News Articles

X-ray source J0045+41
Dec 1, 2017
It seems like even black holes can’t resist the temptation to insert themselves unannounced into photographs. A cosmic photobomb found as a background object in images of the nearby Andromeda galaxy has revealed what could be the most tightly coupled pair of supermassive black holes ever seen.
Universe, Stars
Oct 7, 2016
In 1963, an astronomy student named Gail Smith working at an observatory in the Netherlands discovered something odd—a massive cloud of gas orbiting the Milky Way galaxy. Smith’s cloud contained enough gas to make 2 million stars the size of our sun, and it was moving through space at 700,000 mph... Read More
Astrophysics, Smith's Cloud, star formation, extragalactic cloud, hubble space telescope
Universe, Stars
Aug 4, 2016
Some scientists ply their trade at lab benches, working with test tubes and Bunsen burners. Others spend time in the backcountry, analyzing rocks and landforms. But some astronomers… use stars as their laboratory  
Strong Magnetic Fields Found Inside Stars Poster 2
Universe, Stars
Apr 6, 2016
Newsflash: Assembly of the next great space observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is now underway at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Launch target: 2018. JWST is an infrared telescope, which means it will sense the heat of stars and galaxies millions and even billions of light... Read More
Next Great Space Telescope Poster
Universe, Exoplanets
Mar 18, 2016
With its blue skies, puffy white clouds, warm beaches and abundant life, planet Earth is a pretty special place.  A quick survey of the solar system reveals … nothing else like it. But how special is Earth, really?
The Special Ingredients of Earth Poster
Dec 31, 2015
Quantum foam. It may sound like the name of a new craft beer, but it’s something even more amazing. To ‘see’ it, you have to dive down the rabbit hole of quantum mechanics -- a branch of physics that describes how light and matter behave at atomic scales. In this bizarre realm, matter can be in... Read More
Quantum Foam Poster
Universe, Exoplanets
Nov 23, 2015
NASA’s Kepler spacecraft is a prolific hunter of planets outside of our Solar System.  Since it launched in 2009, Kepler has confirmed more than 1000 of these exoplanets and catalogued thousands of more candidates.  The menagerie includes planets with densities greater than iron and... Read More
In Search of Earth 2.0 Poster
Universe, Solar System
Sep 30, 2015
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. But what about planets? Take Neptune for example. For many years, especially since 1989 when Voyager 2 flew past Neptune and measured its gravity field, astronomers have known that the blue giant harbors a secret world inside. Hidden deep below the... Read More
May 26, 2015
It's funny, the things you notice hanging upside down in space.
Handprints on Hubble Poster
Universe, Sun, Solar System
May 5, 2015
May 5, 2015:  As May of 2015 unfolds, Halley's Comet is more than 5 billion kilometers from Earth, receding into the inky blackness of the outer solar system, where its looping orbit takes it every 76 years.  Dim and distant, history's most famous comet won't be back until sometime... Read More
Universe, Earth, Solar System
Apr 30, 2015
April 30, 2015:  The planet closest to the Sun is, ironically, one of the coldest. That’s just one of many mind-bending discoveries about Mercury that NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft beamed back to Earth over the past 7 years.  Earlier today, the mission ended with a crash as spectacular as... Read More
Global image data from MESSENGER spacecraft
Apr 9, 2015
April 9, 2015:  Citizen scientists scanning images from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, an orbiting infra-red observatory, recently stumbled upon a new class of curiosities that had gone largely unrecognized before: yellow balls. "The volunteers started chatting about the yellow balls they... Read More
Universe, Sun
Mar 19, 2015
March 19, 2015:  When you attach the prefix "nano" to something, it usually means "very small." Solar flares appear to be the exception. Researchers are studying a type of explosion on the sun called a 'nanoflare.'  A billion times less energetic than ordinary flares, nanoflares have a... Read More
X-rays stream off the sun
Universe, Sun
Mar 10, 2015
March 10, 2015:  Magnetic reconnection could be the Universe's favorite way to make things explode. It operates anywhere magnetic fields pervade space--which is to say almost everywhere. In the cores of galaxies, magnetic reconnection sparks explosions visible billions of light-years away.... Read More
Mar 5, 2015
March 5, 2015:  Mark your calendar. On Friday, March 6th, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will enter orbit around Ceres, becoming the first spacecraft from Earth to visit a dwarf planet. "Dawn is about to make history," said Robert Mase, project manager for the Dawn mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion... Read More