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Posts tagged astronomy

First Asteroid Discovered Sporting a Ring System

When you think of a celestial ring system, the beautiful ringed planet Saturn will likely jump to mind. But for the first time astronomers have discovered that ring systems aren’t exclusive to planetary bodies — asteroids can have them too. Read more

It’s a big breaking news day for space!

Monster Rare Yellow Hypergiant Star Discovered

A gargantuan star, measuring 1,300 times the size of our sun, has been uncovered 12,000 light-years from Earth — it is one of the ten biggest stars known to exist in our galaxy. The yellow hypergiant even dwarfs the famous stellar heavyweight Betelgeuse by 50 percent. While its hulking mass may be impressive, astronomers have also realized that HR 5171 is a double star with a smaller stellar sibling physically touching the surface of the larger star as they orbit one another. Read more

Monster Survey Telescope Dives Deep Into the Lagoon

The VLT Survey Telescope (VST), located at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) high in the Atacama Desert in Chile, has captured a jaw-dropping view of the Lagoon Nebula — a star-forming interstellar cloud incubating baby stars enshrouded in knots of gas and dust. Read more

New Exoplanet Hunter Directly Images Alien Worlds

See that bright dot? That’s an exoplanet — Beta Pictoris b to be precise. It was imaged by a brand new infrared exoplanet hunter called the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) and it’s about to rock our world. Find out why.

Hubble Discovers Water Plumes Over Europa

Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have found plumes of water vapor shooting off the southern pole of Europa, an ice-covered moon of Jupiter that is believed to have an underground ocean. Read more

Universe’s Largest Structure is a Cosmic Conundrum

Astronomers have found a mind-bogglingly large structure — so big it takes light 10 billion years to traverse — in a distant part of the universe.

The discovery poses a conundrum to a fundamental tenet of modern cosmology, which posits that matter should appear to be distributed uniformly if viewed at a large enough scale. Read more

Space Observatories Zero-In On Comet ISON

Comet ISON is currently diving through the inner solar system, soon to make a close approach with the sun on Nov. 28. Known as a “sungrazer comet,” ISON will dive deep into the sun’s corona, enduring the intense multi-million degree plasma and powerful solar energy. Since the “pristine” comet was discovered in September 2012, ground-based observatories, space probes and space telescopes alike have been trying to grab a glimpse of what could be the “Comet of the Century” should it survive its solar close approach. Although many of the space missions were not designed to take snapshots of comets, it hasn’t stopped many from trying and contributing valuable science as we continue to track ISON’s progress. View the gallery

How Do Supermassive Black Holes Get So Fat?

Gravitational waves are the elusive ripples in spacetime that are theorized to pervade the entire Universe, generated by violent events, chronicling the evolution of some of the most massive objects in the Cosmos. Now, by using a clever technique to measure the observed variations in pulsar spin rates, astronomers may be getting close to not only observing the presence of these waves, but also understanding why some of the biggest black holes are so fat. Read more

Stunning New View of Cat’s Paw Stellar Kittens

It’s always a joy to see new views of the cosmos through a new telescope or instrument… and this is no exception — these are submillimeter-wavelength emissions from cool lanes of dust inside the Cat’s Paw Nebula, showing the locations of baby stars sparking to life. Read more about the new APEX instrument that is allowing astronomers to see deeper into the Cosmos than ever before.

Hubble Spies Swarm of Stars in Belly of a Whale

We’ve had a rocket frog and a space bat, and now here’s a new Hubble image showing an entire flock of stars stuffed inside the belly of a cosmic whale, 11 million light-years away. Read more


The moon & Venus tonight, Middle Harbor Shoreline Park

Oakland, 9.8.13

This fantastic conjunction of Venus and the crescent moon was captured by DNews’ Executive Producer Pam from Oakland, CA! here’s what she had to say about the experience:

Pam: “I didn’t realize what I was capturing at first… I just thought the moon was pretty, because it was kind of low in the sky, right around sunset time. I thought ‘What’s that bright thing next to the moon?’ and remembered reading about the venus-moon conjunction happening this weekend and I was like, ‘RAD!’”

Rad indeed, Pam. Rad, indeed.

Mystery Alignment of ‘Butterfly’ Nebulae Discovered

Astronomers have discovered something weird in the Milky Way’s galactic bulge — a population of planetary nebula are all mysteriously pointing in the same direction. Read more

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