Astrophysics Stories

Illustration of an exoplanet with a hazy blue atmosphere and loose bands of clouds on the black background of space. The right three-quarters of the planet is lit by a star not shown in the illustration. The left quarter is in shadow. The terminator, the boundary between the day and night sides is gradual, not sharp. The planet is light blue with loose bands of white clouds. The limb of the planet (the edge) has a subtle blue glow.

Webb Cracks Case of Inflated Exoplanet

7 min read

Why is the warm gas-giant exoplanet WASP-107 b so puffy? Two independent teams of researchers have an answer. Data collected using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, combined with prior observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, show surprisingly little methane (CH4)…

Article1 day ago
Lenticular galaxy NGC 4753 holds a bright-white core and surrounding, defined dust lanes around its nucleus that predominantly appear dark brown in color. A variety of faint stars fill the background of the image.

Hubble Views Cosmic Dust Lanes

2 min read

Featured in this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is a nearly edge-on view of the lenticular galaxy NGC 4753. Lenticular galaxies have an elliptical shape and ill-defined spiral arms. This image is the object’s sharpest view to…

Article4 days ago

Discovery Alert: An Earth-sized World and Its Ultra-cool Star

4 min read

Our galaxy is a jewel box of red stars. More than 70% of the stars in the Milky Way are M dwarfs, also known as red dwarfs. These stars are cool and dim compared with our Sun, but they often…

Article6 days ago
Three bright stars with diffraction spikes shine near the center-right of the image, illuminating nearby clouds that glow in pale blue. The clouds darken at the edges of the image, and are dotted with smaller stars, some also with diffraction spikes.

Hubble Views the Dawn of a Sun-like Star 

2 min read

Looking like a glittering cosmic geode, a trio of dazzling stars blaze from the hollowed-out cavity of a reflection nebula in this new image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The triple-star system is made up of the variable star HP…

Article6 days ago
An astronaut is moved on the end of a shuttle robotic arm in the cargo bay with numerous tools attached while another works lower right. Hubble and the earth are in the background.

Hubble Celebrates the 15th Anniversary of Servicing Mission 4

8 min read

Fifteen years ago, human hands touched NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope for the last time. As astronauts performed finishing tasks on the telescope during its final servicing mission in May 2009, they knew they had successfully concluded one of the most…

Article2 weeks ago
A spiral galaxy in the center of a dark background, surrounded by a few distant galaxies and nearby stars. The galaxy stretches diagonally across the center of the frame — from lower left to upper right — and is slightly tilted toward the viewer. Its cloudy disk is threaded with dust and holds no clear arms. A bar of light extends across the disk from the glowing core. A faint halo of gas surrounds the disk.

Hubble Glimpses a Star-Forming Factory

2 min read

The celestial object showcased in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is the spiral galaxy UGC 9684, which lies around 240 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Boötes. This image shows an impressive example of several classic…

Article2 weeks ago

NASA Images Help Explain Eating Habits of Massive Black Hole

4 min read

Data from NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope has given scientists new insights into why some supermassive black holes shine differently than others. In images from NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope, streams of dust thousands of light-years long flow toward the…

Article2 weeks ago
Illustration of a rocky exoplanet and its star. The star is in the background at the lower left and appears somewhat, but not significantly, smaller in the sky than the planet. It has a bright orange-red glow, and appears to have an active surface. The planet is in the foreground to the upper right of the star. The left quarter of the planet (the side facing the star) is lit, while the rest is in shadow. The planet has hints of a rocky, partly molten surface beneath the haze of a thin atmosphere. The boundary between the day and night sides of the planet is fuzzy.

NASA’s Webb Hints at Possible Atmosphere Surrounding Rocky Exoplanet

7 min read

Researchers using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope may have detected atmospheric gases surrounding 55 Cancri e, a hot rocky exoplanet 41 light-years from Earth. This is the best evidence to date for the existence of any rocky planet atmosphere outside…

Article2 weeks ago

NASA, JAXA XRISM Spots Iron Fingerprints in Nearby Active Galaxy

3 min read

After starting science operations in February, Japan-led XRISM (X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission) studied the monster black hole at the center of galaxy NGC 4151. “XRISM’s Resolve instrument captured a detailed spectrum of the area around the black hole,” said…

Article2 weeks ago
Artist concept of TESS spacecraft.

NASA’s TESS Returns to Science Operations

4 min read

NASA’s TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) returned to science operations May 3 and is once again making observations. The satellite went into safe mode April 23 following a separate period of down time earlier that month. The operations team determined…

Article2 weeks ago