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Five Planets Around Nearby Star Tau Ceti; One in Habitable Zone

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Five Planets Around Nearby Star Tau Ceti; One in Habitable Zone

The location of Tau Ceti in the night sky. Credit: University of Hertfordshire

Look up in the sky tonight towards the southeast in the constellation Cetus. There’s a naked-eye star named Tau Ceti that lies about 12 light-years away from Earth, and astronomers have discovered a system of at least five planets orbiting Tau Ceti, including one in the star’s habitable zone.

While the recent discovery of a Earth-sized planet around the triple...

International Crew Launches to Space Station

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International Crew Launches to Space Station

The Soyuz TMA-07M rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 carrying the Expedition 34 crew to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi

Heading off just as the Sun was setting amid frigid conditions at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a trio of international explorers launched to space, on their way to the International Space Station. Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space...

How To Train for a Mission to the ISS: The Soyuz

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How To Train for a Mission to the ISS: The Soyuz

Expedition 34/35: Canadian Space Agency Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield, Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko and Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn of NASA. The crew launches on Dec. 19, 2012 at 12:12 UTC (7:12 a.m. EST). For the second half of the mission, Hadfield will become the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has been sharing with us how much there is to learn and the training...

Gorgeous New Backlit View of Saturn

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Gorgeous New Backlit View of Saturn

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has delivered a glorious view of Saturn, taken while the spacecraft was in Saturn’s shadow. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The Cassini team has done it again. A new 60-image mosaic of Saturn shows a back-lit view of the giant ringed world in several wavelengths, making Saturn look like a colorful holiday ornament. In October, the Cassini spacecraft was deliberately positioned within...

One of the Largest Astronomical Images Ever Made

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One of the Largest Astronomical Images Ever Made

The northern portion of the Cygnus Loop, as seen in an enormous new panorama from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) and WIYN partners

Looking for a stunning new desktop image to wrap up the year? Try this: it’s an amazing panorama of the Cygnus Loop, a supernova remnant located 1,500 light-years away in the constellation (you guessed it) Cygnus. The full-size image, acquired with the wide-field Mosaic camera on the WIYN 0.9-m...

The Year in Space, From NASA and ESA

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Both NASA and ESA have released videos looking back at the year 2012 in space. With Curiosity on Mars, the Flight of the Dragon, Venus Transit, ATV’s trips to the ISS, the flight of Vega, and much more, it was quite a year.

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You Need Just the Right Amount of Killer Asteroids to Promote Complex Life

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Different kinds of asteroid belts

An artist’s impression of the different configurations of asteroid belts that could occur. Image credit: NASA/ESA/A. Feild, STScI

Sure, asteroids can be planetary annihilators, scouring the surface of a world with fire and molten rock. But asteroids might also help seed a planet with the right ingredients to set up the conditions for life, and give that life encouragement to evolve more complex survival strategies.

As with all things,...

Rare Supernova Pair are Most Distant Ever

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Rare Supernova Pair are Most Distant Ever

High-resolution simulation of a galaxy hosting a super-luminous supernova and its chaotic environment in the early Universe. Credit: Adrian Malec and Marie Martig (Swinburne University)

Some of the earliest stars were massive and short-lived, destined to end their lives in huge explosions. Astronomers have detected some of the earliest and most distant of these exploding stars, called ‘super-luminous’ supernovae — stellar explosions 10–100 times...

Huge New ESA Tracking Station is Ready for Duty

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Huge New ESA Tracking Station is Ready for Duty

Caption: ESA’s giant Malargüe tracking station Credits: ESA/S. Marti

To keep in contact with an ever growing armada of spacecraft ESA has developed a tracking station network called ESTRACK. This is a worldwide system of ground stations providing links between satellites in orbit and ESA’s Operations Control Centre (ESOC) located in Darmstadt, Germany. The core ESTRACK network comprises 10 stations in seven countries. Major...