Skywatching Highlights for October 2022

Enjoy giant planets Jupiter and Saturn all night throughout the month. Then watch as Mars begins its retrograde motion, moving westward each night instead of eastward, for the next few months. Finally, check out the Orionid meteors overnight on Oct. 20. 0:00 Intro 0:11 Evenings with Jupiter & Saturn 0:37 Mars’ retrograde motion 2:07 Orionid […]

James Webb captures clearest view of Neptune’s rings in decades

New Webb image captures clearest view of Neptune’s rings in decades

The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is showing off its capabilities closer to home with its first image of Neptune. Not only has Webb captured the clearest view of this peculiar planet’s rings in more than 30 years, but its cameras are also revealing the ice giant in a whole new light. Most striking about Webb’s new […]

A Cosmic Tarantula, Caught by NASA’s Webb

A Cosmic Tarantula, Caught by NASA’s Webb

The cycle of star formation is on display in this nearby nebula. Webb’s MIRI instrument captures protostars nestled deep in clouds of gas and dust, still gathering mass. Once upon a space-time, a cosmic creation story unfolded: thousands of never-before-seen young stars spotted in a stellar nursery called 30 Doradus, captured by NASA’s James Webb […]

Webb takes its first exoplanet image

Webb takes its first exoplanet image

For the first time, astronomers have used the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope to take a direct image of an exoplanet. The exoplanet is a gas giant, meaning it has no rocky surface and could not be habitable. The image, as seen through four different light filters, shows how Webb’s powerful infrared gaze can easily capture […]

NASA Scientists Help Probe Dark Energy by Testing Gravity

NASA Scientists Help Probe Dark Energy by Testing Gravity

Could one of the biggest puzzles in astrophysics be solved by reworking Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity? A new study co-authored by NASA scientists says not yet. The universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, and scientists don’t know why. This phenomenon seems to contradict everything researchers understand about gravity’s effect on the cosmos: It’s […]

NASA Selects Proposals to Study Stellar Explosions, Galaxies, Stars

NASA Selects Proposals to Study Stellar Explosions, Galaxies, Stars

NASA has selected four mission proposals submitted to the agency’s Explorers Program for further study. The proposals include missions that would study exploding stars, distant clusters of galaxies, and nearby galaxies and stars. Two Astrophysics Medium Explorer missions and two Explorer Missions of Opportunity have been selected to conduct mission concept studies. After detailed evaluation […]

Madrid meteor’s cometary origins unearthed

Madrid meteor's cometary origins unearthed

In brief A fireball spotted over Madrid has had its astronomical ancestry unearthed. While it ended its days burning up in Earth’s atmosphere on 31 July this year, the fragment began its life as part of Comet 169P/NEAT, responsible for the annual Alpha Capricornids meteor shower. In-depth Meteor showers occur as Earth passes through the […]

Webb captures stellar gymnastics in the Cartwheel Galaxy

Webb captures stellar gymnastics in the Cartwheel Galaxy

The Cartwheel Galaxy, a rare ring galaxy once shrouded in dust and mystery, has been unveiled by the imaging capabilities of the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. The galaxy, which formed as a result of a collision between a large spiral galaxy and another smaller galaxy, not only retained a lot of its spiral character, […]