Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory (667) Press Releases & Feature Stories Archive

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How NASA's Webb Telescope Will Continue Spitzer's Legacy

While the Spitzer Space Telescope is headed for retirement, many of its breakthroughs will be studied more precisely with NASA's forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope.

Hubble Views Galaxy From Famous Catalog

This bright, somewhat blob-like object — seen in this image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope — is a galaxy named NGC 1803. It is about 200 million light-years away, in the southern constellation of Pictor (the Painter’s Easel), and it was discovered in 1834 by astronomer John Herschel.

Cosmic Magnifying Glasses Yield Independent Measure of Universe's Expansion

Knowing the precise value for how fast the universe expands is important for determining the age, size and fate of the cosmos. Unraveling this mystery has been one of the greatest challenges in astrophysics in recent years.

Goldilocks Stars Are Best Places to Look for Life

In looking for life beyond Earth, astronomers seek planets in stars' "habitable zones" (nicknamed the "Goldilocks zone") where temperatures are just right for life-nurturing liquid water to exist on planets' surfaces. An emerging idea is that there are "Goldilocks stars": not too hot, not too cool, not too violent to host life-friendly planets.

Hubble Detects Smallest Known Dark Matter Clumps

Dark matter forms much smaller clumps than previously known. This result confirms one of the fundamental predictions of the widely accepted "cold dark matter" theory. All galaxies, according to this theory, form and are embedded within clouds of dark matter, a hard-to-detect form of matter making up the bulk of the universe's mass.

NASA Planet Hunter Finds its 1st Earth-size Habitable-zone World

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered its first Earth-size planet in its star’s habitable zone, the range of distances where conditions may be just right to allow the presence of liquid water on the surface.

NASA’s TESS Mission Uncovers Its 1st World With Two Stars

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has found its first circumbinary planet, a world orbiting two stars. Called TOI 1338 b, the planet lies 1,300 light-years away and is 6.9 times larger than Earth.

Surprise! TESS Shows Ancient North Star Undergoes Eclipses

NASA's TESS satellite has shown that the bright star Alpha Draconis and its fainter, previously known companion actually undergo mutual eclipses: a complete surprise.

David Content Hopes to Answer the Big Questions with WFIRST

David Content, Payload Project Manager for WFIRST, hopes to answer the question "Are We Alone?"

New Technique May Give NASA’s Webb Telescope a Way to Quickly Identify Planets with Oxygen

Researchers may have found a way that NASA's James Webb Space Telescope can quickly identify nearby planets that could be promising for our search for life, as well as worlds that are uninhabitable because their oceans have vaporized.

Simulated Image Demonstrates the Power of NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope

This simulated image of a portion of the Andromeda galaxy highlights the high resolution, large field of view, and unique footprint of NASA’s upcoming Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).

NASA's Great Observatories Help Astronomers Build a 3D Visualization of an Exploded Star

Astronomers and visualization specialists from the NASA's Universe of Learning program have combined the visible, infrared, and X-ray vision of NASA's Great Observatories to create a three-dimensional representation of the dynamic Crab Nebula, the tattered remains of an exploded star.

Astronomers Spot Distant Galaxy Group Driving Ancient Cosmic Makeover

Astronomers have found the farthest galaxy group identified to date. Called EGS77, the galaxies are participating in a sweeping cosmic makeover called reionization, which transformed the universe into what we see today.

NASA's Hubble Surveys Gigantic Galaxy

This majestic spiral galaxy might earn the nickname the "Godzilla Galaxy" because it may be the largest known in the local universe. The galaxy, UGC 2885, is 2.5 times wider than our Milky Way and contains 10 times as many stars.

Hubble Sights Galaxy’s Celestial Sequins

This smattering of celestial sequins is a spiral galaxy named NGC 4455, located in the northern constellation of Coma Berenices (Berenice’s Hair). This might sound like an odd name for a constellation — and in fact it is somewhat unusual. It’s the only modern constellation named in honor of a real person from history: Queen Berenice II of Egypt.

Hubble Views a Galaxy with an Active Center

This swirling mass of celestial gas, dust and stars is a moderately luminous spiral galaxy named ESO 021-G004, located just under 130 million light-years away.

Hubble’s Close-Up of Spiral’s Disk, Bulge

​This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows IC 2051, a galaxy in the southern constellation of Mensa (the Table Mountain) lying about 85 million light-years away. It is a spiral galaxy, as evidenced by its characteristic whirling, pinwheeling arms, and it has a bar of stars slicing through its center.

'Cotton Candy' Planet Mysteries Unravel in New Hubble Observations

"Super-Puffs" may sound like a new breakfast cereal. But it's actually the nickname for a unique and rare class of young exoplanets that have the density of cotton candy. Nothing like them exists in our solar system.

NASA’s Webb Telescope to Search for Young Brown Dwarfs and Rogue Planets

When NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launches in 2021, it will shed light on questions about rogue planets and young brown dwarfs.

New Hubble Gallery Features Celestial Objects From Caldwell Catalog Visible to Amateur Astronomers

The Caldwell catalog lists enticing celestial objects to expand amateur astronomers’ cosmic horizons. From nearby clouds of gas and dust that are left over from dying stars to remote galaxies that formed billions of years ago, the Caldwell catalog is brimming with surprising celestial treats, many of which the Hubble Space Telescope has observed.

Hubble Views Galaxy’s Dazzling Display

​NGC 3175 is located around 50 million light-years away in the constellation of Antlia (the Air Pump). The galaxy can be seen slicing across the frame in this Hubble image, with its mix of bright patches of glowing gas, dark lanes of dust, bright core, and whirling, pinwheeling arms coming together to paint a beautiful celestial scene.

Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov Swings Past Sun

Comet 2I/Borisov is a mysterious visitor from the depths of space — the first identified comet to arrive here from another star. Hubble images capture the comet streaking though our solar system and on its way back to interstellar space. It’s only the second interstellar object known to have passed through the solar system.

Hubble Spots Galaxy’s Dramatic Details

Some of the most dramatic events in the universe occur when certain stars die — and explode catastrophically in the process. When these star deaths, or supernovae, occur, their brightness can rival the light of a whole galaxy. The galaxy NGC 5468, shown in this Hubble image, has hosted a number of these supernovae the past 20 years.

NASA Highlights Solar Mission, Jupiter Cyclone at AGU Meeting

NASA researchers will present new findings on a wide range of Earth and space science topics at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Dec. 9-13 in San Francisco.

NASA’s Exoplanet-Hunting Mission Catches a Natural Comet Outburst in Unprecedented Detail

Using data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), astronomers at the University of Maryland (UMD), in College Park, Maryland, have captured a clear start-to-finish image sequence of an explosive emission of dust, ice and gases during the close approach of comet 46P/Wirtanen in late 2018.
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