Dateline - 20 December 2014 - Massive X-flare on the Sun
Solar activity is high. A pair of large sunspots is crossing the centre of the
solar disc, and both are crackling with flares. The strongest so far, an
X1.8-class flare on December 20, caused a strong High Frequency radio blackout over the
South Pacific and might have hurled a CME (coronal mass ejection) toward Earth.
more information and updates.
Dateline - 19 December 2014 - Rosetta to swoop down on
comet in February
The European Space Agency’s orbiting Rosetta spacecraft is
expected to come to within 6.5 kilometres of the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko
in February 2015. The low flyby will be an opportunity for Rosetta to obtain
imagery with a resolution of better than 10 centimetres per pixel.
Dateline - 19 December 2014 - Southern Hemisphere carbon
The first global maps of atmospheric carbon
dioxide from NASA's new Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission show elevated
carbon dioxide concentrations across the Southern Hemisphere from springtime
biomass burning and hint at potential surprises to come.
Dateline - 19 December 2014 - New evidence for a water reservoir
NASA and an international team of planetary
scientists have found evidence in meteorites on Earth that indicates Mars has a
distinct and global reservoir of water or ice near its surface.
Dateline - 16 December 2014 - Voyager 1 spacecraft
buffeted by waves from Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) from the Sun
Since 2012, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has experienced three
'tsunami waves' in interstellar space. The most recent, which reached the
spacecraft earlier this year, is still propagating outward according to new
Dateline - 14 December 2014 - The theory that comets brought
water to Earth not supported by Rosetta data
A popular theory holds that ocean water was brought to
Earth by the ancient impacts of comets and asteroids. However, new data from the
European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft indicate that terrestrial
water did not come from comets like 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Dateline - 12 December 2014 - Earth encounters debris from a
Earth is passing through a stream of debris from 'rock comet'
3200 Phaethon, source of the annual Geminid meteor shower. Forecasters
expect as many as 120 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on December 14.
Dateline - 7 December 2014 - New Horizons wakes up on
After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles
— the farthest any space mission has ever
travelled to reach its primary target – NASA’s
New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation on December 6 for its
long-awaited encounter with the Pluto system in a year's time.
Dateline - 6 December 2014 - Astronauts face a growing peril from
According to a new study just published in the research journal
Space Weather, astronauts face a growing peril from space radiation. Rising
fluxes of cosmic rays inside the solar system place increasingly strict limits
on the amount of time explorers can safely travel through interplanetary space.
more information and links to the complete study.
Dateline - 4 December 2014 - Japan launches asteroid mission
On December 3, the Japan Aerospace Exploration
Agency (JAXA) successfully launched its Hayabusa2 mission to rendezvous
with an asteroid, land a small probe plus three mini rovers on its surface, and
then return samples to Earth. NASA and JAXA are cooperating on the science of
Dateline - 1 December 2014 - Geminid meteor shower arrives early
Earth is entering a stream of debris from 'rock
comet' 3200 Phaethon, source of the annual Geminid meteor shower. The
shower is not expected to peak until December 14, but NASA meteor cameras are
detecting Geminid fireballs over the USA two weeks early.
images and updates.
Dateline - 24 November 2014 - Volcanoes on the Moon
The Moon might not be as dead as it looks.
Researchers using NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have found signs of
geologically-recent volcanic eruptions dotting the lunar landscape.
Dateline - 12 November 2014 - Philae spacecraft makes historic
landing on comet
Rosetta mission’s safe landing gives
scientists their first chance to ride a comet and study up close what happens as
it gets closer to the Sun.
first news report.
Dateline - 12 November 2014 - An image of the birth of a new planetary
Scientists at the Atacama Large Millimetre Array
(ALMA) in northern Chile have released an image which shows the tell-tale signs
of the formation of a new planetary system out of a disc of gas and dust
surrounding a new star, HL Tauri.
(Contributed by Richard)
Dateline - 7 November 2014 - Martian meteor shower
NASA and European spacecraft have
detected evidence of a spectacular meteor shower on Mars caused by the close
approach of Comet Siding Spring last month. If a human had been standing on the
Red Planet at the time, they might have seen thousands of meteors per hour
followed by a widespread yellow afterglow that lasted for days.
Dateline - 6 November 2014 - A new theory about galaxies
Findings from a NASA rocket are redefining what
scientists think of as galaxies. Galaxies may not have a set boundary of stars,
but instead stretch out to great distances, forming a vast, interconnected sea
Dateline - 3 November 2014 - How do you land on a comet?
The European Space Agency's Rosetta
spacecraft is about to attempt something "ridiculously difficult" - landing a
probe on the surface of a speeding comet.
Dateline - 30 October 2014 - Size of the ozone hole
The Antarctic ozone hole reached its annual peak
size on September 11, according to scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The size of this year’s hole was 24.1
million square kilometres (9.3 million square miles) —
an area roughly the size of North America.
Dateline - 19 October 2014 - X-Flare on Sun
Solar activity increased sharply on October 19
when huge sunspot AR2192 unleashed an X1-class solar flare. The blast produced
an HF radio blackout on the dayside of Earth and it likely hurled a CME into
pictures of the flare and more information about possible Earth-effects.
