Small Collisions Make Big Impact on Mercury’s Thin Atmosphere
Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.
Astronomers Discover Dizzying Spin of the Milky Way Galaxy’s “Halo”
Astronomers at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) discovered for the first time that the hot gas in the halo of the Milky Way galaxy is spinning in the same direction and at comparable speed as the galaxy's disk, which contains our stars, planets, gas, and dust.
Watching the Aurora From Orbit
Expedition 52 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA shared photos and time-lapse video of a glowing green aurora seen from his vantage point 250 miles up, aboard the International Space Station. This aurora photo was taken on June 26, 2017.
Sounding Rocket Mission Will Trace Auroral Winds
What are the energy impacts of the northern lights? A new sounding rocket mission will measure winds in Earth's Polar Cusp to find out. On March 23, 2019, the launch window for the AZURE mission will reopen after several attempts in March 2018 were scrubbed due to weather. The new launch window extends to April 10, 2019.
Studies Find Echoes of Black Holes Eating Stars
Supermassive black holes, with their immense gravitational pull, are notoriously good at clearing out their immediate surroundings by eating nearby objects.
Star Wanders Too Close to a Black Hole
This artist's rendering shows the tidal disruption event named ASASSN-14li, where a star wandering too close to a 3-million-solar-mass black hole was torn apart. The debris gathered into an accretion disk around the black hole.
How to Weigh a Black Hole Using NASA’s Webb Space Telescope
Astronomers will use NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to measure a black hole’s mass.
Galactic Center Visualization Delivers Star Power
Want to take a trip to the center of the Milky Way? Check out a new immersive, ultra-high-definition visualization. This 360-movie offers an unparalleled opportunity to look around the center of the galaxy, from the vantage point of the central supermassive black hole, in any direction the user chooses.
Magnetic Field May Be Keeping Milky Way’s Black Hole Quiet
SOFIA observations reveal a strong magnetic field with a spiral shape at the center of the Milky Way that could explain why our galaxy’s black hole is quiet.
The Butterfly Nebula
The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth's night sky are often named for flowers or insects. Though its wingspan covers over 3 light-years, NGC 6302 is no exception. With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 degrees C, the dying central star of this particular planetary nebula has become exceptionally hot.
A Cosmic Holiday Ornament, Hubble-Style
'Tis the season for holiday decorating and tree-trimming. Not to be left out, astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have photographed a festive-looking nearby planetary nebula called NGC 5189. The intricate structure of this bright gaseous nebula resembles a glass-blown holiday ornament with a glowing ribbon entwined.
Large Magellanic Cloud
Nearly 200,000 light-years from Earth, the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, floats in space, in a long and slow dance around our galaxy. Vast clouds of gas within it slowly collapse to form new stars. In turn, these light up the gas clouds in a riot of colors, visible in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope.