Space News

Current Pocket Stars Versions

Pocket Stars PDA current version: 6.1
For Windows Mobile Pocket PC. Click the link to download the latest version. V6.0 had a bug in the WorldPages. Please update to V6.1.
[7 Apr 2010]

Pocket Stars PC current version: 6.1
For Windows desktop and notebook computers. Click the link to download the latest version. V6.0 had a bug in the WorldPages. Please update to V6.1.
[7 Apr 2010]

Pocket Stars SP current version:
For Windows Mobile Smartphone. New features: 3D Orrery, Sloan Digital Sky Survey images, localized into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Russian, and English.
[29 Nov 2006]

Space Headlines

CAST project places new limitations on dark matter
CERN research results deliver no evidence for the existence of solar axions.
[Tue, 23 May 2017 10:43:35 EDT]

Kepler telescope spies details of TRAPPIST-1 system's outermost planet
A team of astronomers has used data gathered by the Kepler Space Telescope to observe and confirm details of the outermost of seven exoplanets or-biting the star TRAPPIST-1.
[Tue, 23 May 2017 08:18:58 EDT]

New type of planetary object proposed: Synestia
There's something new to look for in the heavens, and it's called a 'synestia,' according to planetary scientists. A synestia, they propose, would be a huge, spinning, donut-shaped mass of hot, vaporized rock, formed as planet-sized objects smash into each other.
[Tue, 23 May 2017 08:18:52 EDT]

A new approach to forecasting solar flares?
The emerging discipline of space meteorology aims to reliably predict solar flares so that we may better guard against their effects. Using 3D numerical models, an international team has discovered a proxy that could be used to forecast an eruptive event. The proxy is associated with magnetic helicity, which reflects the extent of twist and entanglement of the magnetic field.
[Mon, 22 May 2017 08:10:42 EDT]

Secondary Mirror of ELT Successfully Cast: Largest convex mirror blank ever created
The casting of the secondary mirror blank for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) has been completed by SCHOTT at Mainz, Germany. The completed mirror will be 4.2 metres in diameter and weigh 3.5 tonnes. It will be the largest secondary mirror ever employed on a telescope and also the largest convex mirror ever produced.
[Mon, 22 May 2017 08:09:34 EDT]

Mapping super massive black holes in the distant universe
Astronomers have constructed the first map of the Universe based on the positions of supermassive black holes, which reveals the large-scale structure of the Universe.
[Fri, 19 May 2017 13:18:11 EDT]

History of Titan's landscape resembles that of Mars, not Earth
In a paper published in Science, researchers report that Titan, like Mars but unlike Earth, has not undergone any active plate tectonics in its recent past. The upheaval of mountains by plate tectonics deflects the paths that rivers take. The team found that this telltale signature was missing from river networks on Mars and Titan.
[Thu, 18 May 2017 14:38:17 EDT]

NASA mission uncovers a dance of electrons in space
NASA's MMS mission studies how electrons spiral and dive around the planet in a complex dance dictated by the magnetic and electric fields, and a new study revealed a bizarre new type of motion exhibited by these electrons.
[Thu, 18 May 2017 14:02:51 EDT]

Moon orbits third largest dwarf planet in our solar system
Astronomers have uncovered a moon orbiting the third largest dwarf planet, 2007 OR10, in the frigid outskirts of our solar system called the Kuiper Belt.
[Thu, 18 May 2017 14:02:49 EDT]

Icy ring surrounds young planetary system
ALMA has made the first complete millimeter-wavelength image of the ring of dusty debris surrounding the young star Fomalhaut. This remarkably well-defined band of rubble and gas is likely the result of exocomets smashing together near the outer edges of a planetary system 25 light-years from Earth.
[Thu, 18 May 2017 14:02:29 EDT]

First direct exploration of magnetic fields in the upper solar atmosphere
Scientists have explored the magnetic field in upper solar atmosphere by observing the polarization of ultraviolet light with the CLASP sounding rocket experiment during its 5-minute flight in space on Sept. 3, 2015. The data show that the structures of the solar chromosphere and transition region are more complicated than expected. It is proven that ultraviolet spectropolarimetry can be used in future investigations of the magnetic fields in upper solar chromosphere and transition region.
[Thu, 18 May 2017 10:41:29 EDT]

