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Latest by G. Torbet

This illustration of Comet 238P/Read shows the main belt comet sublimating—its water ice vaporizing as its orbit approaches the Sun. This is significant, as the sublimation is what distinguishes comets from asteroids, creating their distinctive tail and hazy halo, or coma. It is especially important for Comet Read, as it is one of 16 identified main belt comets found in the asteroid belt, as opposed to the colder Kuiper Belt or Oort Cloud, more distant from the Sun. Comet Read was one of three comets used to define the class of main belt comets in 2006.

James Webb investigates mystery of where Earth’s water comes from

The first water may have been brought to our planet by a comet. Now, James Webb is investigating comets to see if they could carry water vapor.
Saturn during Equinox

Saturn takes the crown for planet with the most moons

Previously, Jupiter was the champion with its 95 known moons, but Saturn has pulled into the lead thanks to the recent discovery of 62 new moons there.
Exoplanet LP 791-18 d, illustrated in this artist’s concept, is an Earth-size world about 90 light-years away. A more massive planet in the system, shown as a small blue dot on the right, exerts a gravitational tug that may result in internal heating and volcanic eruptions, like on Jupiter’s moon Io.

Astronomers discover Earth-sized exoplanet covered in volcanoes

Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet that is highly volcanically active, which means it could possibly support life.
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover captured this mosaic of a hill nicknamed “Pinestand.” Scientists think the tall sedimentary layers stacked on top of one another here could have been formed by a deep, fast-moving river.

Perseverance rover finds evidence of an ancient river on Mars

The Perseverance rover has identified evidence of what was once one of the deepest and fast-flowing rivers yet discovered on the planet.
Artist’s impression of a black hole accretion.

Astronomers just spotted the largest cosmic explosion ever seen

Astronomers recently observed the largest cosmic explosion ever seen, believed to be caused by supermassive black hole devouring a large cloud of gas.
This image shows the IRAS 11051-7706 object in the Chamaeleon constellation. New stars are born in the colourful clouds of gas and dust seen here. The infrared observations underlying the image reveal new details in the star-forming regions that are usually obscured by the clouds of dust. The image was produced with data collected by the VIRCAM instrument, which is attached to the VISTA telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. The observations were done as part of the VISIONS survey, which will allow astronomers to better understand how stars form in these dust-enshrouded regions.

1 million images get stitched together to form an atlas of star birth

Stars are born in dense clouds of dust and gas called, adorably enough, stellar nurseries. Now, researchers have created an atlas of five of these regions.
This artist’s concept depicts the planet GJ 1214 b, a “mini-Neptune” with what is likely a steamy, hazy atmosphere. A new study based on observations by NASA’s Webb telescope provides insight into this type of planet, the most common in the galaxy.

James Webb telescope gets a view of the ‘white whale’ of exoplanet research

Located 50 light-years away, the planet GJ 1214 b has defied 15 years of attempted observations due to its hazy nature.
This image of the dusty debris disk surrounding the young star Fomalhaut is from Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). It reveals three nested belts extending out to 14 billion miles (23 billion kilometers) from the star. The inner belts – which had never been seen before – were revealed by Webb for the first time.

James Webb gets a stunning view of a far-off planetary system

As well peering back at the earliest galaxies in the universe, the James Webb Space Telescope is also letting astronomers learn more about how planets form.
a slice of 3D printed cheesecake

3D printed cheesecake? Inside the culinary quest to make a Star Trek food replicator

Scientists at Columbia University are trying to crack the code for 3D-printed food, and their first success was a 3D-printed cheesecake
Uranus is surrounded by its four major rings and 10 of its 27 known moons in this color-added view that uses data taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1998. A study featuring new modeling shows that four of Uranus’ large moons likely contain internal oceans.

4 of Uranus’s icy moons could have liquid water oceans

Using data from the Voyager mission, researchers found that four of Uranus's moons likely have liquid water oceans beneath icy crusts.
First image of the full Earth disc from the Meteosat Third Generation Imager. The first image from Meteosat Third Generation – Imager 1 (MTG-I1) reveals a level of detail about the weather over Europe and Africa not previously possible from 36 000 km above Earth. The higher-resolution images provided by the instruments on board give weather forecasters more information about the clouds cloaking much of Europe and visible in the equatorial region of Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. Sand and sediment in the waters off Italy are also visible, as well as dust or smog being carried from south Asia. This degree of detail is not possible from the instruments on the Meteosat Second Generation satellites. The image was captured at 11:50 UTC on 18 March 2023 by the Flexible Combined Imager on MTG-I1.

See the first image of Earth from a new weather-monitoring satellite

A recently launched weather satellite has sent back its first image of Earth, showing our planet in gorgeous detail.
This illustration is based on Hubble Space Telescope images of gas and dust discs encircling the young star TW Hydrae. We have an oblique view of three concentric rings of dust and gas. At the centre is the bright white glow of the central star. The reddish-coloured rings are inclined to each other and are therefore casting dark shadows across the outermost ring.

Hubble observes weird star system with three off-kilter, planet-forming disks

There's something odd about the TW Hydrae system, and it took astronomers some time to figure it out.
Illustration of the black hole Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way.

See the terrifying scale of a supermassive black hole in NASA visualization

NASA is celebrating black hole week by sharing a frankly disturbing visualization to help you picture just how large a supermassive black hole is.
Astronomers using the Gemini South telescope in Chile, operated by NSF’s NOIRLab, have observed the first compelling evidence of a dying Sun-like star engulfing an exoplanet. The “smoking gun” of this event was seen in a long and low-energy outburst from the star — the telltale signature of a planet skimming along a star’s surface. This never-before-seen process may herald the ultimate fate of Earth when our own Sun nears the end of its life in about five billion years.

