Hubble Looks at Newly Forming Stars in a Stellar Nursery

stellar nurseries and jets
The lives of newborn stars are tempestuous, as this image of the Herbig–Haro objects HH 1 and HH 2 from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope depicts.

When we look at images of star birth regions, they look both placid and active at the same time. That’s nowhere more true than in a stellar nursery associated with a so-called “Herbig-Haro” object. A recent image from Hubble Space Telescope zeroed in on two called “HH 1” and “HH 2”. It looked at the turbulence associated with a nearby newborn star system.

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A Nearby Star Has Completely Blasted Away the Atmosphere From its Planet

m dwarf stars destroy atmospheres.
Stellar flares could threaten life on red dwarf planets. Credit: NASA, ESA and D. Player (STScI)

What if you placed an Earth-sized planet in a close orbit around an M-dwarf star? It’s more than an academic question since M dwarfs are the most numerous stars we know. A group of astronomers studying the planet GJ 1252b found an answer and it’s not pretty.

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Astronomers Find a “Marshmallow World”: the Lowest Density Gas Giant Ever Discovered

a gas giant orbiting a red dwarf star
A gas giant exoplanet [right] with the density of a marshmallow has been detected in orbit around a cool red dwarf star [left] by the NASA-funded NEID radial-velocity instrument on the 3.5-meter WIYN Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. The planet, named TOI-3757 b, is the fluffiest gas giant planet ever discovered around this type of star.

Exoplanet discovery space hosts all kinds of interesting “super” worlds. There are super-Earths, super-Neptunes, and, of course, Super-Jupiters. Recently, the WIYN telescope on Kitt Peak in Arizona did a follow-up observation of a gas giant discovered by TESS (the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite). The world is fluffy and weird and it’s orbiting a red giant star. Oddly enough, it shouldn’t even exist. Yet, there it is happily orbiting a star some 580 light-years from Earth.

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Why NASA Is Trying to Crash Land on Mars

Mars crash lander
An artist's concept for SHIELD, a Mars lander that would enable lower-cost missions to crash safely onto the surface. Credit: California Academy of Sciences.

You know, sometimes the old ways are the best. At least, when it comes to landing on Mars and other planets, it’s worth looking at past successes—and failures. That’s the case with an idea that engineers at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory are testing: crashing spacecraft onto surfaces.

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Webb Sees a Cluster of Galaxies Feeding a Quasar

an artistic concept of a quasar
Concept image of a galactic quasar. Astronomers used the Event Horizon Telescope to study details at the heart of one like this called NRAO 530. Credit: ParallelVision, Pixabay

There’s a galaxy protocluster out there in the distant universe that’s waving some tantalizing clues about cosmic history at astronomers. First of all, it’s got an active galactic nucleus—a quasar—at its heart. That’s a black hole emitting huge amounts of radiation. But now, they’ve found at least three young galaxies sending massive amounts of cosmic food (gas and dust) into the maw of that black hole-powered engine. Those infant galaxies are massive and moving fast around each other. And, just to make things interesting, dark matter is probably involved in the action.

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Satellite View of Stromboli’s New Eruption in Italy. You Can See a River of Lava Flowing to the Ocean

stromboli
ESA's Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite captured this view of Stromboli volcano's latest eruption. contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2022), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Mount Stromboli is one of the busiest volcanoes on the planet. It’s been erupting off and on for thousands of years, and almost continuously since the early 1930s. So, it’s no surprise that ESA’s orbiting Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission caught its latest eruption in the act. It used infrared-sensitive instruments to chart the flow and follow its course to the sea.

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If There are Shallow Lakes Under the Ice on Europa, Clipper Will Find Them

europa
Europa, as seen by Juno during its Perijove 45. Could lakes be sending geysers out from beneath its icy crust? Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

“All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landings there.” That was the ominous message sent to Earth in the movie “2010” when Jupiter was about to transform to become a star. Thanks to that transformation, Europa would become a life-bearing world. The aliens didn’t want Earthlings messing that up. That was in the movie.

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NASA had Been Designing Lunar Bases for Decades Before Armstrong First Set Foot on the Moon

Moon base
Illustration of NASA astronauts on the lunar South Pole. Mission ideas we see today have at least some heritage from the early days of the Space Age. Credit: NASA

It’s only natural to look at the Moon and wonder what it would be like to live there. Thanks to Buzz Aldrin who landed there in 1969, we know it’s a magnificent desolation. Even before the Apollo missions science fiction writers and scientists knew how desolate the place was. But, as far back as the late 19th Century, they also saw it as a natural outpost. So did NASA, the former Soviet Union, and their respective militaries. And, that led to people on both sides drawing up elaborate plans for Moon bases.

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The Bright Core of This Spiral Galaxy Reveals an Actively Feeding Supermassive Black Hole

spiral galaxy with black hole
The stately sweeping spiral arms of the spiral galaxy NGC 5495 as seen by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 in this image.

Hubble Space Telescope observes a lot of galaxies. Some of them are wild-looking while others seem fairly placid. Recently, it looked at NGC 5495, which lies about 300 million light-years away from Earth. You wouldn’t know just by looking at it, but this galaxy has some pretty hot action happening in its core.

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Two “Super Mercury” Exoplanets Found in a Single System

Mercury gives a clue to Super-Mercuries
Astronomers have found a star system with two planets like Mercury, but bigger. Our own Mercury could supply clues to their composition and formation. (Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory.Carnegie Institution of Washington).

There’s a star system out there with three super-Earth planets and two super-Mercuries. Super-Earths are fairly familiar types of exoplanets, but super-Mercuries are rare. Those are planets with the same composition as our own Mercury, but larger and denser. Yet, here’s HD 23472, showing off two of eight known super-Mercuries in the galaxy.

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