NASA’s Curiosity rover has detected both methane in Mars’s atmosphere and carbon-bearing organic compounds in its rocks. But it’s unclear where these molecules come from — or whether there’s any biological connection.
NASA’s MAVEN mission has discovered a new population of particles in Mars’s upper atmosphere. It’s also found a plume of particles escaping from the planet’s poles, confirming atmospheric loss is happening today.
On December 5th, NASA successfully launched the first test flight of its Orion capsule. Scheduled to carry astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit in the 2020s, the spacecraft is NASA’s first deep-space people transporter since the Apollo days.
Amateur astronomers have confirmed the presence of a large, bright storm cloud on the ice giant Uranus.
The comets in the infant planetary system around the star Beta Pictoris fall into two distinct families, with one reminiscent of the solar system’s Kreutz sungrazers.
The gaseous object G2 has survived its swing around the Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole, but the questions of what it is and where it comes from remain unanswered.
Astronomers might have an explanation for why some classical novae erupt in gamma rays.
Observations from several radio telescopes reveal that, when two galaxies merge, their progeny often have gaseous disks—a hypothesis that before now didn’t have solid observational evidence.
A new analysis of Planck data bolsters the claim that the polarization signal heralded as evidence for cosmic inflation is from dust instead.
A new diagram might link the diverse visible-light characteristics of quasars to two physical properties — essentially, their accretion rate and orientation. If the analysis holds up, it could point the way toward a long-sought unification.
Astronomers have mapped the cosmic watershed and discovered a massive supercluster that extends more than 500 million light-years and contains 100,000 large galaxies. The Milky Way sits on the edge of this humongous structure.
Astronomers are tracking down the seeds that likely grew to become today’s most massive elliptical galaxies.
A new measurement could be the farthest back in time astronomers have ever reached when measuring a black hole’s spin.
Astronomers might have found a star that was infected by the explosive death of one of the universe’s first stars.
Astronomers have detected a star in pre-explosion images of the peculiar supernova 2012Z. The detection is the first discovery of a potential progenitor for the oddball class of stellar explosions dubbed Type Iax.
Astronomers have detected gamma-ray emission from three classical novae, an unexpected discovery that has left them perplexed.
A cluster of detections in the Northern Hemisphere sky might point to a source for the most energetic particles bombarding Earth's atmosphere.
A new analysis confirms that an exoplanet thought to orbit in the habitable zone of the star Gliese 581 actually doesn’t exist.
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko only woke briefly before starting another nap, expected on-again-off-again behavior that bodes well for the comet-chasing spacecraft's arrival in August 2014.
Fleeting radar features in a sea in Titan’s northern hemisphere are a tantalizing possibility of seasonal changes.
New analyses suggest that observations heralded as evidence for the universe’s brief growth spurt don’t conclusively show what researchers thought they did.
The Rosetta spacecraft took these images of Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko as it approaches the nucleus. It'll launch its lander, Philae, in November onto the nucleus's surface.
The ESA's Planck mission has released one of the most detailed maps of the Milky Way's magnetic field.
Researchers with an experiment based at the South Pole have discovered the long-sought "smoking gun" for inflation. The signal was hidden in polarization patterns in the cosmic microwave background and confirms physicists' audacious theory of how the Big Bang happened.
X-ray observations and cosmic coincidence unveil the details of a distant supermassive black hole. The result could be a first step in expanding our understanding of how black holes have beefed themselves up over the last several billion years.