140, translating the colors and brightness of the image into sound.
This image from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope features an H II region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. This nebula, known as N79, is a region of interstellar atomic hydrogen that is ionised, captured here by Webb’s Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI).

James Webb snaps a stunning stellar nursery in a nearby satellite galaxy

A stunning new image from the James Webb Space Telescope shows a star-forming region in the nearby galaxy of the Large Magellanic Cloud.
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image is of the small galaxy known as UGC 5189A.

Hubble captures an exceptionally luminous supernova site

This week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the aftermath of an epic explosion in space, caused by the death of a massive star.
The Ingenuity helicopter is pictured on the surface of Mars.

NASA regains communications with Mars helicopter Ingenuity

Just a few days after losing contact with the Mars helicopter Ingenuity, NASA has announced that it has regained communications with the plucky helicopter.
An illustration of a black hole.

Scientists want your help to search for black holes

Black Hole Hunter invites members of the public to search through data collected by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite to look for signs of a black hole.
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.

NASA has lost communication with the Ingenuity Mars helicopter

NASA has announced that it has lost contact with the helicopter on Mars, though it's not clear how serious this problem is.
The SpaceX Dragon Freedom spacecraft carrying four Axiom MIssion 3 astronauts is pictured docked to the space station shortly after an orbital sunrise.

Axiom-3, the first private, all-European mission, arrives at the ISS

The Axiom-3 mission, the first commercial all-European mission to the International Space Station, has arrived safely at its destination.
Artist's illustration of the SLIM lander touching down on the moon.

Japanese lander touches down on the moon, but suffers power glitch

A Japanese mission has succeeded in landing on the moon, but likely won't last for more than a day due to an issue with its solar cells.
This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image features Arp 122, a peculiar galaxy that in fact comprises two galaxies – NGC 6040, the tilted, warped spiral galaxy and LEDA 59642, the round, face-on spiral – that are in the midst of a collision.

Hubble images a pair of galaxies caught in the process of merging

The two galaxies shown in the image, NGC 6040 and LEDA 59642, are so close that they are interacting and have a shared name as a pair, Arp 122.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx curation engineer, Neftali Hernandez, attaches one of the tools developed to help remove two final fasteners that prohibited complete disassembly of the TAGSAM (Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism) head that holds the remainder of material collected from asteroid Bennu. Engineers on the team, based at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, developed new tools that freed the fasteners on Jan. 10.

NASA cracks open its first sample from an asteroid, foiling two sticky screws

NASA returned its first sample of an asteroid to Earth last year, but getting at the full sample proved difficult due to a couple of troublesome fasteners.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is pictured docked to the space-facing port on the International Space Station’s Harmony module.

How to watch the Axiom 3 mission launch on Thursday

This coming Thursday, January 18, will see the third launch to the International Space Station by private company Axiom. Here's how to watch.
NASA’s X-59 quiet supersonic research aircraft sits on the apron outside Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works facility at dawn in Palmdale, California. The X-59 is the centerpiece of NASA’s Quesst mission, which seeks to address one of the primary challenges to supersonic flight over land by making sonic booms quieter.

NASA shows off its experimental, quiet supersonic aircraft, the X-59

Created along with Lockheed Martin, a new aircraft is designed to reduce the sonic boom created by traveling faster than the speed of sound to a sonic thump.
Like Kepler-10 b, illustrated above, the exoplanet HD 63433 d is a small, rocky planet in a tight orbit of its star. HD 63433 d is the smallest confirmed exoplanet younger than 500 million years old. It's also the closest discovered Earth-sized planet this young, at about 400 million years old.

Astronomers discover extremely hot exoplanet with ‘lava hemisphere’

An Earth-sized orbits a star similar to our sun, but much, much closer - meaning it has surface temperatures of nearly 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit.
This image revealing the north polar region of the Jovian moon Io was taken on October 15 by NASA’s Juno. Three of the mountain peaks visible in the upper part of image, near the day-night dividing line, were observed here for the first time by the spacecraft’s JunoCam.

See the dramatic, volcanic moon Io in new Juno images

NASA's Juno spacecraft recently made a close flyby of the solar system's most volcanic body, the Jovian moon of Io.
Voyager 2 took this image as it approached the planet Uranus on Jan. 14, 1986. The planet's hazy bluish color is due to the methane in its atmosphere, which absorbs red wavelengths of light.

Neptune isn’t really dark blue, new study demonstrates

Most people think of Uranus and Neptune as pale greenish blue and royal blue. But a new study shows the two planets are actually a very similar color.
This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope features a richness of spiral galaxies.

Hubble captures a busy frame of four overlapping spiral galaxies

This week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a host of galaxies all overlapping each other in a complex swirl.
This is an artist’s impression of the exoplanet WASP 121-b, also known as Tylos. The exoplanet’s appearance is based on Hubble data of the object. Using Hubble observations, another team of scientists had previously reported the detection of heavy metals such as magnesium and iron escaping from the upper atmosphere of the ultra-hot Jupiter exoplanet, marking it as the first of such detection. The exoplanet is orbiting dangerously close to its host star, roughly 2.6% of the distance between Earth and the Sun, placing it on the verge of being ripped apart by its host star's tidal forces. The powerful gravitational forces have altered the planet's shape.

