This artist’s concept illustrates an asteroid belt around the bright star Vega. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a large asteroid belt around the star Vega, the second brightest star in northern night skies. The scientists used data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, in

This illustration compares the four planets detected around the nearby star tau Ceti (top) and the inner planets of our solar system (bottom). Credit: Illustration courtesy of Fabo Feng A new study by an international team of astronomers reveals that four Earth-sized planets orbit the nearest sun-like star, tau Ceti, which is about 12 light

The newfound young star clusters lie thousands of light-years below the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, a flat spiral disk seen in this artist’s conception. If alien lifeforms were to develop on planets orbiting these stars, they would have views of a portion, or all, of the galactic disk. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Astronomers using data

An artist’s concept of the distribution of the ambient gas around IRAS 16547-4247. The central high-density gas cloud is thought to contain multiple high-density protostars. Two outflows of gas spurt from the central part in the vertical and horizontal directions respectively while pushing the ambient gas away, which makes a balloon-like structure. A pair of

Observations of ‘Jellyfish galaxies’ with ESO’s Very Large Telescope have revealed a previously unknown way to fuel supermassive black holes. It seems the mechanism that produces the tentacles of gas and newborn stars that give these galaxies their nickname also makes it possible for the gas to reach the central regions of the galaxies, feeding

These two views of Saturn’s moon Titan exemplify how NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has revealed the surface of this fascinating world. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute Mere weeks away from its dramatic, mission-ending plunge into Saturn, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has a hectic schedule, orbiting the planet every week in its Grand Finale. On a few orbits, Saturn’s

This dwarf galaxy is named NGC 5949. It sits at a distance of around 44 million light-years from Earth, placing it within the Milky Way’s cosmic neighborhood. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA The universe is incomprehensibly vast, with billions of other planets circling billions of other stars. The potential for intelligent life to exist somewhere out

Purdue University graduate student Katherine Fowee and postdoctoral research associate Anthony Cofer work on a new micropropulsion system for miniature satellites called CubeSats. Credit: Purdue University photo/Erin Easterling Habitat loss on breeding grounds in the United States — not on wintering grounds in Mexico — is the main cause of recent and projected population declines

Images of Neptune taken during twilight observing revealed an extremely large bright storm system near Neptune’s equator (labeled ‘cloud complex’ in the upper figure), a region where astronomers have never seen a bright cloud. The center of the storm complex is ~9,000 km across, about 3/4 the size of Earth, or 1/3 of Neptune’s radius.

Researchers have found that a “hot Jupiter” exoplanet named WASP-121b (left) has a stratosphere hot enough to boil iron. The planet is as close to its host star (right) as possible without the star’s gravity ripping the planet apart. Credit: Engine House VFX, At-Bristol Science Centre, University of Exeter Scientists have found compelling evidence for

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