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Featured News from Portal To The Universe
Updated: 18 min 43 sec ago

New Method of Searching for Fifth Force

Sat, 27/05/2017 - 01:32
Keck Observatory: A UCLA-led team has discovered a new way of probing the hypothetical fifth force of nature using two decades of observations at W. M. Keck Observatory, the world’s most scientifically productive ground-based telescope.

First Stone Ceremony for ESO's Extremely Large Telescope

Fri, 26/05/2017 - 22:30
ESO Top News:

NASA to Make Announcement About First Mission to Touch Sun

Fri, 26/05/2017 - 17:01
NASA Breaking News: NASA will make an announcement about the agency’s first mission to fly directly into our sun’s atmosphere during an event at 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, May 31, from the University of Chicago’s William Eckhardt Research Center Auditorium. The event will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

New NASA Mission to Study Mysterious Neutron Stars, Aid in Deep Space Navigation

Fri, 26/05/2017 - 15:32
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center: A new NASA mission is headed for the International Space Station next month to observe one of the strangest observable objects in the universe. Launching June 1, the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) will be installed aboard the space station as the first mission dedicated to studying neutron stars, a type of collapsed star that is so dense scientists are unsure how matter behaves deep inside it.

A Whole New Jupiter: First Science Results from NASA’s Juno Mission

Thu, 25/05/2017 - 18:59
NASA Breaking News:

Collapsing Star Gives Birth to a Black Hole

Thu, 25/05/2017 - 17:19
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center:

Cassini Looks on as Solstice Arrives at Saturn

Wed, 24/05/2017 - 23:37
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features:

NASA Moves Up Launch of Psyche Mission to a Metal Asteroid

Wed, 24/05/2017 - 18:03
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features: Psyche, NASA's Discovery Mission to a unique metal asteroid, has been moved up one year with launch in the summer of 2022, and with a planned arrival at the main belt asteroid in 2026 -- four years earlier than the original timeline.

Newly discovered fast-growing galaxies could solve cosmic riddle – and show ancient cosmic merger

Wed, 24/05/2017 - 18:00
Max Planck Institute for Astronomy: Astronomers have discovered a new kind of galaxy in the early universe, less than a billion years after the Big Bang. These galaxies are forming stars more than a hundred times faster than our own Milky Way. The discovery could explain an earlier finding: a population of surprisingly massive galaxies at a time 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang, which would require such hyper-productive precursors to grow their hundreds of billions of stars. The observations also show what appears to be the earliest image of galaxies merging. The results, by a group of astronomers led by Roberto Decarli of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, have been published in the 25 May issue of the journal Nature.

Schiaparelli landing investigation completed

Wed, 24/05/2017 - 14:00
ESA Top News: The inquiry into the crash-landing of the ExoMars Schiaparelli module has concluded that conflicting information in the onboard computer caused the descent sequence to end prematurely.

VLA Reveals New Object Near Supermassive Black Hole in Famous Galaxy

Tue, 23/05/2017 - 18:21
National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO): Pointing the National Science Foundation’s Very Large Array (VLA) at a famous galaxy for the first time in two decades, a team of astronomers got a big surprise, finding that a bright new object had appeared near the galaxy’s core. The object, the scientists concluded, is either a very rare type of supernova explosion or, more likely, an outburst from a second supermassive black hole closely orbiting the galaxy’s primary, central supermassive black hole.

NASA to Discuss First Science Results from Juno Mission to Jupiter

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 18:25
NASA Breaking News: Scientists from NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter will discuss their first in-depth science results in a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT Thursday, May 25, when multiple papers with early findings will be published online by the journal Science and Geophysical Research Letters.

The race to trace TRAPPIST-1h

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 16:06
NCCR PlanetS: After 60 hours of non-stop work, researchers at the University of Bern being part of an international team reached their hoped-for goal: They were the first to measure the orbital period for the outermost planet of the famous TRAPPIST-1 system which made headlines worldwide. The new result confirms that the seven Earth-size planets around the ultra-cool dwarf are lined up in a chain with resonances linking every member. The orbits of the seven planets around the star TRAPPIST-1. The grey region is the zone, where liquid water could exist on the surface of the planets. On planet TRAPPIST-1 h liquid water is possible under a thick layer of ice. (1 AU is the distance between the Sun and the Earth.) Credit: A. Triaud «We knew that we had to be very fast to be the first ones», says Marko Sestovic, PhD student at the University of Bern’s Center for Space and Habitability (CSH). «If you are not the first, nobody cares about your effort», adds CSH postdoc Simon Grimm. NASA had started the global research race with announcing the public release of data about two months ahead of schedule. Its Kepler Space Telescope had observed the star TRAPPIST-1 from mid-December ...

