A puzzle of 10 million stars Omega Centauri is a picture-perfect example of a globular cluster: tightly bound by gravity, it has a very high density of stars at its centre and a nearly perfect spherical shape (the name ‘globular cluster’ comes from the latin word for small sphere, globulus). It lives in the halo of the Milky Way, at a distance of about 15 800 light years from Earth. Copyright ESA/CESAR/Wouter van Reeven, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

10 million star puzzle

10 million star puzzle Space Science Image of the Week: Omega Centauri, a unique star cluster, rises high in Chilean skies for ground-based observers Source: ESA

View More 10 million star puzzle

Revealing the galactic bar This colour chart shows the distribution of 150 million stars in the Milky Way probed using data from the second release of ESA’s Gaia mission in combination with infrared and optical surveys, with orange/yellow hues indicating a greater density of stars. Most of these stars are red giants. The distribution is superimposed on an artistic top view of our galaxy. While the majority of charted stars are located closer to the Sun (the larger orange/yellow blob in the lower part of the image), a large and elongated feature populated by many stars is also visible in the central region of the galaxy: this is the first geometric indication of the galactic bar. The distances to the stars shown in this chart, along with their surface temperature and extinction – a measure of how much dust there is between us and the stars – were estimated using the StarHorse computer code. Copyright Credit: Data: ESA/Gaia/DPAC, A. Khalatyan(AIP) & StarHorse team; Galaxy map: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC/Caltech)

Gaia starts mapping our galaxy’s bar

Gaia starts mapping our galaxy’s bar The first direct measurement of the bar-shaped collection of stars at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy has been made by combining data from ESA’s Gaia mission with complementary observations from ground- and space-based telescopes.   Revealing the galactic barThis colour chart shows…

View More Gaia starts mapping our galaxy’s bar

Title Gaia mapping the stars of the Milky Way Copyright ESA/ATG medialab; background: ESO/S. Brunier

Gaia’s biggest operation since launch

Gaia’s biggest operation since launch On Tuesday 16 July, teams at ESA’s mission control will perform an ‘orbit change manoeuvre’ on the Gaia space observatory – the biggest operation since the spacecraft was launched in 2013. Source: ESA

View More Gaia’s biggest operation since launch

The Apollo 11 lunar module shows the stainless steel dedication plaque. The signatures are of the three Apollo 11 crew members and President Richard Nixon. NASA

Apollo 11 brought a message of peace to the Moon – but Neil and Buzz almost forgot to leave it behind

Apollo 11 brought a message of peace to the Moon – but Neil and Buzz almost forgot to leave it behind President Richard M. Nixon welcomes the Apollo 11 astronauts aboard the USS Hornet, the recovery ship for the mission, where they are quarantined. From left to right: Neil A.…

View More Apollo 11 brought a message of peace to the Moon – but Neil and Buzz almost forgot to leave it behind

Forest Backgrounds

Reforesting an area the size of the US needed to help avert climate breakdown, say researchers – are they right?

Reforesting an area the size of the US needed to help avert climate breakdown, say researchers – are they right? Inga Linder/Shutterstock Mark Maslin, UCL and Simon Lewis, UCL Restoring the world’s forests on an unprecedented scale is “the best climate change solution available”, according to a new study. The…

View More Reforesting an area the size of the US needed to help avert climate breakdown, say researchers – are they right?

This view of asteroid Bennu ejecting particles from its surface on January 19 was created by combining two images taken on board NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Other image processing techniques were also applied, such as cropping and adjusting the brightness and contrast of each image. Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin

NASA Mission Reveals Asteroid Has Big Surprises

NASA Mission Reveals Asteroid Has Big Surprises A NASA spacecraft that will return a sample of a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to Earth in 2023 made the first-ever close-up observations of particle plumes erupting from an asteroid’s surface. Source: NASA

View More NASA Mission Reveals Asteroid Has Big Surprises

Mars dust storm in motion, images captured by the Visual Monitoring Camera onboard ESA’s Mars Express covers about 70 minutes of motion as a dust storm moves along the north polar ice cap of Mars on 29 May 2019. The storm moved with an approximate speed of 20 m/s. The polar ice cap covers much of the left of the image while the storm is seen on the right. Released 04/07/2019 2:00 pm, Copyright ESA/GCP/UPV/EHU Bilbao

