Measurements of unprecedented detail returned by Japan’s Hitomi satellite have allowed scientists to track the motion of X-ray-emitting gas at the heart of the Perseus cluster of galaxies for the first time. Located about 240 million light-years away and named for its host constellation, the Perseus galaxy cluster contains a vast amount of extremely hot gas.
At temperatures averaging 90 million degrees Fahrenheit (50 million degrees Celsius), the gas glows brightly in X-rays. Prior to Hitomi’s launch, astronomers lacked the capability to measure the detailed dynamics of this gas, particularly its relationship to bubbles of gas expelled by an active supermassive black hole in the cluster’s core galaxy, NGC 1275.
Two scientists have laid out the basic technical specifications of a black hole powered starship. The concept embodies a surprisingly hopeful vision of the future promoted by Stephen Hawking. How feasible is it technically? How far could it take humanity one day in the distant future?
In late 2014 and early 2015, NASA’s Kepler telescope observed the eighth planet in our solar system, Neptune. Kepler detected Neptune’s daily rotation, the movement of clouds, and even minute changes in the sun’s brightness, paving the way for future studies of weather and climate beyond our solar system.
This movie shows the new 3D map of the age of the Greenland ice sheet, using a collage of live footage and animation to explain how scientists determined the age from data collected by ice-penetrating radar.
Scientists have long suspected the solar wind of stripping the Martian upper atmosphere into space, turning Mars from a blue world to a red one. Now, NASA’s MAVEN orbiter is observing this process in action, providing significant data on solar wind erosion at Mars.
The Cassini spacecraft, having flown through the Saturn system for almost twenty years, is nearing the end of its mission. On September 15th, Cassini will enter Saturn’s atmosphere, relaying data from eight of its twelve instruments until the spacecraft breaks up. This revolutionary project is now considered one of the greatest space missions of all time, on a parr with Voyager and Apollo. It has amassed one of the greatest photographic collections on record, with stunning details of moons, rings, and the giant planet itself. Just as scientists say goodbye to this historic experiment, they are getting ready for a deluge of revealing new data. In this video, they also take the time to reflect on Cassini’s many accomplishments and what it has meant to science and humanity itself.
NASA launched the twin Voyager spacecraft in the late summer of 1977, These remote ambassadors still beam messages back to Earth 40 years later. After delivering unprecedented views of the outer planets, they are now sending back data from beyond the solar system. How many millennia, how many millions of years will their journey last?
After dumping tens of trillions of gallons of water on Texas, Hurricane Harvey swamped millions out of their homes. No one was spared: Black, White, Asian, Latino, Rich, Poor, and scraping by. The men and women of the Armed Services led battalions of volunteers who set to work with only one thought in mind: I Will Rescue You. The expressions on faces tell stories ranging from quiet heroism, to despair and profound relief.