Juno orbit insertion
After a journey lasting almost five years and 2.7 billion kilometres, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has successfully entered orbit around Jupiter the largest planet in the Solar System. The spacecraft will spend at least 20 months circling the Jovian world 37 times, skimming to within 4100 kilometres above the planet’s pink and salmon coloured cloud tops. During these flybys, Juno will probe beneath this obscuring cloud cover to try and understand the gas giant’s composition and the extent of its mysterious metallic hydrogen mantle which is thought responsible for Jupiter’s powerful radiation field.
Origin of unusual supernova discovered
Astronomers may have finally worked out why some supernovae explosions known as 'extraordinary supernovae' are brighter than others.
The discovery reported in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan will help improve measurements of the Universe's expansion, and consequently the strength of Dark Energy which controls the ultimate final fate of the cosmos.
Studying the relics of the Milky Way’s first ever stars
Astronomers have moved a step closer to studying the first stars in the universe. These primordial stars were very different from today’s stars because they were made just a hundred million years after the big bang -- out of the pure hydrogen and helium produced in that event. That unique composition made these first stars blue giants from twenty to over a hundred times the mass of our Sun.
New Horizons gets green light for planned second Kuiper Belt flyby
Following its historic first-ever flyby of Pluto, NASA’s New Horizons mission has received the green light to fly onward to an object deeper in the Kuiper Belt, known as 2014 MU69. The spacecraft’s planned rendezvous with the ancient object -- considered one of the early building blocks of the solar system -- is January first 2019.
Mercury’s surface arose from deep inside
Scientists have found that several volcanic deposits on Mercury's surface require mantle melting to have started close to the planet's core-mantle boundary. NASA’s MESSENGER mission to Mercury has shown that the surface of the planet is very heterogeneous, but it can be classified into two main types of regions.