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Fermi LAT images showing the gamma-ray sky around the blazar PKS B1424-418. Brighter colors indicate greater numbers of gamma rays. The dashed arc marks part of the source region established by IceCube for the Big Bird neutrino (50-percent confidence level). Left: An average of LAT data centered on July 8, 2011, and covering 300 days when the blazar was inactive. Right: An average of 300 active days centered on Feb. 27, 2013, when PKS B1424-418 was the brightest blazar in this part of the sky.
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Hubble discovers moon orbiting the dwarf planet Makemake

This Hubble image reveals the first moon ever discovered around the dwarf planet Makemake. The tiny satellite, located just above Makemake in this image, is barely visible because it is almost lost in the glare of the very bright dwarf planet. Hubble's sharp-eyed WFC3 made the observation in April 2015.Peering to the outskirts of our solar system, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a small, dark moon orbiting Makemake, the second brightest icy dwarf planet -- after Pluto --...

Nearby massive star explosion 30 million years ago equaled detonation of 100 million suns

A giant star that exploded 30 million years ago was one of the closest to Earth in recent years to go supernova, say astrophysicists at Southern Methodist University, Dallas. It was visible as a point of light in the night sky. This image of Supernova 2013ej shows the star just prior to explosion.A giant star that exploded 30 million years ago in a galaxy near Earth had a radius prior to going supernova that was 200 times larger than our sun, according...

Hubble sees a star 'inflating' a giant bubble

This is a Hubble Space Telescope photograph of an enormous, balloon-like bubble being blown into space by a super-hot, massive star. Astronomers trained the iconic telescope on this colorful feature, called the Bubble Nebula, or NGC 7635.For the 26th birthday of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers are highlighting a Hubble image of an enormous bubble being blown into space by a super-hot, massive star. The Hubble...

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NASA examines Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Fantala near Madagascar

On April 18 at 10:25 UTC (6:25 a.m. EDT) the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite saw Tropical Cyclone Fantala off Madagascar.Tropical Cyclone Fantala has become a major tropical cyclone in the Southern Indian Ocean reaching Category 5 status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. NASA's RapidScat instrument observed powerful winds...

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NASA's Fermi telescope poised to pin down gravitational wave sources

On Sept. 14, waves of energy traveling for more than a billion years gently rattled space-time in the vicinity of Earth. The disturbance, produced by a pair of merging black...

New tool refines exoplanet search

An artist's conception of an exoplanet courtesy of NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech.Planet-hunting is an ongoing process that's resulting in the discovery of more and more planets orbiting distant stars. But as the hunters learn more about the variety among the tremendous...

Astrophysicists find triple star system with 'hot Jupiter'

Crisp, clear images of a "hot Jupiter" system captured by a University of Notre Dame physicist were vital in determining that a newly found planet inhabits a three-star system, a...

Supernovae showered Earth with radioactive debris

Artist's impression of supernova.An international team of scientists has found evidence of a series of massive supernova explosions near our solar system, which showered the Earth with radioactive debris.

NASA's GPM satellite examines tornadic thunderstorms

The GPM core observatory satellite flew over the southern U.S. on March 31, 2016, at 10:41 p.m. EDT (April 1, 2016, at 2:41 a.m. UTC) where a tornado was reported near Hartselle, Alabama, less than an hour before the satellite passed over. Rain was falling at more than 91 mm (3.6 inches) per hour east of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Storm tops in Alabama reached above 12 km (7.4 miles). This image represents observed rainfall rates per hour.The Global Precipitation Measurement, or GPM, mission core satellite, a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, measured heavy rainfall in severe storms early on Friday, April...

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ALMA's most detailed image of a protoplanetary disc

ALMA's best image of a protoplanetary disc to date. This picture of the nearby young star TW Hydrae reveals the classic rings and gaps that signify planets are in formation in this system.The star TW Hydrae is a popular target of study for astronomers because of its proximity to Earth (only about 175 light-years away) and its status as an infant star...

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Are we alone? Setting some limits to our uniqueness

In 1961, astrophysicist Frank Drake developed an equation to estimate the number of advanced civilizations likely to exist in the Milky Way galaxy. The Drake equation (top row) has proven to be a durable framework for research, and space technology has advanced scientists' knowledge of several variables. But it is impossible to do anything more than guess at variables such as L, the probably longevity of other advanced civilizations.

In new research, Adam Frank and Woodruff Sullivan offer a new equation (bottom row) to address a slightly different question: What is the number of advanced civilizations likely to have developed over the history of the observable universe? Frank and Sullivan's equation draws on Drake's, but eliminates the need for L.Are humans unique and alone in the vast universe? This question-- summed up in the famous Drake equation -- has for a half-century been one of the most intractable and...

