On Oct. 9, 1604, sky watchers, including astronomer Johannes Kepler, spotted a 'new star' in the western sky, rivaling the brilliance of nearby planets. 'Kepler's supernova' was the last exploding supernova seen in our Milky Way galaxy. Observers used only their eyes to study it, because the telescope was not yet invented. Now, astronomers have utilized NASA's three Great Observatories to analyze the supernova remnant in infrared, optical and X-ray light.
The NASA image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope on Aug. 10, 2008 shows a small portion of the Tarantula nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074. The region is a frontier of raw stellar creation, perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova explosion. It lies about 170,000 light-years away from Earth and is one of the most active star-forming regions in our local group of galaxies.
This image by the Hubble Space Telescope shows a dramatic view of the spiral galaxy M51, dubbed the Whirlpool Galaxy. Seen in near-infrared light, most of the starlight has been removed, revealing the Whirlpool's skeletal dust structure. This new image is the sharpest view of the dense dust in M51. The narrow lanes of dust revealed by Hubble reflect the galaxy's moniker, the Whirlpool Galaxy, as if they were swirling toward the galaxy's core.
This image of the open star cluster NGC 7380, also known as the Wizard Nebula, is a mosaic of images from the WISE mission spanning an area on the sky of about 5 times the size of the full moon. NGC 7380 is located in the constellation Cepheus about 7,000 light-years from Earth within the Milky Way Galaxy.
Red dwarf stars have several virtues that make them potential homes for Earth-like planets, but a new study suggests they also produce the largest solar flares ever seen.
Trailing a thick column of exhaust, the Space Shuttle Columbia blasted into the twilight morning sky in 2002, its thundering rockets briefly flooding a cloud bank with the light of a false dawn. The event marked the start of the ongoing eleven day mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. The shuttle would later be burned up on re-entry in a tragic 2003 accident, killing all seven of its crew.
A burping black hole, water in weird places, and whopper-size new planets are some top space stories of 2010. If you have different discoveries on your list, post them in the comments section.
Cal Tech astronomer and author Mike Brown helped to demote Pluto from planethood – and got a lot of hate mail as a result.
According to some reports, the U.S. Federal Reserve plans to bail out Europe by adding cash from the International Monetary Fund. What next?