compiled by Michael Wright and David Kaplan
What We’ve Learned About Pluto
The story of Pluto is largely a story of ice. On Earth, the only ice is frozen water. On Pluto, nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide also freeze solid. The most striking feature that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft saw when it flew past Pluto last July was a heart-shape region now named Tombaugh Regio after Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto. The left half is covered by mostly nitrogen snow; the right side is more methane ice.
Dawn spies new detail in Ceres’ bright spot
The US space agency’s Dawn satellite continues to return remarkable images from the dwarf planet Ceres, in particular from its collection of bright spots in Occator Crater.
Project Greenglow and the battle with gravity
Scientists are debating whether it’s possible to harness the power of gravity for interstellar space travel.
Hubble telescope spies stellar ‘land of giants’
Astronomers use the Hubble Space Telescope to investigate a clutch of monster stars on the edge of our Milky Way Galaxy.
A ‘Tail’ of Two Comets
Two comets that will safely fly past Earth later this month may have more in common than their intriguingly similar orbits.
Astronomers Discover Colossal ‘Super Spiral’ Galaxies
A new class of behemoth spiral galaxies has been uncovered using NASA archival data.
Europe’s New Mars Mission Bringing NASA Radios Along
Two NASA radios aboard the European Space Agency’s Mars mission that launched today are engineered to provide communication relay service for rovers and landers on Mars.
Mars Mission Blasts Off From Kazakhstan
The ExoMars spacecraft consists of an orbiter that will measure methane and other gases in the Martian atmosphere and a lander that will study dust storms.
NASA Targets May 2018 Launch of Mars InSight Mission
NASA’s InSight mission to study the deep interior of Mars is targeting a new launch window that begins May 5, 2018.
Who was Caroline Herschel?
Caroline Herschel is the subject of a Google doodle, but what was her contribution to science?
Watching the heavens: The female pioneers of science
Why the forgotten women of astronomy are being celebrated 100 years on.
Ten Years of Discovery by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
True to its purpose, the big NASA spacecraft that began orbiting Mars a decade ago this week has delivered huge advances in knowledge about the Red Planet.
NASA’s K2 mission: The Kepler Space Telescope’s Second Chance to Shine
How engineers devised a clever solution to give NASA’s Kepler spacecraft a new mission.
Dawn’s First Year at Ceres: A Mountain Emerges
NASA’s Dawn mission commemorates the spacecraft’s first year at Ceres with new images of a mysterious mountain.
Dark Mercury’s ‘pencil lead crust’ revealed
The planet Mercury may once have been encased in an outer shell of graphite, the same material used as pencil lead.
Gravitational waves: Tests begin for future space observatory
The European Space Agency’s Lisa Pathfinder probe begins testing the technologies needed to detect gravitational waves in space.
Hubble sets new cosmic distance record
The Hubble Space Telescope spies a galaxy that existed more than 13 billion years ago, very close to the dawn of star formation.
Versatile Instrument to Scout for Kuiper Belt Objects
The CHIMERA instrument at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego is using hi-tech cameras to locate near-Earth asteroids and objects in the Kuiper Belt.
Radio flash tracked to faraway galaxy
Astronomers pinpoint the source of an explosive ‘fast radio burst’ for the very first time, and use it to measure the density of the cosmos.
Astronaut Capt Scott Kelly’s year in space
A selection of some of the stunning images posted on social media by astronaut Capt Scott Kelly
5 Ancient Sites Built to Align with the Spring Equinox
Architecture that works with astronomy.