Light echoes give clues to planet nursery around star

This illustration shows a star surrounded by a protoplanetary disk. Material from the thick disk flows along the star's magnetic field lines and is deposited onto the star's surface. When material hits the star, it lights up brightly. The star's irregular illumination allows astronomers to measure the gap between the disk and the star by using a technique called "photo-reverberation" or "light echoes." First, astronomers look at how much time it takes for light from the star to arrive at Earth. Then, they compare that with the time it takes for light from the star to bounce off the inner edge of the disk and then arrive at Earth. That time difference is used to measure distance, as the speed of light is constant.Imagine you want to measure the size of a room, but it's completely dark. If you shout, you can tell if the space you're in is relatively big or small,...

Dark matter does not contain certain axion-like particles

Illustration of how light is transformed into ALP by the galaxy.Researchers at Stockholm University are getting closer to corner light dark-matter particle models. Observations can rule out some axion-like particles in the quest for the content of dark matter. The...

Microscopic 'timers' reveal likely source of galactic space radiation

This is a cluster of massive stars seen with the Hubble Space Telescope. The cluster is surrounded by clouds of interstellar gas and dust called a nebula. The nebula, located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina, contains the central cluster of huge, hot stars, called NGC 3603.Most of the cosmic rays that we detect at Earth originated relatively recently in nearby clusters of massive stars, according to new results from NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft....

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Seeing double: NASA missions measure solar flare from 2 spots in space

During a December 2013 solar flare, three NASA missions observed a current sheet form -- a strong clue for explaining what initiates the flares. This animation shows four views of the flare from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory, and JAXA/NASA's Hinode, allowing scientists to make unprecedented measurements of its characteristics. The current sheet is a long, thin structure, especially visible in the views on the left. Those two animations depict light emitted by material with higher temperatures, so they better show the extremely hot current sheet.Solar flares are intense bursts of light from the sun. They are created when complicated magnetic fields suddenly and explosively rearrange themselves, converting magnetic energy into light through a process...

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1917 astronomical plate has first-ever evidence of exoplanetary system

The 1917 photographic plate spectrum of van Maanen's star from the Carnegie Observatories' archive. The pull-out box shows the strong lines of the element calcium, which are surprisingly easy to see in the century old spectrum.  The spectrum is the thin, (mostly) dark line in the center of the image. The broad dark lanes above and below are from lamps used to calibrate wavelength, and are contrast-enhanced in the box to highlight the two "missing" absorption bands in the star.You can never predict what treasure might be hiding in your own basement. We didn't know it a year ago, but it turns out that a 1917 image on an...

Hot super-Earths stripped by host stars: 'Cooked' planets shrink due to radiation

This image shows a planet being stripped by host star's heat.Astrophysicists at the University of Birmingham have used data from the NASA Kepler space telescope to discover a class of extrasolar planets whose atmospheres have been stripped away by their...

Behemoth black hole found in an unlikely place

This computer-simulated image shows a supermassive black hole at the core of a galaxy. The black region in the center represents the black hole's event horizon, where no light can escape the massive object's gravitational grip. The black hole's powerful gravity distorts space around it like a funhouse mirror. Light from background stars is stretched and smeared as the stars skim by the black hole.Astronomers have uncovered a near-record breaking supermassive black hole, weighing 17 billion suns, in an unlikely place: in the center of a galaxy in a sparsely populated area of the...

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NASAs New Horizons fills gap in space environment observations

Space environment data collected by New Horizons over a billion miles of its journey to Pluto will play a key role in testing and improving models of the space environment throughout the solar system. This visualization is one example of such a model: It shows the simulated space environment out to Pluto a few months before New Horizons' closest approach. Drawn over the model is the path of New Horizons up to 2015, as well as the current direction of the two Voyager spacecraft - which are currently at three or four times New Horizons' distance from the sun. The solar wind that New Horizons encountered will reach the Voyager spacecraft about a year later.When NASA's New Horizons sped past Pluto on July 14, 2015, it took the best-ever pictures of the rocky world s surface, giving us new insight into its geology, composition...

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Mile-high Mars mounds built by wind and climate change

Gale Crater, the landing spot of the Mars rover Curiosity, has a three-mile-high mound at its center called Mount Sharp. The circle is the landing place of Curiosity. The blue line is its path.New research has found that wind carved massive mounds of more than a mile high on Mars over billions of years. Their location helps pin down when water on the...

Hubble's journey to the center of our galaxy

Hubble's infrared vision pierced the dusty heart of our Milky Way galaxy to reveal more than half a million stars at its core. At the very hub of our galaxy, this star cluster surrounds the Milky Way's central supermassive black hole, which is about 4 million times the mass of our sun.Peering deep into the heart of our Milky Way galaxy, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals a rich tapestry of more than half a million stars. Except for a few blue...

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