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Latest by G. Torbet

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.
Researchers are getting their first glimpses inside distant spiral galaxies to see how stars formed and how they change over time, thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope’s ability to pierce the veil of dust and gas clouds.

How James Webb is peering into galaxies to see stars being born

Researchers are using the James Webb Space Telescope to study galaxies similar to our Milky Way to understand how they grow and evolve.
NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter acquired this image using its high-resolution color camera. This camera is mounted in the helicopter's fuselage and pointed approximately 22 degrees below the horizon. This image was acquired on Feb. 22, 2023 (Sol 714 of the Perseverance rover mission).

See the Ingenuity helicopter’s stunning image of a Martian sunset

The tiny helicopter Ingenuity is still continuing to explore Mars, gearing up for its 47th flight. Recently it snapped an image of an otherworldly sunset.
The SpaceX Crew-5 members are seated inside the Dragon Endurance crew ship atop the Falcon 9 rocket before launching to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A in Florida. From left are, Mission Specialist Anna Kikina from Roscosmos; Pilot Josh Cassada and Commander Nicole Mann, both NASA astronauts; and Mission Specialist Koichi Wakata from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

How to watch the Crew-5 mission splash down tonight

A crew of four astronauts has left the International Space Station and is due to splashdown into the ocean later tonight. Here's how to watch.
A jellyfish galaxy with trailing tentacles of stars hangs in inky blackness in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. As Jellyfish galaxies move through intergalactic space they are slowly stripped of gas, which trails behind the galaxy in tendrils illuminated by clumps of star formation. These blue tendrils are visible drifting below the core of this galaxy, and give it its jellyfish-like appearance. This particular jellyfish galaxy — known as JO201 — lies in the constellation Cetus, which is named after a sea monster from ancient Greek mythology. This sea-monster-themed constellation adds to the nautical theme of this image.

Hubble captures a cosmic sea monster with this image of a jellyfish galaxy

This Hubble image shows a jellyfish galaxy, a galaxy type named for its larger main body with tendrils that float along after it like the sea creature.
A salad created to provide nutrition for astronauts based on foods which can be grown in space.

Researchers design a ‘space salad’ to keep astronauts healthy and happy

Researchers have come up with an astronaut salad, that meets the nutritional needs of astronauts and features foods that could be grown in space.
NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

Roman Space Telescope will survey the sky 1,000 times faster than Hubble

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, set to launch in 2027, will look at vast areas of space to help cosmologists understand the universe on a large scale.
Vega-C launches on its inaugural mission VV21 on 13 July 2022.

Faulty nozzle caused the loss of European Vega-C rocket last year

Last year, Europe's Vega-C rocket failed on its second mission. Now, a commission had found that the problem was due to a faulty engine part.
This observation from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope features the massive galaxy cluster RX J2129. Due to Gravitational lensing, this observation contains three different images of the same supernova-hosting galaxy, which you can see in closer detail here. Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive celestial body causes a sufficient curvature of spacetime to bend the path of light travelling past or through it, almost like a vast lens. In this case, the lens is the galaxy cluster RX J2129, located around 3.2 billion light-years from Earth in the constellation Aquarius. Gravitational lensing can cause background objects to appear strangely distorted, as can be seen by the concentric arcs of light in the upper right of this image.

James Webb captures an extremely distant triple-lensed supernova

Webb imaged a huge galaxy cluster located 3.2 billion light-years away, which is acting like a magnifying glass and showing a far-off supernova in triplicate.
The curving light streak created by an artificial satellite mars an image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Satellites like SpaceX’s Starlink are disrupting Hubble observations

Only a few Hubble observations are affected for now, but the problem is going to get much, much worse.
In this artist's impression of the breadcrumb scenario, autonomous rovers can be seen exploring a lava tube after being deployed by a mother rover that remains at the entrance to maintain contact with an orbiter or a blimp.

Rovers could explore lava tubes on Mars or the moon using breadcrumbs

Engineers propose using robots to scout out lava tubes for use as human habitats with a method inspired by Hansel and Gretel.
The tattered shell of the first-ever recorded supernova was captured by the US Department of Energy-fabricated Dark Energy Camera, which is mounted on the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. A ring of glowing debris is all that remains of a white dwarf star that exploded more than 1800 years ago when it was recorded by Chinese astronomers as a ‘guest star’. This special image, which covers an impressive 45 arcminutes on the sky, gives a rare view of the entirety of this supernova remnant.

Telescope captures the remnants of a supernova first seen 2,000 years ago

Astronomers recently captured a remnant called RCW 86, which is the result of a supernova which was observed by Chinese astronomers in the year 185 C.E.
These three panels capture the breakup of the asteroid Dimorphos when it was deliberately hit by NASA's 1,200-pound Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission spacecraft on September 26, 2022. Hubble Space Telescope had a ringside view of the space demolition derby.

Hubble sees the dramatic collision of NASA’s DART spacecraft and an asteroid

NASA says the test has shown it is possible to deflect an asteroid if one were threatening Earth -- but only if it is spotted in time.