Dateline - 17 October 2014 - Orionid meteor shower encounters the
Earth this week
Earth is entering a stream of debris from
Halley's Comet, parent of the annual Orionid meteor shower. Forecasters expect
the shower to peak on Tuesday, October 21 and Wednesday, October 22.
Dateline - 17 October 2014 - Solar eclipse next week, but not visible
On October 23, the Moon will pass in front of the
sun, off-centre, producing a partial solar eclipse visible in most of the United
States. The maximum phase of the eclipse will only be visible near the North
Pole. No part of the eclipse will be seen from the southern hemisphere.
Dateline - 17 October 2014 - Large sunspot appears
A large and active sunspot is emerging over the
sun's southeastern limb. Only two to three days ago, this active region
unleashed multiple flares and hurled a massive CME over the edge of the sun. If
these eruptions continue apace, solar activity could sharply increase in the
days ahead as the sunspot turns to face Earth. Click
here for photos
Dateline - 16 October 2014 - Comet Siding Spring due to arrive at Mars
This weekend, Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1)
will make a historically close approach to Mars. Satellites and Mars Rovers will
get an eye-full as the green comet passes less than 140 000 kilometres above the
Red Planet's surface. No one knows what will happen. Possible side-effects of
the flyby include a Martian meteor shower and aurorae. More information and
amateur images of the comet approaching Mars may be found
NASA has arranged for its
three Mars orbiters (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey and
MAVEN) to be located behind Mars during the close flyby of Comet
Siding Spring next Monday (AEST), to protect them from comet dust. The
comet's nucleus is expected to shed material hurtling at about 56 kilometres per
second, relative to Mars and Mars-orbiting spacecraft. NASA's aim is to protect
its Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientific
Dateline - 10 October 2014 - First light for MAVEN
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN
Mission (MAVEN) is a space probe designed to study the Martian
atmosphere while orbiting Mars. Mission goals include determining how the
Martian atmosphere and water, presumed to have once been present on Mars in
large quantities as on Earth, were lost over time. MAVEN has reached Mars and it
is beaming back "First Light" images of the Red Planet's upper atmosphere. The
data could help researchers understand what transformed Mars from a hospitable
planet billions of years ago into a desiccated wasteland today.
Dateline - 9 October 2014 - NASA spacecraft and Mars Rovers prepare to
observe a close comet
NASA spacecraft and rovers are gearing up to
observe a once-in-a-lifetime flyby of Mars by Comet C/2013 A1, also known as
Comet Siding Spring, on Sunday, October 19. The comet will pass within about 139
500 kilometres (87 000 miles) of the Red Planet - less than half the distance between Earth and our
Moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth.
Dateline - 3 October 2014 - Stratosphere affected by solar storm
Stratospheric radiation levels are returning to
normal, according to a Space Weather Buoy launched on September 28 by students
in California. This follows a mid-September drop in ionising radiation caused,
ironically, by a strong solar storm and CME strike. Data and a discussion of the
phenomena associated with this event may be found
Dateline - 24 September 2014 - A giant among Earth's satellites
The launch of ISS-RapidScat onboard
SpaceX-4 has kickstarted a new era for the International Space Station
as a giant Earth-observing satellite.
Dateline - 22 September 2014 - NASA's MAVEN spacecraft reaches Mars
On Sunday, September 21, NASA's MAVEN spacecraft
successfully entered Mars orbit where it now will prepare to study the Red
Planet's upper atmosphere as never done before.
Dateline - 11 September 2014 - Jellyfish flames on the ISS
Astronauts onboard the International Space
Station (ISS) report seeing flames that behave like jellyfish. Today's story
features must-see video of the microgravity phenomenon.
Dateline - 10 September 2014 - Powerful X-Flare on Sun aimed at Earth
The active sunspot AR2158 erupted on September
10, producing a strong X1.6-class solar flare. Because the sunspot is directly
facing Earth, this is a geo-effective event. HF radio blackouts and other
communications disturbances have already been observed on the day-lit side of
more information and updates about the possibility of an Earth-directed CME and
geomagnetic storms in the days ahead.
Dateline - 4 September 2014 - Asteroid close encounter on Monday
On Monday, 8 September, a house-sized asteroid
named '2014 RC' will fly through the Earth-Moon system approximately 40 000
kilometres from our planet. At closest approach, the space rock will be almost
as close as some of our geosynchronous satellites. It will be at its closest at
4:18 am, when it will be above New Zealand. At magnitude 11.5 it will be a
faint telescopic object, speeding through the constellation of Pisces.
Dateline - 4 September 2014 - Our Galaxy's position in the local
supercluster of galaxies
For the first time, scientists have pinpointed
where our Galaxy stands amongst thousands of other galaxies in our home
supercluster. The new map shows beautiful feathery strings linked together with
the Milky Way galaxy placed on the edge of the newly named Laniakea supercluster,
home to 100 000 other galaxies. The relationship with the Great Attractor is
also shown in a video attachment.
(Contributed by Tim)