(Space Fellowship) Planetary Nebula Mz3: The Ant Nebula

Why isn't this ant a big sphere? Planetary nebula Mz3 is being cast off by a star similar to our Sun that is, surely, round. Why then would the gas that is streaming away create an ant-shaped nebula that is distinctly not round? Clues might include the high 1000-kilometer per second speed of the expelled gas, the light-year long length of the structure, and the magnetism of the star visible above at the nebula's center. One possible answer is that Mz3 is hiding a second, dimmer star that orb [...]

(Discovery News) Hubble at 25: The Space Telescope by the Numbers: Photos

As we celebrate Hubble's 25th year in space, let's have a quick rundown of some of the space telescope's key statistics.

(Space Fellowship) Cargo Ship Undocks from Station

The Russian ISS Progress 57 cargo spacecraft separated from the International Space Station at 2:41 a.m. EDT while the spacecraft were flying 257 miles above northwestern China. After its departure, the spacecraft will move away from the orbiting laboratory to a safe location where it will remain until commanded to reenter Earth’s atmosphere Sunday morning, April 26. The intense heat of reentry will cause the vehicle to burn up over the Pacific Ocean. The departure of the Progress 57 veh [...]

(Space Fellowship) Cluster and Starforming Region Westerlund 2

Located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina, the young cluster and starforming region Westerlund 2 fills this cosmic scene. Captured with Hubble's cameras in near-infrared and visible light, the stunning image is a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope on April 24, 1990. The cluster's dense concentration of luminous, massive stars is about 10 light-years across. Strong winds and radiation from those massive young stars have sculpted an [...]

(Space Fellowship) Station Crew Prepares for Cargo Ship Undocking

The crew of the International Space Station took a break from research Friday, enjoying some off-duty time as it prepared for the departure of one cargo ship and the arrival of another in short order. NASA Television will provide live coverage of the Progress 57 spacecraft undocking beginning at 2:15 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 25. Undocking from the Pirs Docking Compartment is scheduled for 2:40 a.m. The unpiloted Progress 57 Russian cargo ship delivered more than two tons of food, fuel and  [...]

(ScienceDaily) Examining Einstein: Precise experiments using lasers and clocks in space

Albert Einstein tells us that clocks run slower the deeper they are in the gravitational potential well of a mass – the closer they are to a heavenly body, for example. This effect is described by General Relativity Theory as the gravitational red shift – it is detectable in spectral lines that shift toward the red end of the spectrum. General Relativity Theory also predicts that the rates of all clocks are equally influenced by gravitation independent of how these clocks are physically or technically constructed. However, more recent theories of gravitation allow for the possibility that the type of clock indeed influences the degree of gravitational red shift. To test this theory-about-a-theory, scientists have launched a high-altitude research rocket to send various types of clocks into space and back again.

(Discovery News) Hubble at 25: Brief History of the Hubble Space Telescope

It's been an eventful 25 years for what turned out to become the world's best-known telescope and perhaps among the most productive science instruments ever made. Here's a look at Hubble's life in pictures.

(Discovery News) 'Spider' Patterns on Pluto Await Spacecraft

Strange and violent events maybe taking place on Pluto -- just in time for the New Horizons spacecraft to take a closer look.

(ScienceDaily) To flare or not to flare: The riddle of galactic thin to thick disk solved

A long-standing puzzle regarding the nature of disk galaxies has finally been solved by a team of astronomers using state-of-the-art theoretical models. The new study shows that groups of stars with the same age always flare as the result of massive galactic collisions. When taken all together, these flares, nested like the petals of a blooming rose, puff up the disk and constitute what astronomers call the “thick” disk.

(ScienceDaily) Giant cosmic tsunami wakes up comatose galaxies

Galaxies are often found in clusters, which contain many 'red and dead' members that stopped forming stars in the distant past. Now an international team of astronomers have discovered that these comatose galaxies can sometimes come back to life. If clusters of galaxies merge, a huge shock wave can drive the birth of a new generation of stars -- the sleeping galaxies get a new lease of life.