Washington, D.C. – Astronomers have detected X-rays from Uranus for the first time, using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This result may help scientists learn more about this enigmatic ice giant planet in our solar system.
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and has two sets of rings around its equator. The planet, which has four times the diameter of Earth, rotates on its side, making it different from all other planets in the solar system.
Pasadena, CA – NASA reports that for the first time, a wayward comet-like object has been spotted near the family of ancient asteroids.
After traveling several billion miles toward the Sun, a wayward young comet-like object orbiting among the giant planets has found a temporary parking place along the way. The object has settled near a family of captured ancient asteroids, called Trojans, that are orbiting the Sun alongside Jupiter. This is the first time a comet-like object has been spotted near the Trojan population.
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Psyche mission has passed a critical milestone that moves it a step closer to launch. After an intense review of the mission’s progress in building its science instruments and engineering systems, Psyche won clearance to progress into what NASA calls Phase D of its life cycle – the final phase of operations prior to its scheduled launch in August 2022.
Until now, the mission has focused on planning, designing, and building the body of the spacecraft, its solar-electric propulsion system, the three science instruments, electronics, the power subsystem, and the like.
Greenbelt, MD – Scientists have combined NASA data and cutting-edge image processing to gain new insight into the solar structures that create the Sun’s flow of high-speed solar wind, detailed in new research published in The Astrophysical Journal. This first look at relatively small features, dubbed “plumelets,” could help scientists understand how and why disturbances form in the solar wind.
The Sun’s magnetic influence stretches billions of miles, far past the orbit of Pluto and the planets, defined by a driving force: the solar wind.
Washington, D.C. – Is our solar system located in a typical Milky Way neighborhood? Scientists have gotten closer to answering this question, thanks to the NASA-funded Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project, a citizen science collaboration between professional scientists and members of the public.
Scientists tapped into the worldwide network of 150,000 volunteers using Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 to find new examples of brown dwarfs. These objects are balls of gas that are not heavy enough to be stars since they can’t power themselves through nuclear fusion the way stars do.
Greenbelt, MD – NASA’s images of the Sun’s dynamic and dazzling beauty have captivated the attention of millions. In 2021, the U.S. Postal Service is showcasing the Sun’s many faces with a series of Sun Science forever stamps that show images of solar activity captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO.
“I have been a stamp collector all my life and I can’t wait to see NASA science highlighted in this way,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in Washington.
Pasadena, CA – NASA reports that an international team of scientists may be close to detecting faint ripples in space-time that fill the universe.
Pairs of black holes billions of times more massive than the Sun may be circling one another, generating ripples in space itself. The North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) has spent more than a decade using ground-based radio telescopes to look for evidence of these space-time ripples created by behemoth black holes.
Greenbelt, MD – A secret behind the workings of sunquakes – seismic activity on the Sun during solar flares – might be hidden beneath the solar surface according to NASA.
These earthquake-like events release acoustic energy in the form of waves that ripple along the Sun’s surface, like waves on a lake, in the minutes following a solar flare – an outburst of light, energy, and material seen in the Sun’s outer atmosphere.
Scientists have long suspected that sunquakes are driven by magnetic forces or heating of the outer atmosphere, where the flare occurs.
Greenbelt, MD – NASA has approved two heliophysics missions to explore the Sun and the system that drives space weather near Earth. Together, NASA’s contribution to the Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope Epsilon Mission, or EUVST, and the Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer, or EZIE, will help us understand the Sun and Earth as an interconnected system.
Understanding the physics that drive the solar wind and solar explosions – including solar flares and coronal mass ejections – could one day help scientists predict these events, which can impact human technology and explorers in space.
Greenbelt, MD – NASA reports that researchers may have found the long-sought “nanoflares” thought to heat the solar corona to its incredible temperatures.
A new study published in Nature Astronomy marks the first time researchers have captured the full lifecycle of a putative nanoflare – from bright origins to blistering demise.
Nanoflares are tiny eruptions on the Sun, one-billionth the size of normal solar flares. Eugene Parker – of Parker Solar Probe fame – first predicted them in 1972 to solve a major puzzle: the coronal heating problem.
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