A laboratory experiment at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., simulating the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan suggests complex organic chemistry that could eventually lead to the building blocks of life extends lower in the atmosphere than previously thought. The results now point out another region on the moon that could brew up prebiotic materials. The paper was published in Nature Communications this week.
While observing the turbulent outer atmosphere of the Sun, or corona, Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory B (STEREO-B) gathered a novel view of our home planet and a celestial visitor in the inner solar system. Comet PanSTARRS was visible to the naked eye from Earth's northern hemisphere at the time, though STEREO might have had the better view.
Watching starbirth isn't easy: tens of millions of years are needed to form a star like our Sun. Much like archeologists who reconstruct ancient cities from shards of debris strewn over time, astronomers must reconstruct the birth process of stars indirectly, by observing stars in different stages of the process and inferring the changes that take place.
A solar prominence began to bow out and the broke apart in a graceful, floating style in a little less than four hours (Mar. 16, 2013). The sequence was captured in extreme ultraviolet light. A large cloud of the particles appeared to hover further out above the surface before it faded away. Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA
Opportunity Moves Into Place for Quiet Period of Operations - sols 3255-3260, Mar. 21, 2013-Mar. 26, 2013: This location, called 'Big Nickel,' is the last in-situ (contact) target before the rover departs from Cape York, once solar conjunction is concluded.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) - the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919 - recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign names to nine impact craters on Mercury. In keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after famous deceased artists, musicians, or authors or other contributors to the humanities. The newly named craters are