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A ringside seat for a slow-motion galactic train wreck

8 March 2018 William Harwood

The Hubble Space Telescope captures a snapshot of a collision between two galaxies 350 million light years away in the constellation Cetus, giving astronomers a ringside seat to a slow-motion merger that eventually will result in a single combined galaxy. Gravitational interactions are distorting the barred spirals, ripping away stars and dust.

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Saturn’s ‘Great Northern Storm’ still an awesome sight to behold

6 March 2018 William Harwood

For reasons not yet understood, Saturn seems to store energy in its atmosphere over decades before suddenly releasing it in massive lightning storms that affect the ringed planet’s atmosphere across enormous distances. The Great Northern Storm of 2010/11 circled Saturn like a snake eating its tail, persisting for months before dissipating.

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First close up Juno images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot reach Earth

12 July 2017 William Harwood

Two days after NASA’s Juno spacecraft streaked over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, pictures of the solar system’s largest, most powerful storm, have been transmitted to Earth, giving eager scientist close-up views of the 10,000-mile-wide anticyclone where 400-mph winds have been howling for at least 187 years and possibly much longer.

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Black holes crash together and make waves

3 June 2017 William Harwood

Three billion years ago, in a third of a second, two black holes crashed into each other and merged into a single entity, converting two solar masses into energy that shook the fabric of spacetime, sending gravitational ripples across the universe that were detected on Earth last January, researchers announced Thursday.

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European Rosetta spacecraft poised for comet crash landing

29 September 2016 William Harwood

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft closed in Thursday for a deliberate crash landing on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Friday, a slow-motion kamikaze plunge to bring the enormously successful mission to an end after more than two years of unprecedented close-range observations.