Category Archives: News

Final Encounter: Cassini and Dione

The Cassini Spacecraft swooped in for the last of five close encounters with one of the most beautiful moons in our solar system: Dione. After more than a decade exploring the Saturn system, the Cassini-Huygens mission must be regarded as one of the most successful science missions ever. It has already amassed one of the greatest photographic collections of all time. Revel in the details of Dione out near the limits of the solar system.

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Is the Universe Dying?

So what else is new? Science has known since the late 1990s that the universe is accelerating outward. That means it will continue to dissipate on into the future through a number of well defined epochs. A large international collaboration called the Galaxy and Mass Assembly Project (GAMA) has been surveying deep regions of the universe to find out how the energy output of galaxies has changed.

They found that a large sampling are emitting about half the energy they did two billion years ago. This is because rates of star birth are steadily declining. This is part of a slow decline in our current epoch, known as the Stellar Epoch, the epoch of stars. As one astronomer put it, the universe has settled down on the couch, while getting lazier and older. The timeline of this epoch, however, is many trillions of years into the future.

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When A Solar Storm Engulfs Earth

What happens with a giant solar outburst on the scale of the Great Solar Storm of 1859 hits the Earth. Solar scientists got a taste of such a blast in 2012 when the Sun erupted in a giant coronal mass ejection. In one of the largest solar computer simulations ever performed, scientists tracked the impact of a massive wave of solar plasma as it slammed into Earth.

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Cosmic Journeys – Hubble: Universe in Motion

Since its launch 25 Years ago, the Hubble Telescope has returned images of unprecedented beauty of a dynamic and changing universe.

In this episode of COSMIC JOURNEYS, Hubble’s most iconic images are bought to life to answer some of the most important questions facing astronomers today. Colliding galaxies, the birth and death of stars, jets of gas thrown out by material crashing into distant suns: these incredible images tech us valuable lessons about how galaxies are formed, what dark matter is and even the fate of the earth itself.

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Cosmic Journeys – Glimpsing the Solar System’s Birth

Where do you look to glimpse the birth of a solar system like ours? Our sun is thought to have formed along with a range of stellar siblings. This star cluster likely moved out on its own, bound by gravity, in what astronomers call a “Moving Group.”

This video explores two nearby moving groups. M67, also known as the King Cobra Cluster, was once pegged as the birth place of our solar system. The evidence now says it’s not, but astronomers have now detected planets there. The other is the Beta Pictoris group, with the most famous of all solar systems in formation, Beta Pictoris. Find out how a solar system is taking shape within the fold of this hot star.

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Magnetism and the Search for Life

From ESO-Cast. Giant telescopes are being used to search for the subtle signs of magnetic fields in other stars and even to map out the star spots on their surfaces. This information is beginning to reveal how and why so many stars, including our own Sun, are magnetic, and what the implications might be for life on Earth and elsewhere in the Universe. Astronomers are beginning to use signs of magnetic fields generated by stars to assess the habitability of planets that orbit them.

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Hubble’s Pluto Discoveries

From HubbleCast. Before NASA’s New Horizons probe flew past Pluto in July 2015, almost all of the information scientists had about this mysterious dwarf planet came from observations made by Hubble. What discoveries did Hubble make in the Pluto system and how will the greatest telescope ever built advance our knowledge of this distant, icy world following New Horizons’ flyby?

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