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NuSTAR’s first five years in space

16 June 2017 Astronomy Now

The chief scientist on NASA’s NuSTAR mission shares her take on five of the X-ray telescope’s iconic images and artist concepts, ranging from our flaring Sun to distant, buried black holes.

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Astronomers find planet hotter than most stars

7 June 2017 Astronomy Now

A newly discovered Jupiter-like world is so hot, it’s being vaporized by its own star. With a dayside temperature of more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit, KELT-9b is a planet that is hotter than most stars. But its blue A-type star, called KELT-9, is even hotter — in fact, it is probably unraveling the planet through evaporation.

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Cassini survives closest brush with Saturn’s inner ring

30 May 2017 Stephen Clark

Barreling through space near the inner edge of Saturn’s wispy D ring, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shielded itself from bits of ice and dust Sunday as the probe made its most dangerous plunge close to the planet, collecting spectacular edge-on views of Saturn’s rings with an on-board camera.

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Earlier launch of NASA’s Psyche mission touted as cost-saving measure

26 May 2017 Stephen Clark

A NASA spacecraft set to explore a metallic asteroid for the first time will launch in 2022, a year earlier than originally planned, and reach its destination in 2026, four years ahead of schedule, giving ground teams a shorter wait for the mission’s scientific payoff and shaving $100 million off the project’s total cost, officials said Wednesday.

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Juno spacecraft makes another pass by Jupiter

20 May 2017 Stephen Clark

Making its fifth science pass close to Jupiter’s turbulent cloud tops, NASA’s Juno spacecraft sailed by the Solar System’s king planet Friday to collect another treasure trove of data on the giant world’s atmosphere, internal structure, and magnetic field.

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Movie shows Ceres at opposition from Sun

17 May 2017 Astronomy Now

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft successfully observed Ceres at opposition on April 29, taking images from a position exactly between the Sun and Ceres’ surface. Mission specialists had carefully maneuvered Dawn into a special orbit so that the spacecraft could view Occator Crater, which contains the brightest area of Ceres, from this new perspective.