Space weather events linked to human activity
Human activities, like nuclear tests and radio transmissions, have been changing near-Earth space and weather, and have created artificial radiation belts, damaged satellites and induced auroras.
[Wed, 17 May 2017 11:16:18 EDT]

How hard did it rain on Mars?
Heavy rain on Mars reshaped the planet's impact craters and carved out river-like channels in its surface billions of years ago, according to a new study. Scientists show that changes in the atmosphere on Mars made it rain harder and harder, which had a similar effect on the planet's surface as we see on Earth.
[Tue, 16 May 2017 10:48:18 EDT]

Scientists take first tentative steps to explore potential climate of Proxima B
The quest to discover whether a planet orbiting our closest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri (4.2 light years or 25 trillion miles from Earth), has the potential to support life has taken a new, exhilarating twist.
[Mon, 15 May 2017 19:27:45 EDT]

New 'styrofoam' planet provides tools in search for habitable planets
Researchers have discovered a new planet orbiting a star 320 light years from Earth that has the density of styrofoam. This 'puffy' exoplanet may hold opportunities for testing atmospheres that will be useful when assessing future planets for signs of life.
[Mon, 15 May 2017 18:04:28 EDT]

Mars rover Opportunity begins study of Perseverance Valley's origin
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reached the main destination of its current two-year extended mission -- an ancient fluid-carved valley incised on the inner slope of a vast crater's rim.
[Mon, 15 May 2017 14:15:47 EDT]

NASA's EPIC view spots flashes on Earth
One million miles from Earth, a NASA camera is capturing unexpected flashes of light reflecting off our planet.
[Mon, 15 May 2017 13:30:10 EDT]

Solving one of nature's great puzzles: What drives the accelerating expansion of the universe?
Physicists may have solved one of nature's great puzzles: What causes the accelerating expansion of our universe?
[Mon, 15 May 2017 11:11:33 EDT]

Hubble catches a galaxy duo by the 'hare'
This image shows the unusual galaxy IRAS 06076-2139, found in the constellation Lepus (The Hare).
[Fri, 12 May 2017 13:44:19 EDT]

Ancient Mars impacts created tornado-like winds that scoured surface
Plumes of vapor generated by ancient impacts on Mars created tornado-like winds possibly swirling at more than 500 miles per hour, which explain mysterious streaks seen near large impact craters on the Martian surface.
[Thu, 11 May 2017 21:13:53 EDT]

Primitive atmosphere discovered around 'Warm Neptune'
A pioneering new study uncovering the 'primitive atmosphere' surrounding a distant world could provide a pivotal breakthrough in the search to how planets form and develop in far-flung galaxies.
[Thu, 11 May 2017 14:19:51 EDT]

Distance at which supernova would spark mass extinctions on Earth
KU researcher Adrian Melott examines the effects of a supernova on Earth's biology in new research to appear in Astrophysical Journal. The KU researcher and colleagues argue the estimated distance of the supernova thought to have occurred roughly 2.6 million years ago should be cut in half.
[Thu, 11 May 2017 11:59:35 EDT]

Observatories combine to crack open the Crab Nebula
Astronomers have produced a highly detailed image of the Crab Nebula, by combining data from telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum.
[Wed, 10 May 2017 14:07:56 EDT]

Waves of lava seen in Jupiter's moon Io's largest volcanic crater
The most active volcanic crater in the solar system, Loki Patera on Jupiter's moon Io, is thought to be a lava lake that periodically brightens because of overturning lava. A UC Berkeley team regularly monitors Io, and took advantage of a rare 2015 event, Europa passing in front of Io, to map the surface of the lake in detail. They found evidence for two massive waves of overturning lava converging toward the lake's southeast corner.
[Wed, 10 May 2017 13:20:17 EDT]

Planetary harmonies around TRAPPIST-1 save it from destruction, astrophysicists find
Astrophysicists have created a digital symphony to highlight the unique configuration of the recently discovered TRAPPIST-1 system.
[Wed, 10 May 2017 11:52:35 EDT]

Supercomputer can disprove the theory of sunspot formation
A group of researchers believes that contrary to a common model sunspots form near the Sun's surface.
[Wed, 10 May 2017 09:15:45 EDT]

