Cosmic collision creates mini-planet with rings

Until now, rings of material in a disc have only been observed around giant planets like Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and especially Saturn, which is known for its spectacular rings.

Scientists solve riddle of celestial archaeology

A decades old space mystery has been solved by an international team of astronomers led by Professor Martin Barstow of the University of Leicester and President-elect of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Solar System's edge redefined

New work from Carnegie's Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory reports the discovery of a distant dwarf planet, called 2012 VP113, which was found beyond the known edge of the Solar System.

Dark energy hides behind phantom fields

Quintessence and phantom fields, two hypotheses formulated using data from satellites, such as Planck and WMAP, are among the many theories that try to explain the nature of dark energy. Now researchers from Barcelona and Athens suggest that both possibilities are only a mirage in the observations and it is the quantum vacuum which could be behind this energy that moves our universe.

Studying crops from outer space

Plants convert energy from sunlight into chemical energy during a process called photosynthesis. This energy is passed on to humans and animals that eat the plants, and thus photosynthesis is the primary source of energy for all life on Earth.

Lick's Automated Planet Finder: First robotic telescope for planet hunters

Lick Observatory's newest telescope, the Automated Planet Finder (APF), has been operating robotically night after night on Mt. Hamilton since January, searching nearby stars for Earth-sized planets.

Mars-mimicking chamber explores habitability of other planets

A research team in Spain has the enviable job of testing out new electromechanical gear for potential use in future missions to the "Red Planet." They do it within their Mars environmental simulation chamber, which is specially designed to mimic conditions on the fourth planet from the sun -- right down to its infamous Martian dust.

Plugging the hole in Hawking’s black hole theory

Recently physicists have been poking holes again in Stephen Hawking’s black hole theory – including Hawking himself. For decades physicists across the globe have been trying to figure out the mysteries of black holes – those fascinating monstrous entities that have such intense gravitational pull that nothing – not even light – can escape from them. Now Professor Chris Adami, Michigan State University, has jumped into the fray.

Prepping for radar vision

Sentinel-1A, Europe’s first satellite for Copernicus, is almost ready for launch on 3 April. Meanwhile, ESA is showing how its advanced radar will map ice, monitor subsidence and much more. Marking a new era in Earth observation focusing on operational applications, Sentinel-1A is set to deliver timely imagery for numerous Copernicus services.

Mars Rover's next stop has sandstone variations

Variations in the stuff that cements grains together in sandstone have shaped the landscape surrounding NASA's Curiosity Mars rover and could be a study topic at the mission's next science waypoint.

NASA's Space Sunflower may help snap pictures of planets

A spacecraft that looks like a giant sunflower might one day be used to acquire images of Earth-like rocky planets around nearby stars. The prototype deployable structure, called a starshade, is being developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Hubble peers at the heart of NGC 5793

This new Hubble image is centered on NGC 5793, a spiral galaxy over 150 million light-years away in the constellation of Libra.

Dramatic new portrait helps define Milky Way's shape, contents

Using more than 2 million images collected by NASA's orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope, a team of Wisconsin scientists has stitched together a dramatic 360 degree portrait of the Milky Way, providing new details of our galaxy's structure and contents.

Scientists say the surface of Titan Sea is mirror smooth

New radar measurements of an enormous sea on Titan offer insights into the weather patterns and landscape composition of the Saturnian moon. The measurements, made in 2013 by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, reveal that the surface of Ligeia Mare, Titan's second largest sea, possesses a mirror-like smoothness, possibly due to a lack of winds.

NASA spacecraft reveal new “Zebra Stripes” structure in Earth’s inner radiation belt

Scientists have discovered a new, persistent structure in Earth’s inner radiation belt using data from the twin NASA Van Allen Probes spacecraft. Most surprisingly, this structure is produced by the slow rotation of Earth, previously considered incapable of affecting the motion of radiation belt particles, which have velocities approaching the speed of light.

Jupiter's great red spot viewed by Voyager I

At about 89,000 miles in diameter, Jupiter could swallow 1,000 Earths. It is the largest planet in the solar system and perhaps the most majestic.

NASA releases first interactive mosaic of lunar North Pole

Scientists, using cameras aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), have created the largest high resolution mosaic of our moon’s north polar region. The six-and-a-half feet (two-meters)-per-pixel images cover an area equal to more than one-quarter of the United States.

Report: Amazon inhales more carbon than it emits

A new NASA-led study seven years in the making has confirmed that natural forests in the Amazon remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit, therefore reducing global warming. This finding resolves a long-standing debate about a key component of the overall carbon balance of the Amazon basin.

New view of supernova death throes

A powerful, new three-dimensional model provides fresh insight into the turbulent death throes of supernovas, whose final explosions outshine entire galaxies and populate the universe with elements that make life on Earth possible.

NASA centers team up to tackle sonic boom

Since the Concorde’s final landing at London’s Heathrow Airport nearly a decade ago, commercial supersonic air travel has been as elusive as a piece of lost luggage. However, this hasn’t stopped NASA from continuing the quest to develop solutions that will help get supersonic passenger travel off the ground once more.