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News by month (2005): Recent : Jan
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Seeing double: Spitzer captures our galaxy's twin
June 28: What would our Milky Way galaxy look like if we could travel outside it and snap a picture? It might look a lot like a new image by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope of a spiral galaxy called NGC 7331 — a virtual twin of our Milky Way. The picture shows our twin as never before. Its swirling arms spin outward from a central bulge of light, which is outlined by a ring of actively forming stars.
Saturn's rotation is a puzzle
June 28: On approach to Saturn, data obtained by the Cassini spacecraft are already posing a puzzling question: How long is the day on Saturn? Cassini took readings of the day-length indicator regarded as most reliable — the rhythm of natural radio signals from the planet. The result was 6 minutes longer than that measured by the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft, which flew by Saturn in 1980 and 1981.
Scientists discover two new interstellar molecules
June 27: A team of scientists using the Green Bank Telescope has discovered two new molecules in an interstellar cloud near the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy. This discovery is already helping astronomers better understand the complex processes by which large molecules form in space.
Camera to shoot first direct images of exoplanets
June 26: A University of Arizona astronomer and his collaborators are using a novel camera to hunt for extrasolar planets. Their camera has already captured stunning images of Saturn's moon, Titan, and discovered an object just 27 times the mass of Jupiter. They hope the camera will be the first to directly photograph faint gas-giants similar to Jupiter in solar systems beyond our own.
Getting closer to Titan
June 25: Irregular bright and dark regions of yet unidentified composition and character are becoming increasingly visible on Titan's surface as Cassini approaches its scheduled first flyby of Saturn's largest moon on July 2, 2004.
Phoebe moon likely born in outer solar system
June 23: NASA unveiled a spectacular high-resolution mosaic of Saturn's enigmatic moon Phoebe on June 23rd, along with other data from the Saturn-bound Cassini probe showing the moon formed in the extreme outer solar system and was later captured by the ringed planet's gravity.
Chandra finds mystery at Milky Way centre
June 22: A long look by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has revealed new evidence that extremely hot gas exists in a large region at the centre of the Milky Way. The intensity and spectrum of the high-energy X-rays produced by this gas present a puzzle as to how it is being heated.
Link found between Earth's oceans and Jupiter's bands
June 22: Scientists have discovered a striking similarity between certain ocean currents on Earth and the bands that characterize the surface of large, gaseous planets like Jupiter.
New view of Saturn's rings and moons from Cassini
June 21: Saturn's magnificent rings show some of their intricate structure in this image taken by the Cassini spacecraft's narrow angle camera. Although they appear to be solid structures, the rings are composed of billions of individual particles, each one orbiting the planet on its own path.
Scientists ask if comets once flooded Earth's oceans
June 19: Did the Earth form with water locked into its rocks, which then gradually leaked out over millions of years? Or did the occasional impacting comet provide Earth's oceans? The Ptolemy experiment on Europe's Rosetta comet probe may just find out.
'Blazar' illuminates era when stars, galaxies formed
June 18: Astrophysicists at Stanford report spotting a black hole so massive that it's more than 10 billion times the mass of our Sun. Moreover, this heavyweight is so far away that the scientists think it formed when the universe first began to light up with stars and galaxies, so it may provide a window into our cosmological origins.
Saturn in infrared
June 18: Saturn's bright equatorial band displays an exquisite swirl near the planet's eastern limb. This image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft's narrow angle camera from a distance of 14.5 million miles from Saturn.
Stardust reveals surprising anatomy of a comet
June 17: Findings from a historic encounter between NASA's Stardust spacecraft and Comet Wild 2 have revealed it to be a much stranger world than previously believed. The comet's rigid surface, dotted with towering pinnacles, plunging craters, steep cliffs, and dozens of jets spewing violently, has surprised scientists.
Comet's dust clouds hit probe 'like thunderbolt'
June 17: Two swarms of microscopic cometary dust blasted NASA's Stardust spacecraft in short but intense bursts as it approached within 150 miles of Comet Wild 2 last January, data from a University of Chicago instrument flying aboard the spacecraft has revealed.
Mass of ultra-cool brown dwarf binary measured
June 15: An international team of astronomers using the world's biggest telescopes have directly measured the mass of an ultra-cool brown dwarf star and its companion dwarf star for the first time.
Phoebe's surface gives scientists clues to its origin
June 14: Images collected during Cassini's close flyby of Saturn's moon, Phoebe, have yielded strong evidence that the tiny object may contain ice-rich material, overlain with a thin layer of darker material perhaps 300 to 500 metres (980 to 1,600 feet) thick.
Jupiter's moon Io is hottest body outside the Sun
June 11: The hottest spot in the solar system is neither Mercury, Venus, nor St. Louis in the summer. Io, one of the four satellites that the Italian astronomer Galileo discovered orbiting Jupiter almost 400 years ago, takes that prize.
