Where do you go to look at the stars? Away from city lights, certainly. But if you're serious about peering far out into space, to the observable edges of our universe, at submillimeter wavelengths, you have to do a little better than that.
By studying the way Saturn's moon Titan squeezes and stretches as it orbits the ringed planet, researchers using data from NASA's Cassini orbiter have determined that a layer of liquid water likely exists beneath the moon's frozen exterior.
This morning, NASA's NuSTAR telescope was launched into the low-Earth orbit from which it will begin exploring the high-energy X-ray universe to uncover the secrets of black holes, the dense remnants of dead stars, energetic cosmic explosions, and even our very own sun.
Today Venus will pass between Earth and the sun, appearing as a small black dot moving across the sun's face. The transit of Venus is a rare event, and this afternoon will likely be your last chance to experience it—the next one won't happen until 2117.
Mike Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor and professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), has been named a co-winner of the 2012 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics for his efforts to understand the outer solar system—work that led to the demotion of Pluto.
Sunday evening's solar eclipse dazzled hundreds of sun gazers who gathered on Caltech's campus to watch the rare alignment, a partial annular "ring of fire" solar eclipse that wowed spectators around the world.
Caltech has taken over operation from NASA of the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), a space telescope that for the last nine years has been surveying the cosmos in ultraviolet light. In this first agreement of its kind, NASA is lending the telescope to Caltech, which has led the mission and will continue operating and managing it through the support of private funders.
A team of astronomers has found that the most active galactic nuclei—enormous black holes that are violently devouring gas and dust at the centers of galaxies—may prevent new stars from forming. The team, which includes several researchers from Caltech, reported its findings in the May 10 issue of the journal Nature.
Observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope show that the Sombrero galaxy is actually two galaxies in one.Observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope show that the Sombrero galaxy is actually two galaxies in one. With a halo of stars surrounded by the thin edge of a stellar disk, the galaxy resembles a big hat.
Scientists have further narrowed the search for a hypothetical particle that could be dark matter, the mysterious stuff that makes up 80 percent of all the mass in the universe. Caltech postdoc Jennifer Siegal-Gaskins presented the researchers' results, compiled from two years' worth of data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, at a meeting of the American Physical Society in Atlanta earlier this week.
Astronomers have found celestial objects called quasars that bend and distort the light coming from galaxies behind them. The discovery may finally allow astronomers to determine the masses of galaxies that host quasars.