NSF Science Now series spotlights NSF science and engineering research and discoveries
Astronomy & Space
Astronomy may well be the oldest science of all, seeking answers to questions such as: "Where did it all come from?" and "Are we alone?" But, today's astronomers are focusing on phenomena our forbearers never imagined—planets orbiting other stars, for example; black holes the size of our solar system; galaxies being driven apart by invisible "dark energy"; ripples in the fabric of space and time; and of course the big bang, where time itself began.
We depend on the Sun for heat and light, but there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye,” says NCAR solar physicist Scott McIntosh. On a whirlwind tour of the Sun’s magnetic forces, MacIntosh describes the impact solar storms can have on Earth’s environment and explains how scientists study this powerhouse of mass and energy.
U.S. astronaut Tom Marshburn and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, both on board the International Space Station as part of Expedition 34, sent greetings and congratulations for the inauguration of ALMA, March 13, 2013.
The impact of comets on the surface of Jupiter are a fairly common experience. At the University of Central Florida, astronomers Joseph Harrington and Csaba Palotai are leading a project that studies precisely how these impacts happen, and also provides valuable information about what might happen if such a comet struck Earth.
Using new technology at the telescope and in laboratories, researchers have discovered an important pair of prebiotic molecules in interstellar space.
When a meteor hits the earth, there is the possibility that it brings something very rare along with it: cosmic stardust older than our Solar System.
Dr. Charles Bennnett and his 26-member team were awarded the Gruber Foundation's 2012 Cosmology Prize for their transformative study of an ancient light dating back to the infant universe.
Telescope can detect hidden gases that might hold the key to star and planetary formation
This ESOcast is about the discovery of the most distant quasar found to date. This brilliant beacon is powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun. It is by far the brightest object yet discovered in the early Universe.
Astronomers accurately measure the diameter of the dwarf planet Eris
Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope have discovered a gas cloud with several times the mass of the Earth accelerating towards the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.
Images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have revealed half-mile-sized (kilometer-sized) objects punching through parts of Saturn's F ring, leaving glittering trails behind them.
Extrasolar planets, or exoplanets, are planets that orbit stars other than our sun. Astronomers like Dr. William Welsh at San Diego State University primarily use two methods to detect these distant planets: Doppler and Transit methods.
NASA's NuSTAR will use its X-ray eyes to scout for hidden black holes in the universe.
GigaGalaxy Zoom reveals three amazing, ultra-high-resolution images of the night sky that online stargazers can zoom in on and explore in an incredible level of detail.
At the edge of the solar system
A complex nebula is created by two companion stars that orbit each other
This report reviews the research and discoveries made possible in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
The University of Maine is working with NASA develope a portable lunar habitat to help astronauts live on other planets