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Universe


Three reasons why black holes are the scariest things in the Universe

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In a 1.3 million cubic-foot cleanroom at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Md., 18 gold-coated primary mirror segments await installation on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Those mirrors and the telescope’s four science instruments just steps away, will become the most powerful space telescope ever built. “The Hubble Space Telescope has already rewritten the …

More than ten years have now passed since NASA’s fourth “Great Observatory” – the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRFT) – was boosted into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., atop a Delta II rocket. It was intended to complement is three older siblings, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory and …

Passing its 10th anniversary, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has evolved into a premier observatory for an endeavor not envisioned in its original design: the study of worlds around other stars, called exoplanets. While the engineers and scientists who built Spitzer did not have this goal in mind, their visionary work made this unexpected capability possible. …

Most blog readers are no doubt familiar with the world of space telescopes. But have you ever gone to your friends and asked them what comes to mind when they hear the word “Spitzer?” Chances are, they will ask if you are referring to a certain politician… Or maybe a carbonated beverage. Now is the …

Two black holes are entwined in a gravitational tango in this artist’s conception. Supermassive black holes at the hearts of galaxies are thought to form through the merging of smaller, yet still massive black holes, such as the ones depicted here. NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, helped lead astronomers to what appears to …

ESA’s Gaia is destined to create the most accurate map yet of the Milky Way. By making accurate measurements of the positions and motions of 1% of the total population of roughly 100 billion stars, it will answer questions about the origin and evolution of our home Galaxy. The Gaia mission blasted off the morning …