Astronomy and Space News - Astro Watch

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Astronomers Discover Third Planet in the Kepler-47 Circumbinary System

Image Courtesy: NASA/JPL Caltech/T. Pyle

Astronomers have discovered a third planet in the Kepler-47 system, securing the system’s title as the most interesting of the binary-star worlds. Using data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, a team of researchers, led by astronomers at San Diego State University, detected the new Neptune-to-Saturn-size planet orbiting between two previously known planets.

TESS Discovers Its First Earth-sized Planet

Illustration of NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite:TESS. Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, TESS, has discovered its first Earth-sized exoplanet. The planet, named HD 21749c, is the smallest world outside our solar system that TESS has identified yet.

Putin Urges Heavy Upgrade of Russian Space Industry

Credit: Alexei Nikolskiy/Russian Presidential press service/TASS

Russia needs to heavily upgrade its space industry and improve the sector’s management model, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a Security Council meeting on Tuesday.

What Earth's Gravity Reveals About Climate Change


On March 17, 2002, the German-US satellite duo GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) were launched to map the global gravitational field with unprecedented precision. After all, the mission lasted a good 15 years - more than three times as long as expected. When the two satellites burnt up in the Earth's atmosphere at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, respectively, they had recorded the Earth's gravitational field and its changes over time in more than 160 months.

Astronomers Take First, High-Resolution Look at Huge Star-Forming Region of Milky Way

This image from a radio telescope shows a huge star-forming region of the outer Milky Way galaxy. The ovals identify the main subdivisions of the region's molecular cloud, including the smaller 1a, which is very efficient at producing stars. Image courtesy of Charles Kerton.

Astronomers from the United States and South Korea have made the first high-resolution, radio telescope observations of the molecular clouds within a massive star-forming region of the outer Milky Way.

Deep Space X-Ray Burst Gives Astronomers New Signal to Detect Neutron Star Mergers

These images show the location of an event, discovered by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, that likely signals the merger of two neutron stars. Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Uni. of Science and Technology of China/Y. Xue, et al; Optical: NASA/STScI

An international team of astronomers, including faculty and alumni from UNLV, has discovered a new way to spot when collisions occur in distant galaxies between two neutron stars – incredibly dense, city-sized celestial bodies that possess the most powerful magnetic fields in the universe.

Asteroids Help Scientists to Measure the Diameters of Far Away Stars

When an asteroid passes in front of a star, the resulting diffraction pattern (here greatly exaggerated) can reveal the star's angular size. Credit: DESY, Lucid Berlin

Using the unique capabilities of telescopes specialized on cosmic gamma rays, scientists have measured the smallest apparent size of a star on the night sky to date. The measurements with the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS) reveal the diameters of a giant star 2674 light-years away and of a sun-like star at a distance of 700 light-years. The study establishes a new method for astronomers to determine the size of stars, as the international team led by Tarek Hassan from DESY and Michael Daniel from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) reports in the journal Nature Astronomy.

NEOWISE Celebrates Five Years of Asteroid Data

Comet C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto as imaged in multiple exposures of infrared light by the NEOWISE space telescope. The infrared images were taken on Feb. 25, 2019, when the comet was about 56 million miles, or 90 million kilometers, from Earth. C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto is a long-period comet originally from the Oort Cloud and coming in near the Sun for the first time in over 1,000 years. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission released its fifth year of survey data on April 11, 2019. The five years of NEOWISE data have significantly advanced scientists' knowledge of asteroids and comets in the solar system, as well as the stars and galaxies beyond.