Two James Webb instruments are best suited for exoplanet atmospheres
The best way to study the atmospheres of distant worlds with the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in late 2018, will combine two of its infrared instruments, according to a team of astronomers.
[Tue, 09 May 2017 14:52:11 EDT]

Surprise! When a brown dwarf is actually a planetary mass object
Sometimes a brown dwarf is actually a planet -- or planet-like anyway. A team discovered that what astronomers had previously thought was one of the closest brown dwarfs to our own Sun is in fact a planetary mass object.
[Tue, 09 May 2017 12:20:26 EDT]

Astronauts experience decrease in blood vessel function during spaceflight
A kinesiology study has found that astronauts aboard the International Space Station have decreased physical fitness because of a decrease in the way oxygen moves through the body.
[Tue, 09 May 2017 12:20:12 EDT]

Space radiation reproduced in the lab for better, safer missions
Human-made space radiation has been produced in new research, which could help to make space exploration safer, more reliable and more extensive.
[Mon, 08 May 2017 11:23:57 EDT]

Space weather model simulates solar storms from nowhere
A kind of solar storm has puzzled scientists for its lack of typical warning signs: They seem to come from nowhere, and scientists call them stealth CMEs. Now, scientists have developed a model simulating their evolution.
[Mon, 08 May 2017 11:23:09 EDT]

Chemical engineer explains oxygen mystery on comets
A chemical engineer who normally develops new ways to fabricate microprocessors in computers has figured out how to explain a nagging mystery in space -- why comets expel oxygen gas, the same gas we humans breathe.
[Mon, 08 May 2017 08:32:33 EDT]

A lot of galaxies need guarding
Like the quirky characters in the upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Hubble Space Telescope has some amazing superpowers, specifically when it comes to observing galaxies across time and space. One stunning example is galaxy cluster Abell 370, which contains a vast assortment of several hundred galaxies tied together by the mutual pull of gravity. That's a lot of galaxies to be guarding, and just in this one cluster!
[Thu, 04 May 2017 10:18:49 EDT]

Ancient meteorite impact sparked long-lived volcanic eruptions on Earth
Large impacts were common on the early Earth and were likely much more important than previously thought in shaping our planet. The findings raise interest in the possibility of volcanism also shaping similar structures on Mercury, Venus, Mars and the Moon.
[Wed, 03 May 2017 10:08:44 EDT]

VISTA peeks through the Small Magellanic Cloud's dusty veil
VISTA's infrared capabilities have now allowed astronomers to see the myriad of stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy much more clearly than ever before. The result is this record-breaking image -- the biggest infrared image ever taken of the Small Magellanic Cloud -- with the whole frame filled with millions of stars.
[Wed, 03 May 2017 08:02:18 EDT]

Scientists find giant wave rolling through the Perseus galaxy cluster
Combining data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory with radio observations and computer simulations, an international team of scientists has discovered a 200,000-light-year wave of hot gas in the Perseus galaxy cluster.
[Tue, 02 May 2017 14:24:00 EDT]

Nearby star is a good model of our early solar system
Scientists have confirmed a nearby star's planetary system contains separate belts of asteroids, similar to our own solar system. The star is also about one-fifth the age of our sun. All that makes this star a good model of the early days of our solar system.
[Tue, 02 May 2017 14:19:53 EDT]

Origin of Milky Way's hypothetical dark matter signal may not be so dark
A mysterious gamma-ray glow at the center of the Milky Way is most likely caused by pulsars. The findings cast doubt on previous interpretations of the signal as a potential sign of dark matter.
[Tue, 02 May 2017 12:12:45 EDT]

Why space dust emits radio waves upon crashing into a spacecraft
When spacecraft and satellites travel through space they encounter tiny, fast moving particles of space dust and debris. If the particle travels fast enough, its impact appears to create electromagnetic radiation that can damage or even disable the craft's electronic systems. A new study uses computer simulations to show that the cloud of plasma generated from the particle's impact is responsible for creating the damaging electromagnetic pulse.
[Tue, 02 May 2017 11:25:50 EDT]

Hubble's bright shining lizard star
The bright object seen in this Hubble image is a single and little-studied star named TYC 3203-450-1, located in the constellation of Lacerta (The Lizard). The star is much closer than the much more distant galaxy.
[Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:35:42 EDT]

