See Saturn at its Best and Brightest
Huntsville AL (SPX) May 03, 2013 – The Solar System is a beautiful place filled with wonders that NASA space probes are only beginning to discover. There’s a tendency, though, for people to become indifferent; every year Hubble, Cassini, MESSENGER and other spacecraft beam back gigabytes of jaw-dropping images. After a while, you don’t have any more “gasps” left in you. Well, maybe just one more. Inhale deeply, because at t … more

How the Density of Exoplanets’ Atmospheres Weighs on the Odds for Alien Life
Moffett Field CA (SPX) May 03, 2013 – At this early stage in the search for extraterrestrial life in our solar system and beyond, the emphasis is on liquid water. Where it can exist on a planet’s or moon’s surface, so the thinking goes, life as we know it has a chance. Much of the observational and theoretical work in astrobiology therefore concerns the “habitable zone,” the orbital band around stars where a rocky world’s wa … more

Cluster hears the heartbeat of magnetic reconnection
Paris (ESA) May 03, 2013 – For the first time, scientists have resolved the detailed structure of the core region where magnetic reconnection takes place in the magnetosphere of Earth using unprecedented wave measurements. The study, based on data from ESA’s Cluster mission, has mapped different types of electrostatic waves in this region. The waves trace populations of plasma particles that are involved in the diff … more

VLA Gives Deep, Detailed Image of Distant Universe
Socorro NM (SPX) May 02, 2013 – Staring at a small patch of sky for more than 50 hours with the ultra-sensitive Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), astronomers have for the first time identified discrete sources that account for nearly all the radio waves coming from distant galaxies. They found that about 63 percent of the background radio emission comes from galaxies with gorging black holes at their cores and the remaini … more