Episode 460: HubbleWatch for July 201307/31/13
Hubble maps a double-star system’s outbursts, and a fortuitous alignment of stars will allow us to search for planets around our nearest stellar neighbor. Hubble Maps 3-D Structure of Ejected Material Around Erupting Star Rare Stellar Alignment Offers...
Episode 459: Pluto Moons Named
Pluto's new moons have new names, given by the public via popular vote. P4 and P5, as they were previously known, are now called Styx and Kerberos. The names match Pluto's mythological theme, since Pluto in Greek mythology was the lord of the...
Episode 458: Proxima Centauri's Planets?
At a distance of 4.2 light-years from Earth, Proxima Centauri is just 0.2 light-years from the more-distant binary star Alpha Centauri A+B. These three stars are considered part of the triple-star system that is closest to Earth, although right now...
Episode 457: Mapping the Moon's Gravity
NASA’s twin GRAIL probes were launched in 2011 to fly to the Moon and measure changes in the gravity of that body. The analysis of the data has just been published and shows a detailed map of the gravity variations. Although mass concentrations under...
Episode 456: Perigean Tides
High tides happen every day, but some are higher than others. Some of the highest tides, called “perigean high tides,” occur when the Moon is closest to Earth in its monthly orbit. When coastal storms take place during these tides, major flooding can...
Episode 454: Hydrogen Clouds in the Neighborhood
Radio observations of the region between the two spiral galaxies nearest our own, Andromeda and Triangulum, have verified the presence of hydrogen gas clouds. The clouds are hard to find, since they are mostly composed of ionized gas that is difficult...
Episode 453: Same Source for Earth and Moon Water?
New research tells us that water located deep inside both Earth and the Moon may have come from the same source, and that source is likely ancient meteorites, similar to the asteroids now populating the asteroid belt. Science Daily on the discovery...
Episode 450: Life's Building Blocks in Space
Using new technology, researchers have discovered an important pair of pre-biotic molecules in interstellar space. The new discoveries indicate that some basic chemicals are key steps on the path to life and may have formed on dusty ice grains...
Episode 445: The Disappearing Van Allen Belt
The solar system -- especially the inner part -- is bathed in charged particles from the Sun and cosmic radiation. Several planets with magnetic fields, including Earth, are somewhat protected from the particles because they become trapped high above...
Episode 443: Life on Mars Once Possible
Rock samples collected in February 2013 by NASA's Curiosity rover show ancient Mars could have supported living microbes. The rover found the soil contains sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon – all elements critical for life....
Episode 442: Seeing the Sun Like Never Before
In the three years since NASA launched the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), the spacecraft has provided continuous, high-resolution views of the Sun, helping us better understand our star and its influence on us. Among other accomplishments, SDO also...
Show 441: Sailing on Sunlight
In Arthur C. Clarke's short story "Sunjammer," a spaceship designer develops a spacecraft with a large "solar sail" that propels it through space using radiation pressure from the Sun. In recent years, solar sails have jumped from the pages of science...
Show 440: Oh No, Mini-Neptunes!
A new study suggests that many of the "super-Earth" planets astronomers have discovered orbiting other stars are probably more like "mini-Neptunes" than like our rocky planet. However, moons orbiting these planets might still hold potential for...
Show 439: Vesta Shaped by Violent Collisions
In 2011 and 2012, NASA's Dawn spacecraft orbited the second-largest asteroid in our solar system, Vesta, providing unprecedented views of its surface. Computer simulations based on Dawn's observations suggest that violent collisions with two other...
Show 438: HubbleWatch for February 2013
Hubble finds that a planet orbiting the bright star Fomalhaut takes a wild and potentially destructive path through a vast debris field surrounding the star.
Show 427: HubbleWatch for December 2012
There's a mystery at the center of a giant elliptical galaxy. And Hubble finds seven galaxies from the early universe, galaxies that existed just 350-600 million years after the Big Bang started it all.
Show 426: HubbleWatch for September 2012
Hubble finds Pluto has a fifth moon. A faint galaxy is one of the most distant objects ever detected. And a new Deep Field image, the Extreme Deep Field, combines all Hubble's images of a tiny sliver of space
Show 411: Earth's Oldest Impact Crater
A huge, new asteroid impact crater discovered in Greenland is thought to be a billion years older than any other known asteroid impact crater on Earth. Erosion features on Earth -- rain, wind, continental shift -- make finding evidence of impact...
Show 410: Pluto's New Moon
The dwarf planet Pluto is never out of the news. It is an object of study because it formed and evolved in the outer part of the solar system called the Kuiper Belt. In support of the NASA New Horizons mission, launched in 2006 and on its way to...
Show 409: A Small Planet
Astronomers are keen to find extrasolar planets that are similar in size to Earth, as well as those significantly smaller. Now during observations of a planetary system known to have at least one orbiting planet, a second very small planet was found....
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