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Video: 55 Years of Space Exploration

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Yesterday marked the 55th anniversary of the Sputnik launch, which sent the first artificial satellite into orbit. It was actually a fairly small satellite, about the size of a basketball, but it had a big impact. It set in motion not only the space race, but jump-started a push for education and technology development. Thanks to the giant leap of Sputnik, we now use satellites for telecommunications, weather prediction, remote sensing, and...

Once in a Lifetime Image: Emperor Penguins Under the Aurora Australis

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Once in a Lifetime Image: Emperor Penguins Under the Aurora Australis

Emperor Penguins on the Antarctic Sea Ice Under the Aurora Australis. Credit and copyright: Stefan Christmann. Used by permission.

Photographer Stefan Christmann called this incredible Antarctic view a once in a lifetime experience.

“It was the most impressive experience to sit on the sea-ice and watch the Aurora Australis dance above the penguin colony with the sounds of the chicks and the adult penguins. I feel truly blessed for having had the...

Two Stars Do a Short-Orbit Tango Around the Milky Way’s Black Hole

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Two Stars Do a Short-Orbit Tango Around the Milky Way’s Black Hole

Astronomers have known for some time there was one star orbiting fairly close to the black hole at the center of our galaxy. But now another star has been found dipping close and orbiting even faster around the Milky Way’s central black hole. Astronomer Andrea Ghez from UCLA says the ability to watch these two stars in a short-period ‘tango’ around the black hole will help scientist measure the effects of space-time curvature, and they should b...

Eye-Like Helix Nebula Turns Blue in New Image

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Eye-Like Helix Nebula Turns Blue in New Image

A combined image of the Helix Nebual from the Spitzer Space Telescope,the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) and the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).. Credit: NASA/Caltech

The Helix Nebula has been called the “Eye of God,” or the “Eye of Sauron,” and there’s no denying this object appears to be a cosmic eye looking down on us all. And this new image – a combined view from Spitzer and GALEX — gives a blue tint to the eye that we’v...

Liftoff! Delta IV Launches Next Generation GPS Satellite

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A Delta IV rocket launched from Florida today, sending a next-generation Global Positioning System satellite into orbit. The rocket lifted off at 12:10 UTC with the GPS IIF-3 satellite that will be part of the GPS system that is used by both civilians and the military. The new satellite will replace a 19-year-old navigation satellite in the global system that includes 31 operational satellites on-orbit which broadcast position, navigation and...

Astrophoto: Stunning Sun Halo Revisited

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Astrophoto: Stunning Sun Halo Revisited

When we posted an astrophoto earlier this week of a spectacular 22-degree Sun halo seen in Kuala Lumpur, we quickly got a note from Theo Wellington from Madison, Tennessee USA, who may have one-upped that image. Make that two-upped. “Not only did we have the 22 degree halo, but a circumscribed halo AND a parhelic circle as well!” Wellington wrote. “I became a distracted driver and had to pull off the road to look and...

1,000 mph Land Speed Record Car Fires Up Its Engines

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1,000 mph Land Speed Record Car Fires Up Its Engines

Caption: The BloodhoundSSC. Image Credit: Curventa and Siemens.

29 years ago today Richard Noble in Thrust2 broke the land speed record for Britain at 633.468 mph in October 1983. That day saw the start of my love affair with the land speed record. Again in September 1997 Richard Noble’s ThrustSSC, driven by Andy Green, reached 714.144 mph and just a month later on October 15 Green became the first man to exceed the speed of sound at...

Watch Live Webcast: What Does Hubble’s Deepest Image of the Universe Reveal?

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Watch Live Webcast: What Does Hubble’s Deepest Image of the Universe Reveal?

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope recently released the deepest image of the sky ever obtained which reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen. The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) is like a time machine, allowing us to see at how some galaxies looked just 450 million years after the Universe’s birth in the Big Bang.

Want to know more? The Kavli Foundation is hosting a live Q&A webcast on October 4 from...

Curiosity’s “Bootprint” on Mars

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Curiosity’s “Bootprint” on Mars

Looking very similar to the iconic first footprint on the Moon from the Apollo 11 landing, this new raw image from the Curiosity rover on Mars shows one of the first “scuff” marks from the rover’s wheels on a small sandy ridge. This image was taken today by Curiosity’s right Navcam on Sol 57 (2012-10-03 19:08:27 UTC).

Besides being on different worlds, the two prints likely have a very different future. NASA says the...