See the weather patterns on a wild, super hot exoplanet

Planet WASP-121 b has a surface temperature of 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which researchers predict would lead to some wild weather phenomena.
This deep dataset from Chandra of the remains of a supernova known as 30 Doradus B (30 Dor B) reveals evidence for more than one supernova explosion in the history of this remnant. Unusual structures in the Chandra data cannot be explained by a single explosion. These images of 30 Dor B also show optical data from the Blanco telescope in Chile, and infrared data from Spitzer. Additional data from Hubble highlights sharp features in the image.

Four telescopes work together to create a gorgeous image of a supernova remnant

A stunning new image of a supernova remnant combines data from four different telescopes to show a colorful, detailed picture of a busy region of space.
An image from the Quadrantid meteor shower.

How to watch the Quadrantid meteor shower hit its peak tonight

Tonight will see the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower, one of the lesser-known meteor showers of the year. Here's how to watch it in person or online.
This photo of Saturn was taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope on October 22, 2023, when the ringed planet was approximately 850 million miles from Earth. Hubble's ultra-sharp vision reveals a phenomenon called ring spokes. Saturn's spokes are transient features that rotate along with the rings. Their ghostly appearance only persists for two or three rotations around Saturn. During active periods, freshly-formed spokes continuously add to the pattern.

Hubble snaps an image of dark spokes in Saturn’s rings

The Hubble Space Telescope is investigating something strange about the beautiful rings around Saturn.
Curiosity rover

See the passing of a day on Mars with the Curiosity rover

On a quiet day the Curiosity rover captured the view around it using its forward and rear cameras, showing the progression of a Martian day.
This image revealing the north polar region of the Jovian moon Io was taken on October 15 by NASA’s Juno. Three of the mountain peaks visible in the upper part of image, near the day-night dividing line, were observed here for the first time by the spacecraft’s JunoCam.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft to pass within 1,000 miles of volcanic moon Io

NASA's Juno spacecraft, current in orbit around Jupiter, will soon be making a close flyby of one of the planet's most dramatic moons, Io.
The billion stars in galaxy UGC 8091 resemble a sparkling snow globe in this festive Hubble Space Telescope image from NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). The dwarf galaxy is approximately 7 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. It is considered an "irregular galaxy" because it does not have an orderly spiral or elliptical appearance. Instead, the stars that make up this celestial gathering look more like a brightly shining tangle of string lights than a galaxy.

Hubble gets festive with a string of cosmic Christmas lights

Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope are getting into the festive spirit with a holiday image showing a dwarf irregular galaxy called UGC 8091.
The Running Chicken Nebula comprises several clouds, all of which we can see in this vast image from the VLT Survey Telescope (VST), hosted at ESO’s Paranal site. This 1.5-billion pixel image spans an area in the sky of about 25 full Moons. The clouds shown in wispy pink plumes are full of gas and dust, illuminated by the young and hot stars within them.

See a festive cosmic chicken captured by the VLT Survey Telescope

A new image from the VLT Survey Telescope shows a beautiful region called the Running Chicken Nebula, which makes for a striking festive scene.
This illustration depicts the distribution of diazenylium molecule radiation (false colours) in the Whirlpool Galaxy, compared with an optical image. The reddish areas in the photograph represent luminous gas nebulae containing hot, massive stars traversing dark zones of gas and dust in the spiral arms. The presence of diazenylium in these dark regions suggests particularly cold and dense gas clouds.

Scientists investigate star formation in the famous Whirlpool Galaxy

Scientists are turning to the beautiful and famous Whirlpool Galaxy to detect areas where stars could eventually be born.
This image of Uranus from NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope shows the planet and its rings in new clarity. The Webb image exquisitely captures Uranus’s seasonal north polar cap, including the bright, white, inner cap and the dark lane in the bottom of the polar cap. Uranus’ dim inner and outer rings are also visible in this image, including the elusive Zeta ring—the extremely faint and diffuse ring closest to the planet.

James Webb captures a unique view of Uranus’s ring system

A festive new image from the James Webb Space Telescope has been released, showing the stunning rings of Uranus.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is pictured approaching the space station above the Indian Ocean on March 16, 2023.

How to watch a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft depart the ISS this week

This week, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft will depart from the International Space Station after a brief one-month stay. Here's how to watch.
Astronaut Loral O’Hara sets up an exercise cycle.

In a gym 250 miles above Earth, astronauts sweat for science

With the demands of gravity absent, astronauts must spend hours per day exercising to maintain the muscles they'll still need back on Earth.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare – as seen in the bright flash in the upper right – on Dec. 14. The image shows a subset of extreme ultraviolet light that highlights the extremely hot material in flares, and which is colorized in teal.

Sun emits most powerful solar flare observed in six years

This week, the sun let out a powerful solar flare - the most powerful since 2017, and among the most powerful recorded to date.
An interacting galaxy system known as Arp-Madore 2105-332, that lies about 200 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Microscopium.

Hubble captures a formation of galaxies neatly lined up

A new Hubble image shows both an interacting galaxy system, and a string of galaxies which happen to line up in a neat procession.
Water from the subsurface ocean of Saturn’s moon Enceladus sprays from huge fissures out into space.

Key ingredient for life found at Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus

Researchers have found a key ingredient for life in the plumes of water which spew from Enceladus's surface.