Astronomers watch a preview of the destruction of the Earth

Astronomers recently caught the grisly sight of an exoplanet being devoured by its star, in a preview of what will eventually happen to the Earth.
This artist concept represents the rocky exoplanet GJ 486 b, which orbits a red dwarf star that is only 26 light-years away in the constellation Virgo. By observing GJ 486 b transit in front of its star, astronomers sought signs of an atmosphere. They detected hints of water vapor. However, they caution that while this might be a sign of a planetary atmosphere, the water could be on the star itself – specifically, in cool starspots – and not from the planet at all.

James Webb detects water vapor in rocky planet’s atmosphere — maybe

Water vapor was spotted near the rocky exoplanet GJ 486 b. That could indicate the presence of water in its atmosphere, or it could also be from another source.
The Ingenuity helicopter on the surface of Mars, in an image taken by the Perseverance rover. Ingenuity recently made its 50th flight.

Ingenuity and Perseverance snap photos of each other on Mars

Everyone's favorite Mars double act, the Ingenuity helicopter and the Perseverance rover, have been traveling together recently -- and there's photo evidence.
The European Space Agency's JUICE spacecraft.

JUICE spacecraft might have to shake loose its struck antenna

The European Space Agency (ESA)'s JUICE spacecraft has run into a problem following its launch, as one of its antennae has not yet been deployed.
Scientists observing the compact radio core of M87 have discovered new details about the galaxy’s supermassive black hole. In this artist’s conception, the black hole’s massive jet is seen rising up from the centre of the black hole. The observations on which this illustration is based represent the first time that the jet and the black hole shadow have been imaged together, giving scientists new insights into how black holes can launch these powerful jets.

Supermassive black hole spews out jet of matter in first-of-its-kind image

For the first time, astronomers have imaged a supermassive black hole expelling an enormous jet of matter at tremendous speed.
exoplanet discovered machine learning image png

Previously unknown exoplanet discovered using machine learning

Researchers used a machine learning model to search for exoplanets with protoplanetary disks, and found one that had previously been missed.
This artist’s concept shows a cutaway of Mars, along with the paths of seismic waves from two separate quakes in 2021. Detected by NASA’s InSight mission, these seismic waves were the first ever identified to enter another planet’s core.

NASA’s InSight lander looks into Mars to study the planet’s core

NASA's Mars InSight may have come to the end of its mission last year, but data from the lander is still being used to contribute to science.
Rubin Observatory network technician Guido Maulen installs fiber optic cables on the Top End Assembly of the telescope mount.

Inside the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, home of the world’s largest digital camera

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory houses the world's largest digital camera. Here's how it'll help astronomers explore the cosmos
Astronomers are celebrating the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s 33rd launch anniversary with an ethereal photo of a nearby star-forming region, NGC 1333. The nebula is in the Perseus molecular cloud, and is located approximately 960 light-years away.

Hubble celebrates its 33rd birthday with stunning nebula image

Nebula NGC 1333 is a busy stellar nursery, with new stars forming among the cloud of dust and gas located 960 light-years away.
spacex starship launch explosion

SpaceX Starship rocket launches in first test flight, but explodes in midair

SpaceX has launched its integrated Starship for the first time, with the spacecraft leaving the launch pad in a test flight. But not everything went to plan.
Shining like a brilliant beacon amidst a sea of galaxies, Arp 220 lights up the night sky in this view from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Actually two spiral galaxies in the process of merging, Arp 220 glows brightest in infrared light, making it an ideal target for Webb. It is an ultra-luminous infrared galaxy (ULIRG) with a luminosity of more than a trillion suns. In comparison, our Milky Way galaxy has a much more modest luminosity of about ten billion suns.

James Webb captures a stunning image of two galaxies merging

The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a gorgeous image of a dramatic cosmic event: two galaxies colliding.
Shortly after launch on 14 April, ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Juice, captured this stunning view of Earth. The coastline around the Gulf of Aden can be made out to the right of centre, with patchy clouds above land and sea.

JUICE mission to Jupiter sends back first images of Earth from space

The European Space Agency's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer spacecraft has sent back its first images from space -- and they are some stunning views of the Earth.
SpaceX's Starship rocket on the pad in Boca Chica, Texas.

SpaceX scrubs launch of world’s most powerful rocket due to valve issue

The planned first launch of the SpaceX Super Heavy rocket was called off due to a frozen valve, and the event turned into a wet dress rehearsal instead.
ESA’s latest interplanetary mission, Juice, lifted off on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French 09:14 local time/14:14CEST on 14 April 2023 to begin its eight-year journey to Jupiter, where it will study in detail the gas giant planet’s three large ocean-bearing moons: Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.

See highlights of the launch of the European JUICE spacecraft

See video of an Ariane 5 rocket launching the European Space agency's JUICE mission to Jupiter's icy moons from this morning.
A team of researchers, including an astronomer with NSF’s NOIRLab, has developed a new machine-learning technique to enhance the fidelity and sharpness of radio interferometry images. To demonstrate the power of their new approach, which is called PRIMO, the team created a new, high-fidelity version of the iconic Event Horizon Telescope's image of the supermassive black hole at the center of Messier 87, a giant elliptical galaxy located 55 million light-years from Earth. The image of the M87 supermassive black hole originally published by the EHT collaboration in 2019 (left); and a new image generated by the PRIMO algorithm using the same data set (right).

Machine learning used to sharpen the first image of a black hole

A machine learning technique called PRIMO has sharpened the famous first-ever image of a black hole from 2019.
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.