Dust storms swirl at the north pole of Mars

Dust storms swirl at the north pole of Mars ESA’s Mars Express has been keeping an eye on local and regional dust storms brewing at the north pole of the Red Planet over the last month, watching as they disperse towards the equator. Source: ESA Powered by WPeMatico

View More Dust storms swirl at the north pole of Mars

Plan view of Aurorae Chaos, Released 27/06/2019 11:00 am This image from ESA’s Mars Express shows Aurorae Chaos, a large area of chaotic terrain located in the Margaritifer Terra region on Mars, and comprises data gathered on 31 October 2018 during orbit 18765. Copyright ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

A chaos found only on Mars

A chaos found only on Mars The cracked, uneven, jumbled landscape seen in this image from ESA’s Mars Express forms an intriguing type of terrain that cannot be found on Earth: chaotic terrain. Source: ESA Powered by WPeMatico

View More A chaos found only on Mars

The Flint Hills Resources oil refinery, near downtown Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Fossil fuels are bad for your health and harmful in many ways besides climate change

Fossil fuels are bad for your health and harmful in many ways besides climate change The Flint Hills Resources oil refinery, near downtown Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip Noel Healy, Salem State University; Jennie C. Stephens, Northeastern University, and Stephanie Malin, Colorado State University Many Democratic lawmakers aim to pass…

View More Fossil fuels are bad for your health and harmful in many ways besides climate change

12.05.11 - This artist's conception illustrates Kepler-22b, a planet known to comfortably circle in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. It is the first planet that NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed to orbit in a star's habitable zone - the region around a star where liquid water, a requirement for life on Earth, could persist. The planet is 2.4 times the size of Earth, making it the smallest yet found to orbit in the middle of the habitable zone of a star like our sun. Scientists do not yet know if the planet has a predominantly rocky, gaseous or liquid composition. It's possible that the world would have clouds in its atmosphere, as depicted here in the artist's interpretation. Read more about the discovery here: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/events/2011/kepscicon-presskit.html. Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

Curious Kids: why has nobody found any life outside of Earth?

Curious Kids: why has nobody found any life outside of Earth? An artist’s impression of Kepler-22b, a planet known to comfortably circle in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. It is the first planet that NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed to orbit in a star’s habitable zone – the…

View More Curious Kids: why has nobody found any life outside of Earth?

The bullet cluster. NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

Dark matter may not actually exist – and our alternative theory can be put to the test

Dark matter may not actually exist – and our alternative theory can be put to the test The bullet cluster. NASA/CXC/M. Weiss Juri Smirnov, University of Southern Denmark Scientists have been searching for “dark matter” – an unknown and invisible substance thought to make up the vast majority of matter…

View More Dark matter may not actually exist – and our alternative theory can be put to the test

credit: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Florence/G.Risaliti & E.Lusso

Astronomers Find Dark Energy May Vary Over Cosmic Time

A new study using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton suggests that dark energy may have varied over cosmic time, as reported in our latest press release. This artist’s illustration helps explain how astronomers tracked the effects of dark energy to about one billion years after the…

View More Astronomers Find Dark Energy May Vary Over Cosmic Time

An "anvil" storm cloud in the Midwestern U.S. Credits: UCAR

Warming Seas May Increase Frequency of Extreme Storms

A new NASA study shows that warming of the tropical oceans due to climate change could lead to a substantial increase in the frequency of extreme rain storms by the end of the century. The study team, led by Hartmut Aumann of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, combed…

View More Warming Seas May Increase Frequency of Extreme Storms

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Tracks Giant Jupiter Storms

A giant, spiraling storm in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere is captured in this animation from NASA’s Juno spacecraft. The storm is approximately 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) across. The counterclockwise motion of the storm, called Oval BA, is clearly on display. A similar rotation can be seen in the famous Great Red…

View More NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Tracks Giant Jupiter Storms