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Earth and Moon formed following a massive collision billions of years ago. A new theory answers questions about their composition and the Moon's orbit. (NASA image)

New Theory Explains How the Moon Got There

New Theory Explains How the Moon Got There Earth’s moon is an unusual object in our solar system, and now there’s a new theory to explain how it got where it is, which puts some twists on the current “giant impact” theory. The work is published Oct. 31 in the…

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This artist's concept illustrates how the most extreme "pumpkin star" found by Kepler and Swift compares with the sun. Both stars are shown to scale. KSw 71 is larger, cooler and redder than the sun and rotates four times faster. Rapid spin causes the star to flatten into a pumpkin shape, which results in brighter poles and a darker equator. Rapid rotation also drives increased levels of stellar activity such as starspots, flares and prominences, producing X-ray emission over 4,000 times more intense than the peak emission from the sun. KSw 71 is thought to have recently formed following the merger of two sun-like stars in a close binary system. Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Francis Reddy

NASA Missions Harvest a Passel of ‘Pumpkin’ Stars

NASA Missions Harvest a Passel of ‘Pumpkin’ Stars Astronomers using observations from NASA’s Kepler and Swift missions have discovered a batch of rapidly spinning stars that produce X-rays at more than 100 times the peak levels ever seen from the sun. The stars, which spin so fast they’ve been squashed…

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Astronomers discovered a real "tell-tale heart" in space, 6,500 light-years from Earth. The "heart" is the crushed core of a long-dead star, called a neutron star, which exploded as a supernova and is now still beating with rhythmic precision. Evidence of its heartbeat are rapid-fire, lighthouse-like pulses of energy from the fast-spinning neutron star. The stellar relic is embedded in the center of the Crab Nebula, the expanding, tattered remains of the doomed star. Credits: NASA and ESA, Acknowledgment: M. Weisskopf/Marshall Space Flight Center

A Dead Star’s Ghostly Glow

A Dead Star’s Ghostly Glow The eerie glow of a dead star, which exploded long ago as a supernova, reveals itself in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of the Crab Nebula. But don’t be fooled. The ghoulish-looking object still has a pulse. Buried at its center is the star’s…

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The predicted trajectory of Alpha Centauri A (orange) and B (red), superimposed onto an image taken with the SOFI instrument on ESO’s New Technology Telescope (NTT) and the NACO instrument on the VLT. It shows the conjunction with the star S5 (the brightest star in the NACO image). In the background a Digitised Sky Survey 2 image is shown. Credit: ESO

A rare opportunity for planet hunting in Alpha Centauri A predicted for 2028

A rare opportunity for planet hunting in Alpha Centauri A predicted for 2028 A very rare gravitational lensing event, set to occur in 2028, has been predicted by a team of French astronomers led by Pierre Kervella of the CNRS/Universidad de Chile. It will provide an ideal opportunity to look…

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Uranus is seen in this false-color view from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope from August 2003. The brightness of the planet's faint rings and dark moons has been enhanced for visibility. Credits: NASA/Erich Karkoschka (Univ. Arizona)

Uranus May Have Two Undiscovered Moons

Uranus May Have Two Undiscovered Moons NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Uranus 30 years ago, but researchers are still making discoveries from the data it gathered then. A new study led by University of Idaho researchers suggests there could be two tiny, previously undiscovered moonlets orbiting near two of…

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This comparison of before-and-after images shows two spots that likely appeared in connection with the Oct. 19, 2016, Mars arrival of the European Space Agency's Schiaparelli test lander. The images are from the Context Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Camera on Mars Orbiter Shows Signs of Latest Mars Lander Schiaparelli

Camera on Mars Orbiter Shows Signs of Latest Mars Lander Schiaparelli NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified new markings on the surface of the Red Planet that are believed to be related to Europe’s Schiaparelli test lander, which arrived at Mars on Oct. 19. The new image shows a bright…

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Conceptual animation depicting a satellite using lasers to relay data from Mars to Earth. Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Photonics Dawning as the Communications Light For Evolving NASA Missions

Photonics Dawning as the Communications Light For Evolving NASA Missions A largely unrecognized field called photonics may provide solutions to some of NASA’s most pressing challenges in future spaceflight. Photonics explores the many applications of generating, detecting and manipulating photons, or particles of light that, among other things, make up…

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Artist's Concept of NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Orbiting Mars This is an artist rendition of NASA"s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN spacecraft orbiting Mars. Credit: NASA/GSFC

NASA’s MAVEN Mission Observes Ups and Downs of Water Escape from Mars

NASA’s MAVEN Mission Observes Ups and Downs of Water Escape from Mars After investigating the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet for a full Martian year, NASA’s MAVEN mission has determined that the escaping water does not always go gently into space. Sophisticated measurements made by a suite of instruments…

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Credit: ESA – CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The Red Planet welcomes ExoMars

The Red Planet welcomes ExoMars Mars as seen by the webcam on ESA’s Mars Express orbiter on 16 October 2016, as another mission, ExoMars, is about to reach the Red Planet. A joint endeavour between ESA and Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, ExoMars 2016 comprises the Trace Gas Orbiter and the…

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Among other data, scientists used the galaxies visible in the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS) to recalculate the total number of galaxies in the observable Universe. The image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and covers a portion of the southern field of GOODS. This is a large galaxy census, a deep-sky study by several observatories to trace the formation and evolution of galaxies. Credit: NASA, ESA/Hubble

Observable Universe contains ten times more galaxies than previously thought

Observable Universe contains ten times more galaxies than previously thought Astronomers using data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescopes and other telescopes have performed an accurate census of the number of galaxies in the Universe. The group came to the surprising conclusion that there are at least 10 times as…

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Image credit: NASA

Star Trails Seen From Low Earth Orbit

Star Trails Seen From Low Earth Orbit Astronauts on the International Space Station captured a series of incredible star trail images on Oct. 3, 2016, as they orbited at 17,500 miles per hour. The station orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, and astronauts aboard see an average of 16 sunrises…

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This four-panel graphic illustrates how the binary-star system V Hydrae is launching balls of plasma into space. Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

Hubble Detects Giant ‘Cannonballs’ Shooting from Star

Hubble Detects Giant ‘Cannonballs’ Shooting from Star Great balls of fire! NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has detected superhot blobs of gas, each twice as massive as the planet Mars, being ejected near a dying star. The plasma balls are zooming so fast through space it would take only 30 minutes…

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Artist's impression visualising the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and its entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, Schiaparelli, approaching Mars. The separation is scheduled to occur on 16 October 2016, about seven months after launch. Schiaparelli is set to enter the martian atmosphere on 19 October, while TGO will enter orbit around Mars. Image Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

ExoMars arrives at the Red Planet

ExoMars arrives at the Red Planet The ExoMars 2016 mission will enter orbit around the Red Planet on 19 October. At the same time, its Schiaparelli lander will descend to the surface. Representatives of traditional and social media are invited to attend a two-day event at ESA’s ESOC control centre…

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Dust Haze Hiding the Martian Surface in 2001 Two 2001 images from the Mars Orbiter Camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter show a dramatic change in the planet's appearance when haze raised by dust-storm activity in the south became globally distributed. The images were taken about a month apart. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Study Predicts Next Global Dust Storm on Mars

Study Predicts Next Global Dust Storm on Mars Global dust storms on Mars could soon become more predictable — which would be a boon for future astronauts there — if the next one follows a pattern suggested by those in the past. A published prediction, based on this pattern, points…

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