Space

Hubble captures 3x Jupiter moon transit

Hubble captures 3x Jupiter moon transit

The event that the Hubble space telescope captured this week only happens once or twice every ten years. What we're seeing here is three of the four Galilean satellites - moons, that is - moving around Jupiter's gaseous surface, all within the same frame at the same time. Their shadows are all in the frame at the same time, at least. Here you'll see the moons "Io", "Callisto", and our good friend "Europa." That last one we'll be visiting in the next 9 years if we're lucky.

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NASA Pluto photos arrive after 9 year mission

NASA Pluto photos arrive after 9 year mission

The New Horizons mission has sent back its first photos here after 9 years and 1 month since launch. Onboard the LORRI craft, an 8.2-inch (20.8-centimeter) aperture focuses visible light to a charge-coupled device - a digital camera, that is to say, works with a telescope aimed directly at one of our furthest cousins in the Solar System: Pluto. February 4th (yesterday) also marks what would've been Clyde Tombaugh's 109th birthday - Tombaugh is credited with first discovering Pluto all the way back in 1930.

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NASA heads to Europa to seek life… in 7 years

NASA heads to Europa to seek life… in 7 years

Let's get real about the NASA Jupiter moon Europa mission just given the thumbs-up by the White House yearly budget this week. While the news is booming, there's something important to remember - we're not nearly prepared yet to get there. NASA still needs to begin orbiting Jupiter with a craft like the Europe Clipper to get a better look at Europa. After that, a landing could possibly be attempted - and at that time we're looking at a touch-down "as early as" the year 2022.

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Big Bang evidence evaporates

Big Bang evidence evaporates

The Big Bang theory has not been disproven. Get that idea out of your mind as fast as possible. Instead, a team of scientists have, this week, produced a paper which disproves their previous findings that suggest they'd found the first "direct evidence" that the Big Bang had happened in the way it's widely accepted to have happened. Instead of knowing when - 10 or so seconds after the Big Bang happened - the universe ballooned and expanded at a super-fast rate, we're back to where we were before the BICEP2 team announced their findings this past March. That's all.

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Philae isn’t lost just yet

Philae isn’t lost just yet

While the European Space Agency (ESA) lost contact with their comet lander Philae in November, "there is good confidence" they'll be able to make contact once more. So says Stephan Ulamec, lander manager at the German Space Agency (DLR). Ulamec also warned that should the ESA get in contact with Philae via Rosetta, "it may be that they only get very limited periods of operation in the [dark] pocket, and they will have to plan for more modest science sequences." If Philae is able to reach out to Rosetta, that is.

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Hand of God nebula captured by Very Large Telescope

Hand of God nebula captured by Very Large Telescope

This week the European Southern Observatory (ESO)'s "Very Large Telescope" (VLT) captured an image of the Hand of God. This nebulous globule is also known as "Maw of the Beast", and lies around 1,300 light years away from the planet Earth. This image was captured as a part of ESO's "Comic Gems" program which is aimed at capturing images with telescopes such as the Very Large Telescope for education in classrooms and public outreach. The Very Large Telescope operates at the Paranal Observatory.

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Big Bang echoes just cosmic dust BICEP2 investigation finds

Big Bang echoes just cosmic dust BICEP2 investigation finds

It was supposed to be evidence of the first shudderings of the universe, a post-Big Bang ripple of cosmic inflation finally spotted by the BICEP2 telescope, but scientists have finally admitted they got it wrong. The unexpected announcement last March that researchers had identified primordial gravitational waves they believed dated back to the moments right after the formation of the universe had led to suggestions that the US team responsible could win a Nobel Prize. Now, though, the European Space Agency has confirmed that what was thought to be a huge cosmic discovery from a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, all of fourteen billion years ago, was in fact just dust.

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Falcon Heavy flight animation reveals SpaceX’s future vision

Falcon Heavy flight animation reveals SpaceX’s future vision

Elon Musk's SpaceX has just released a new flight animation video that reveals its vision of how it wants it next launch to proceed. Presuming, of course, it doesn't end up in flames. It shows what will be the first test flight for the heavy-lift Falcon rocket and also throws in some hints of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where SpaceX plans to have its second Florida launch pad later this year. That is, of course, if all goes well.

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Kepler discovers our Solar System’s “ancient twin”

Kepler discovers our Solar System’s “ancient twin”

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has been studying the system they've called Kepler-444 for about four years. This system, they say, was formed about 11.2 billion years ago, making it one of the most ancient star systems with terrestrial-sized planets discovered thus far. This star system is important not because of its age, on the other hand, but because of its resemblance to our own Solar System. Five planets surround this system's star, each of them rocky, none of them able to support life (as we know it, that is to say).

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