Astrophysics Science Division (660) Press Releases & Feature Stories Archive

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Hubble Studies Gamma-Ray Burst With Highest Energy Ever Seen

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has given astronomers a peek at the location of the most energetic outburst ever seen in the universe — a blast of gamma-rays a trillion times more powerful than visible light. That’s because in a few seconds the gamma-ray burst (GRB) emitted more energy than the Sun will provide over its entire 10-billion year life.

NASA’s Fermi, Swift Missions Enable a New Era in Gamma-ray Science

Two distant explosions first detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory have produced the highest-energy light yet seen from these events, called gamma-ray bursts (GRBs).

Hubble Spots a Curious Spiral

Many galaxies we see through telescopes such as the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the source of this beautiful image, look relatively similar: spiraling arms, a glowing center, and a mixture of bright specks of star formation and dark ripples of cosmic dust weaving throughout. This galaxy, a spiral galaxy named NGC 772, is no exception.

Hubble Touts a Team of Stars

Within a galaxy hosting around 300 billion stars, here the Hubble Space Telescope has captured a mere handful or two — just about enough to form a single football team. These stellar “teammates” play under the banner of NGC 1333, the cloud of gas and dust that formed them and that they continue to call home.

NASA's NICER Catches Record-setting X-ray Burst

On Aug. 20, NASA's NICER telescope saw a spike of X-rays from a massive explosion on a pulsar. It's the brightest X-ray burst NICER has seen so far and shows phenomena that have never been seen together in a single burst.

Hubble Captures a Dozen Galaxy Doppelgangers

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope photo reveals a cosmic kaleidoscope of a remote galaxy that has been split into a dozen multiple images by the effect of gravitational lensing.

NASA’s TESS Presents Panorama of Southern Sky

The glow of the Milky Way — our galaxy seen edgewise — arcs across a sea of stars in a new mosaic of the southern sky produced from a year of observations by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Constructed from 208 TESS images, the panorama reveals both the beauty of the cosmic landscape and the reach of TESS’s cameras.

Alan Smale, Director of HEASARC, and Writer of Science Songs and Books

Alan Smale, Director of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center, uses his love of music to further educate the public about space and science.

Hubble Views a Not-So-Lonely Galaxy

NGC 1706 is known to belong to something known as a galaxy group, which is just as the name suggests — a group of up to 50 galaxies which are gravitationally bound and hence relatively close to each other.

WFIRST Will Add Pieces to the Dark Matter Puzzle

WFIRST’s ability to survey wide swaths of the universe will help us figure out what dark matter could be made of by exploring the structure and distribution of both matter and dark matter across space and time.

NASA to Live Stream Symposium on Exoplanet Science

The symposium, titled “Rocky Exoplanets in the Era of NASA’s Webb: Theory and Observation” is the second symposium hosted by the Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration (SEEC) at Goddard.

Jennifer Wiseman Makes Sure Hubble Brings the Night Sky to Us

Jennifer Wiseman grew up loving the night sky and now she's in charge of the one mission that brings the night sky to us, the Hubble Telescope.

Menacing-Looking 'Face' Formed by Titanic Smashup Between Two Galaxies

This Hubble snapshot reveals what looks like an uncanny pair of glowing eyes glaring menacingly in our direction.

Hubble Sees a Familiar Sight

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows IC 4653, a galaxy just over 80 million light-years from Earth.

NASA’s Mirror-Making Whiz, William Zhang, Wins Goddard Technology Award

William Zhang won the Goddard Office of the Chief Technologist’s top prize — bestowed annually on those who demonstrate the best in innovation — for his foresight, perseverance, and leadership advancing state-of-the-art X-ray optics.

NASA to Demonstrate New Star-Watching Technology with Thousands of Tiny Shutters

NASA scientists have developed a revolutionary technology of tiny shutters that open and close as needed to focus on studying hundreds of stars and galaxies at the same time.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Clears Critical Sunshield Deployment Testing

Webb passed a critical test when technicians and engineers fully deployed and tensioned each of the sunshield's five layers, successfully putting the sunshield into the same position it will be in a million miles from Earth.

Hubble Snags Starry Galaxy

In this image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, the galaxy NGC 4380 looks like a special effect straight out of a science fiction or fantasy film, swirling like a gaping portal to another dimension. In the grand scheme of things, though, the galaxy is actually quite ordinary.

Hubble Observes 1st Confirmed Interstellar Comet

Hubble has given astronomers their best look yet at an interstellar visitor — comet 2I/Borisov — whose speed and trajectory indicate it has come from beyond our solar system. Comet 2I/Borisov is only the second such interstellar object known to have passed through the solar system.

Hubble Snaps Spiral's Profile

Seen nearly edge-on in this Hubble image, spiral galaxy NGC 3717 sits about 60 million light-years distant from Earth, appearing in the constellation of Hydra, the Sea Serpent.

Milky Way Raids Intergalactic 'Bank Accounts,' Hubble Study Finds

Gas blown out of the Milky Way disk from exploding stars falls back onto the galaxy to form new generations of stars. In an effort to account for this recycling process, astronomers were surprised to find a surplus of incoming gas.

Milky Way’s Center Will Be Revealed by NASA’s Webb Telescope

After its launch, Webb will gather infrared light that has penetrated the dusty veil, revealing the galactic center in unprecedented detail.

Hubble Finds Medusa in the Sky

The Medusa merger, was not always one entity, but two. An early galaxy consumed a smaller gas-rich system, throwing out streams of stars and dust into space. These streams resemble the writhing snakes that Medusa, a monster in ancient Greek mythology, famously had on her head in place of hair, lending the object its intriguing name.

Hubble Tracks a Galaxy on the Move

The galaxy Messier 86 (shown in this Hubble image) is moving through space remarkably quickly — its current trajectory is bringing it in the Milky Way's direction at the incredible speed of over 543,000 mph. (At 50 million light-years away from Earth, it still won't reach our galactic neighborhood anytime soon.)

NASA’s TESS Mission Spots Its 1st Star-shredding Black Hole

​For the first time, NASA’s planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) watched a black hole tear apart a star in a cataclysmic phenomenon called a tidal disruption event. Follow-up observations from other instruments have produced the most detailed look yet at the early moments of one of these star-destroying occurrences.
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