Solar system: New insights into ring system
Astronomers have modeled the two rings around Chariklo, the smallest body in the Solar System known to have rings. This is the first time an entire ring system has been simulated using realistic sizes for the ring particles. The simulation revealed that the ring particles are much smaller than predicted or that an undiscovered shepherd satellite around Chariklo is stabilizing the ring.
[Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:38:51 EDT]

Intergalactic gas and ripples in the cosmic web
A team of astronomers has made the first measurements of small-scale ripples in primeval hydrogen gas using rare double quasars.
[Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:17:11 EDT]

Cassini spacecraft dives between Saturn and its rings
NASA's Cassini spacecraft is back in contact with Earth after its successful first-ever dive through the narrow gap between the planet Saturn and its rings on April 26, 2017.
[Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:29:14 EDT]

Engineers investigate a simple, no-bake recipe to make bricks from Martian soil
Explorers planning to settle on Mars might be able to turn the planet's soil into bricks without needing to use an oven or additional ingredients. Instead, they would need to apply pressure to compact the soil--the equivalent of a blow from a hammer.
[Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:17:23 EDT]

Using math to investigate possibility of time travel
After some serious number crunching, a researcher says that he has come up with a mathematical model for a viable time machine: a Traversable Acausal Retrograde Domain in Space-time (TARDIS). He describes it as a bubble of space-time geometry which carries its contents backward and forwards through space and time as it tours a large circular path. The bubble moves through space-time at speeds greater than the speed of light at times, allowing it to move backward in time.
[Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:17:17 EDT]

Scientists propose mechanism to describe solar eruptions of all sizes
From long jets to massive explosions of solar material and energy, eruptions on the sun come in many shapes and sizes. Scientists now propose that a universal mechanism can explain the whole spectrum of solar eruptions.
[Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:09:57 EDT]

Cassini's first grand finale dive: Milestones
NASA's Cassini spacecraft is set to make its first dive through the narrow gap between Saturn and its rings on April 26, 2017.
[Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:46:25 EDT]

'Iceball' planet discovered through microlensing
Scientists have discovered a new planet with the mass of Earth, orbiting its star at the same distance that we orbit our sun. The planet is likely far too cold to be habitable for life as we know it, however, because its star is so faint. But the discovery adds to scientists' understanding of the types of planetary systems that exist beyond our own.
[Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:24:37 EDT]

'Ageless' silicon throughout Milky Way may indicate a well-mixed galaxy
New surveys of the element silicon may mean that the Milky Way is more efficient at mixing its contents than previously thought, thereby masking the telltale signs of chemical aging.
[Wed, 26 Apr 2017 11:31:37 EDT]

Jupiter and the theory of relativity gets the blame for celestial bodies changing course
In the case of solar system bodies passing close to the sun, there are two important effects playing a crucial role in the orbital evolution. One of the effects is from the general relativity and the other effect is from Newtonian theory of gravitation.
[Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:22:26 EDT]

Cassini completes final -- and fateful -- Titan flyby: Dive to Saturn next
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has had its last close brush with Saturn's hazy moon Titan and is now beginning its final set of 22 orbits around the ringed planet.
[Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:28:56 EDT]

New survey hints at exotic origin for the Cold Spot
A supervoid is unlikely to explain a 'Cold Spot' in the cosmic microwave background, according to the results of a new survey, leaving room for exotic explanations like a collision between universes.
[Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:48:22 EDT]

Lull in Mars' giant impact history
From the earliest days of our solar system's history, collisions between astronomical objects have shaped the planets and changed the course of their evolution. Studying the early bombardment history of Mars, scientists have discovered a 400-million-year lull in large impacts early in Martian history.
[Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:25:26 EDT]

NASA's Cassini, Voyager missions suggest new picture of Sun's interaction with galaxy
New data from three NASA missions show that the heliosphere -- the bubble of the Sun's magnetic influence that surrounds the inner solar system -- may be much more compact and rounded than previously thought.
[Mon, 24 Apr 2017 14:12:50 EDT]

In experiments on Earth, testing possible building blocks of alien life
Extraterrestrial life, if it exists, could use different amino acid building blocks than living things here on Earth. To better understand what alien life might look like, researchers are studying which amino acids stand up to the types of extreme conditions found on other planets and moons.
[Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:40:21 EDT]

