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Andromeda’s bright X-ray mystery solved by NuSTAR

24 March 2017 Stephen Clark

The Milky Way’s closest neighbor, Andromeda, features a dominant source of high-energy X-ray emission, but its identity was mysterious until now. As reported in a new study, NASA’s NuSTAR mission has pinpointed an object responsible for this high-energy radiation.

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Europe’s ExoMars spacecraft begins lowering its orbit

20 March 2017 Stephen Clark

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, a Russian-launched, European-built spacecraft that arrived at Mars in October, is starting to dip into the upper reaches of the red planet’s atmosphere in a year-long “aerobraking” campaign place the observatory in the right position to hunt for methane, an indicator of potential biological activity.

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Saturn’s peculiar moon Pan pictured

11 March 2017 Astronomy Now

The Cassini probe has revealed Saturn’s inner-most moon Pan in all its peculiar glory. The spacecraft took the highest resolution images yet of the extraordinary, ravioli-shaped moon on 7 March 2017 from a distance of 24,572 kilometres (15,268 miles).

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Hubble dates black hole’s last big meal

9 March 2017 Stephen Clark

For the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, it’s been a long time between dinners. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has found that the black hole ate its last big meal about 6 million years ago, when it consumed a large clump of infalling gas.