Hubble Space Telescope Captures Auroras on Uranus

The Uranus aurora photos were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, marking the first time the icy blue planet’s light show has been seen by an observatory near Earth. Until now, the only views of auroras on Uranus were from the NASA Voyager probe that zipped by the planet in 1986. Hubble recorded auroras on the day side of Uranus only twice, both times in 2011, while the planet was 2.5 billion miles (4 billion kilometers) from Earth.

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Dusty Beltz Around Nearby Star Fomalhaut

The Herschel Space Observatory has studied the dusty belt around the nearby star Fomalhaut. As said scientists the dust appears to be coming from collisions that destroy up to thousands of icy comets every day. Fomalhaut is a young star, just a few hundred million years old, and twice as massive as the sun.Fomalhaut’s comet belt arrangement is similar to the Kuiper belt of icy objects beyond the orbit of Neptune in our own solar system.

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IBEX and TWINS Observe a Solar Storm

Sun spewed a two million mile per hour stream of charged particles toward the invisible magnetic fields surrounding Earth, known as the magnetosphere on April 5, 2010. As the particles interacted with the magnetic fields, the incoming stream of energy caused stormy conditions near Earth. Some scientists believe that it was this solar storm that interfered with commands to a communications satellite, Galaxy-15, which subsequently foundered and drifted, taking almost a year to return to its station.

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Sun Coronal Cells

Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C., discovered the odd, newly identified features, which they call coronal cells, by studying the sun’s ultraviolet emissions at temperatures around 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (999,700 degrees Celsius). According to reserachers the pattern of cells, which have bright centers and dark boundaries, look similar to bubbles that rise to the top of boiling water. But, the scientists were surprised to find these features higher up in the corona, a part of the sun’s atmosphere that is typically dominated by bright loops and dark coronal holes.

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Star HD 10180 May Harbor Record Number of Planets

A sun-like star some 127 light years away may harbor a record number of planets, nine, spotted in another solar system. Our own solar system only possesses eight planets, with the recent demotion of Pluto to dwarf planet status by astronomers. Accepted for publication by the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, the report by astronomer Mikko Tuomi of the United Kingdom’s University of Hertfordshire, looks at HD 10180, an often-examined star in the constellation of Hydrus, the water snake.

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Study of Weather Based on the Climate of Alien Planets

The U.K. agency tasked with monitoring the country’s weather forecasts is expanding its research on how space weather affects Earth and the atmospheres of alien planets around other stars. The U.K. Met Office, which is funded by the government to provide national weather services, is now also planning to supply space weather forecasts for the region. Two teams of scientists presented their research at the U.K.-Germany National Astronomy Meeting held in March in Manchester, England.

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Giant Magnetic Bubbles Around Venus

Magnetic phenomenon that causes auroras on Earth has now surprisingly been discovered creating giant magnetic bubbles around Venus, a planet without a magnetic field. The Northern and Southern Lights on Earth are caused by magnetic lines of force breaking and connecting with each other. This process, known as magnetic reconnection, can explosively convert magnetic energy to heat and kinetic energy.

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Comet Garradd Sails Slowly Past Globular Star Cluster M92

Skywatcher Bill Snyder took this marvelous photo on February 3, 2012 from Heavens Mirror Observatory in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Comet Garradd sails slowly past globular star cluster Messier 92 (also known as M92 or NGC 6341) in this stunning image. The comet approached Messier 92 (M92) as it flew over the Hercules constellation. It passed within half a degree of Messier 92 (M92) on the day the image was taken.

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Huge Martian Dust Devils

A gigantic dust devil races across the surface of Mars. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured the 12 mile-high (20 kilometer) twister as it whirled its way through the Amazonis Planitia region of northern Mars on March 14. According to researchers despite its towering height, the dust devil is just 210 feet (64 meters) wide. The plume’s shadow is also clearly visible in the new image, as are some topographic features on the Red Planet’s complex surface.

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