Heavens

ESA is preparing for future human exploration missions to Mars. We are currently looking for volunteers to take part in a 520-day simulated Mars mission.

To go to Mars is still a dream and one of the last gigantic challenges. But one day some of us will be on precisely that journey to the Red Planet. A journey with no way out once the spaceship is on a direct path to Mars.

The world is abuzz with the discovery of an extrasolar, Earthlike planet around the star Gliese 581 that is relatively close to our Earth at 20 light years away in the constellation Libra.

Bruce Fegley, Jr., Ph.D., professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has worked on computer models that can provide hints to what comprises the atmosphere of such planets and better-known celestial bodies in our own solar system.

A new way of looking at a previously abandoned mathematical model might help astronomers study and accurately identify an exotic clan of gravitational waves.

The waves in question come from small black holes or neutron stars in extremely elongated orbits around vastly larger black holes, says Dr. Lior Burko, an assistant physics professor at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). "This reopens an area of research that was closed several years ago."

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has teamed up with the W.M. Keck Observatory to precisely measure the mass of Eris, the largest member of a new class of dwarf planets in our solar system. Eris is 1.27 times the mass of Pluto, formerly the largest member of the Kuiper Belt of icy objects beyond Neptune.

Electrically charged gas in the magnetosphere of Saturn suggests volcanic activity on two of its moons. The direction of the ejected electrons points back towards Tethys and Dione. Previously it had been thought only only Enceladus was an active world.CLICK ABOVE FOR FULL SIZE. Plumes of icy material extend above the southern polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus, as imaged by the Cassini spacecraft in January 2005.

A young star’s strange elliptical ring of dust likely heralds the presence of an undiscovered Neptune-sized planet, says a University of Rochester astronomer

A team of Canadian and U.S. researchers have uncovered evidence that ragged, kilometre-high undulating features on the surface of Mars were shorelines of massive ancient oceans that once covered one-third of the planet in water.

A unique discovery of two celestial explosions at exactly the same position in the sky has led astronomers to suggest they have witnessed the death of one of the most massive stars that can exist.

The Milky Way's total mass is about 100 billion solar masses - enormous to us but average among galaxies. It spirals around a black hole that is about three million solar masses, say cosmologists.

University of Colorado researchers will scan Venus during a spacecraft flyby this week using an $8.7 million instrument they designed and built for NASA's MESSENGER Mission, launched in 2004 and speeding toward Mercury.

University of Michigan astronomers combined light from four widely separated telescopes to produce the first picture showing surface details on a sun-like star beyond our solar system.

The image of the rapidly rotating, hot star Altair is the most detailed stellar picture ever made using an innovative light-combining technique called optical interferometry, said U-M astronomer John Monnier.Credit: Zina Deretsky (National Science Foundation)

Using ESO's VLTI on Cerro Paranal and the VLBA facility operated by NRAO, an international team of astronomers has made what is arguably the most detailed study of the environment of a pulsating red giant star.

An international team of astronomers with the Trans-atlantic Exoplanet Survey today announce the discovery of their third planet, TrES-3. The new planet was identified by astronomers looking for transiting planets - that is, planets that pass in front of their home star - using a network of small automated telescopes in Arizona, California, and the Canary Islands.

The large molecular gas cloud in the constellation of Taurus is the nearest star formation region and a star formation test environment for expert theorists and observers alike. The XMM-Newton project has provided by far the most sensitive and comprehensive X-ray survey of this region, for the first time systematically detecting almost all young stars embedded in the cloud as X-ray sources, including many objects with the lowest mass, the so-called brown dwarfs, and stars still in the process of growing, the so-called protostars.

An international team of astronomers led by Ohio State University has examined dark matter in the outer reaches of our galaxy in a new way.