Space technologies improve surgeries back on earth
A novel surgical robotic system has been developed that provides tactile feedback and is capable of single-incision and natural orifice (incision-free) robotic surgery. The system minimizes surgical trauma and is safer than currently available robotic systems.
[Sat, 22 Apr 2017 10:20:30 EDT]

Hubble's cosmic bubbles
Hubble has revealed a few of the tenuous threads comprising Sh2-308, a faint and wispy shell of gas located 5,200 light-years away in Canis Major.
[Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:32:54 EDT]

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy
Astronomers have detected for the first time multiple images from a gravitationally lensed Type Ia supernova. The new observations suggest promising new avenues for the study of the accelerated expansion of the universe, gravity and distribution of dark matter in the universe.
[Thu, 20 Apr 2017 14:17:58 EDT]

Searching for ET: Breakthrough Listen initiative publishes initial results
Breakthrough Listen -- the initiative to find signs of intelligent life in the universe -- has released its 11 events ranked highest for significance as well as summary data analysis results. It is considered unlikely that any of these signals originate from artificial extraterrestrial sources, but the search continues.
[Thu, 20 Apr 2017 11:48:16 EDT]

Will Earth-like planets be found to have Earth-like oceans?
For a planetary surface to boast extensive areas of both land and water, a delicate balance must be struck between the volume of water it retains and the capacity of its oceanic basins. Each of these two quantities may vary substantially across the full spectrum of water-bearing worlds. Why the Earth's values are so well balanced is an unresolved and long-standing conundrum.
[Thu, 20 Apr 2017 11:39:23 EDT]

Nasa Headlines

NASA Acting Administrator Statement on Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Proposal
The following is a statement from NASA acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot on the Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal released Tuesday.
[Tue, 23 May 2017 12:19 EDT]

Media Invited to Demonstration of NASA UAS Traffic Management Technologies
Media are invited to see the latest technologies NASA is working on as part of its Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) project Thursday, May 25, at the Reno-Stead Airport in Reno, Nevada.
[Mon, 22 May 2017 14:52 EDT]

NASA TV Coverage Set for May 23 Space Station Contingency Spacewalk
NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer are preparing for an unscheduled spacewalk outside the International Space Station Tuesday, May 23. Live coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
[Mon, 22 May 2017 14:30 EDT]

NASA to Discuss First Science Results from Juno Mission to Jupiter
Scientists from NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter will discuss their first in-depth science results in a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT Thursday, May 25, when multiple papers with early findings will be published online by the journal Science and Geophysical Research Letters.
[Mon, 22 May 2017 13:25 EDT]

NASA to Discuss FY2018 Budget Proposal, Provide Virtual Tours of Centers
NASA will hold a series of events May 23, highlighting the agency’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal, including a televised State of NASA address by acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and Facebook Live virtual tours of NASA’s 10 centers, where innovation is enabling exploration and discovery.
[Mon, 22 May 2017 09:12 EDT]

Two NASA Astronauts Inducted into U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
Two veteran NASA astronauts, Ellen Ochoa and Michael Foale, joined the ranks of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Friday.
[Fri, 19 May 2017 13:45 EDT]

NASA Highlights Science on Next Resupply Mission to International Space Station
NASA will host a media teleconference at 10 a.m. EDT Friday, May 26, to discuss select science investigations launching on the next SpaceX commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station.
[Thu, 18 May 2017 17:37 EDT]

NASA Selects Facilities Operations, Maintenance Support Services Contractor
NASA has selected URS Federal Services Inc. of Germantown, Maryland, to provide facilities operations and maintenance support services at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
[Thu, 18 May 2017 16:00 EDT]

Utah Students to Speak to NASA Astronauts on International Space Station
Utah students will speak with NASA astronauts living and working aboard the International Space Station at 12:40 p.m. EDT Friday, May 19. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
[Wed, 17 May 2017 13:27 EDT]

NASA Astronauts Inducted into Hall of Fame, Live May 19 on NASA Television
Two NASA astronauts, both with one-of-a-kind career credits, will be honored Friday, May 19, when they are inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. The ceremony will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website at 1 p.m. EDT.
[Mon, 15 May 2017 10:06 EDT]