Galaxy formation theory no longer conflicts
June 11: Astrophysicists led by the University of Chicago's Andrey Kravtsov have resolved an embarrassing contradiction between a favoured theory of how galaxies form and what astronomers see in their telescopes.
Venus transit widely observed
June 10: Clear skies over most of the British Isles granted observers excellent views of Venus crossing the face of the Sun during the morning and early afternoon of June 8th, a rare and beautiful sight last seen in 1882.
Radio telescopes reveal youngest stellar corpse
June 10: Astronomers using a global combination of radio telescopes to study a stellar explosion some 30 million light-years from Earth have likely discovered either the youngest black hole or the youngest neutron star known in the Universe.
New theory for first stars
June 7: The very first stars that formed early in the history of the universe were smaller than the massive giants implied by the results of a NASA research satellite, but still larger than the typical stars found in our galaxy today, according to a research team led by the University of Chicago's Jason Tumlinson.
FUSE pierces the Veil
June 7: The Veil Nebula, a delicate network of glowing gaseous filaments in the northern constellation of Cygnus the Swan, has long been a favourite of both amateur and professional astronomers. Part of a much larger nebula known as the Cygnus Loop, the Veil is comprised of the leftovers of a star that exploded between 5,000 and 8,000 years ago.
Origin of enigmatic galactic centre filaments revealed
June 7: Twenty years ago, astronomers discovered a number of enigmatic radio-emitting filaments concentrated near the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy. These features initially defied explanation, but a new study of radio images of the Galactic centre may point to their possible source.
Hubble refines distance to Pleiades star cluster
June 6: Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have helped settle a mystery that has puzzled scientists concerning the exact distance to the famous nearby star cluster known as the Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters.
Faintest survey of distant galaxies taken by Hubble
June 6: Researchers have measured accurate distances to several faint, red galaxies seen in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, confirming that three quarters are among the most distant galaxies yet studied.
Hubble reveals details in heart of the Trifid Nebula
June 5: Three huge intersecting dark lanes of interstellar dust make the Trifid Nebula one of the most recognizable and striking star birth regions in the night sky. The dust, silhouetted against glowing gas and illuminated by starlight, cradles the bright stars at the heart of the Trifid Nebula. It lies within our own Milky Way galaxy about 9,000 light-years from Earth.
Pinwheel Galaxy's hidden wonders revealed
June 4: Like nosy neighbours, astronomers are spying on one of the nearest galaxies to our Milky Way. In studying the Pinwheel Galaxy, also known as Messier 33 (M33), they seek not malicious gossip but new knowledge as they search for clues to how galaxies like our own are born, live and die.
Cassini getting ever closer to colourful Saturn
June 3: As Cassini coasts into the final month of its nearly seven-year trek, the serene majesty of its destination looms ahead. The spacecraft's cameras are functioning beautifully and continue to return stunning views from Cassini's position, 750 million miles from Earth and now 9.8 million miles from Saturn.
Proof found for gamma-ray burst in Milky Way
June 3: Combined data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and infrared observations with the Palomar 200-inch telescope have uncovered evidence that a gamma-ray burst, one of nature's most catastrophic explosions, occurred in our Galaxy a few thousand years ago. The supernova remnant, W49B, may also be the first remnant of a gamma-ray burst discovered in the Milky Way.
Looking to catch stars in the act as planets form
June 3: For young stars, the peak age for planet formation is around 1 to 3 million years. By 10 million years old, their resources are exhausted and they retire to a life on the stellar "main sequence." Using telescopes on the ground and in space, a team of astronomers is studying Sun-like stars in their waning formative years. They seek to refine our understanding of planet formation by studying dusty protoplanetary disks around such stars.
Great Observatories find black holes, hidden objects
June 1: On June 1st, astronomers unveiled the deepest images from NASA's new Spitzer Space Telescope and announced the detection of distant objects — including several supermassive black holes — that are nearly invisible in even the deepest images from telescopes operating at other wavelengths.

The Planets
From tiny Mercury to distant Neptune and Pluto, The Planets profiles each of the Solar System's members in depth, featuring the latest imagery from space missions. The tallest mountains, the deepest canyons, the strongest winds, raging atmospheric storms, terrain studded with craters and vast worlds of ice are just some of the sights you'll see on this 100-page tour of the planets.

Hubble Reborn
Hubble Reborn takes the reader on a journey through the Universe with spectacular full-colour pictures of galaxies, nebulae, planets and stars as seen through Hubble's eyes, along the way telling the dramatic story of the space telescope, including interviews with key scientists and astronauts.

3D Universe
Witness the most awesome sights of the Universe as they were meant to be seen in this 100-page extravaganza of planets, galaxies and star-scapes, all in 3D!


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