Secondary Mirror of ELT Successfully Cast

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 11:00
ESO Top News: The casting of the secondary mirror blank for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) has been completed by SCHOTT at Mainz, Germany. The completed mirror will be 4.2 metres in diameter and weigh 3.5 tonnes. It will be the largest secondary mirror ever employed on a telescope and also the largest convex mirror ever produced.

SKA precursor telescope MeerKAT releases new 1.5 images using its current 32 antennas

Fri, 19/05/2017 - 10:01
Square Kilometer Array: The South African SKA precursor telescope MeerKAT has just released its recent AR1.5 results, images achieved by using various configurations of the 32 antennas currently operational in the Karoo. The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, following the delivery of the Budget Vote of the Department of Science and Technology to the South African parliament, embarked on a tour of the Iziko Museum, where SKA SA joined other exhibitors for a showcase. During this exhibition, SKA SA Chief Scientist Dr Fernando Camilo and SKA SA Head of Science Commissioning Dr Sharmila Goedhart presented the AR1.5 results to the minister.

Astronomers make the largest map of the Universe yet

Fri, 19/05/2017 - 02:00
Sloan Digital Sky Survey: A slice through largest-ever three-dimensional map of the Universe. Earth is at the left, and distances to galaxies and quasars are labelled by the lookback time to the objects (lookback time means how long the light from an object has been traveling to reach us here on Earth). The locations of quasars (galaxies with supermassive black holes) are shown by the red dots, and nearer galaxies mapped by SDSS are also shown (yellow). The right-hand edge of the map is the limit of the observable Universe, from which we see the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) – the light “left over” from the Big Bang. The bulk of the empty space in between the quasars and the edge of the observable universe are from the “dark ages”, prior to the formation of most stars, galaxies, or quasars. Click on the image for a larger version. Image Credit: Anand Raichoor (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland) and the SDSS collaboration Astronomers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) have created the first map of the large-scale structure of the Universe based entirely on the positions of quasars. Quasars are the incredibly bright and distant points of light powered by supermassive black holes. ...

Rivers on three worlds tell different tales

Thu, 18/05/2017 - 19:00
MIT: The environment on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, may seem surprisingly familiar: Clouds condense and rain down on the surface, feeding rivers that flow into oceans and lakes. Outside of Earth, Titan is the only other planetary body in the solar system with actively flowing rivers, though they’re fed by liquid methane instead of water. Long ago, Mars also hosted rivers, which scoured valleys across its now-arid surface. Now MIT scientists have found that despite these similarities, the origins of topography, or surface elevations, on Mars and Titan are very different from that on Earth.

ALMA Eyes Icy Ring around Young Planetary System

Thu, 18/05/2017 - 16:08
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics:

First radio detection of lonely planet disk shows similarities between stars and planet-like objects

Thu, 18/05/2017 - 07:00
Max Planck Institute for Astronomy: First radio observations of the lonely, planet-like object OTS44 reveal a dusty protoplanetary disk that is very similar to disks around young stars. This is unexpected, given that models of star and planet formation predict that formation from a collapsing cloud, forming a central object with surrounding disk, should not be possible for such low-mass objects. Apparently, stars and planet-like objects are more similar than previously thought. The finding, by an international team led by Amelia Bayo and including several astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, has been published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

NASA Asks Scientific Community to Think on Possible Europa Lander Instruments

Wed, 17/05/2017 - 20:05
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features:

ATTENTION

Please note that over the weekend of the 26-29th May 2017 we will be switching over to our brand new website - during this time there may be periods where the site is difficult to access, it will not be possible to register with the website, and users will be unable to request observations from the telescope. Please bear with us during this time. All should be back up and running by the 30th May 2017.