New Clues to Universe's Structure Revealed

NASA/JPL-Caltech, Aug 4, 2017
(Image credit: Chihway Chang/Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago/DES Collaboration)

Map of dark matter made from gravitational lensing measurements of 26 million galaxies in the Dark Energy Survey. The map covers about 1/30th of the entire sky and spans several billion light years in extent. Red regions have more dark matter than average, blue regions less dark matter.
What is our universe made of, and has its composition changed over time? Scientists have new insights about these fundamental questions, thanks to an international collaboration of more than 400 scientists called the Dark Energy Survey (DES).

NASA Finds Moon of Saturn Has Chemical That Could Form ‘Membranes’

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, July 28, 2017
(Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Cassini, 2012)

NASA scientists have definitively detected the chemical acrylonitrile in the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan, a place that has long intrigued scientists investigating the chemical precursors of life.
On Earth, acrylonitrile, also known as vinyl cyanide, is useful in the manufacture of plastics. Under the harsh conditions of Saturn’s largest moon, this chemical is thought to be capable of forming stable, flexible structures similar to cell membranes. Other researchers have previously suggested that acrylonitrile is an ingredient of Titan’s atmosphere, but they did not report an unambiguous detection of the chemical in the smorgasbord of organic, or carbon-rich, molecules found there.
Now, NASA researchers have identified the chemical fingerprint of acrylonitrile in Titan data collected by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. The team found large quantities of the chemical on Titan, most likely in the stratosphere — the hazy part of the atmosphere that gives this moon its brownish-orange color.

Hubble Spots a Barred Lynx Spiral

NASA/ESA/Hubble, July 14, 2017
Discovered by British astronomer William Herschel over 200 years ago, NGC 2500 lies about 30 million light-years away in the northern constellation of Lynx.
As this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows, NGC 2500 is a particular kind of spiral galaxy known as a barred spiral, its wispy arms swirling out from a bright, elongated core.

NASA's Juno Spacecraft Spots Jupiter's Great Red Spot

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major, July 12, 2017
This enhanced-color image of Jupiter's Great Red Spot was created by citizen scientist Jason Major using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA's Juno spacecraft.
The image was taken on July 10, 2017 at 07:10 p.m. PDT (10:10 p.m. EDT), as the Juno spacecraft performed its 7th close flyby of Jupiter.
At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 8,648 miles (13,917 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet.

Reno Is Starting to Look More Like Silicon Valley

Bloomberg, June 22, 2017 (Photo by Lucas Foglia for Bloomberg Businessweeek)

Missile test puts Raytheon’s Kill Vehicle and Boeing’s Shield together to pulverize enemy ICBMs

By Allison Barrie, Fox Business, May 30, 2017 (Image by Raytheon)

San Francisco Goes From First to Worst
in U.S. Home-Price Gauge

By Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg, May 24, 2017
(Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

San Francisco, which in recent years had the biggest home-price gain in the U.S., was the country’s weakest market in the first quarter, with values falling for the first time since 2011.

NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size,
Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star

NASA/JPL-Caltech, Feb 22, 2017 (Illustration by NASA/JPL-Caltech)
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water -- key to life as we know it -- under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

How Antibiotic-Tainted Seafood From China Ends Up
on Your Table

Bloomberg Businessweek, Dec 15, 2016 (Photo by Forbes Conrad for Bloomberg Businessweek)

New, Space-Based View of Human-Made Carbon Dioxide

NASA/JPL-Caltech, Nov 1, 2016 (Credit: World Bank/Kim Eun Yeul)
Human carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning and other sources have been mapped from OCO-2's global dataset.

California Keeps On Farming, With or Without Water

By Justin Fox, Bloomberg, Oct 5, 2016 (Photo Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Risk of Big Earthquake on San Andreas Fault Rises
After Nearly 200 Quakes Hit Salton Sea

KTLA5/USGS, Sep 30, 2016
The rumbling started Monday morning deep under the Salton Sea. A rapid succession of small earthquakes — three measuring above magnitude 4.0 — began rupturing near Bombay Beach, continuing for more than 24 hours. Before the swarm started to fade, more than 200 earthquakes had been recorded.

15 Common Supplement Ingredients That Could Make You Seriously Sick
Prevention/Fox News, Sep 2, 2016

NASA Team Probes Peculiar Age-Defying Star

NASA/JPL-Caltech, Aug 29, 2016
Image: An age-defying star called IRAS 19312+1950 exhibits features characteristic of a very young star and a very old star. It is the bright red star at the center of this image.

For years, astronomers have puzzled over a massive star lodged deep in the Milky Way that shows conflicting signs of being extremely old and extremely young. Researchers initially classified the star as elderly, perhaps a red supergiant. But a new study by a NASA-led team of researchers suggests that the object, labeled IRAS 19312+1950, might be something quite different -- a protostar, a star still in the making.

Seven Cool Things to See at LA's Griffith Observatory

By Sophia Stuart,, Aug 22, 2016
The Griffith Observatory is the most iconic building in Los Angeles, perched high in the Hollywood Hills, 1,134 feet above sea level. There are breathtaking views of the city from its wraparound terraces, particularly at night, its 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope looking up at the heavens.

Cloudy Days on Exoplanets May Hide Atmospheric Water

NASA/JPL-Caltech, June 8, 2016
Hot Jupiters, exoplanets around the same size as Jupiter that orbit very closely to their stars, often have cloud or haze layers in their atmospheres. This may prevent space telescopes from detecting atmospheric water that lies beneath the clouds, according to a study in the Astrophysical Journal.

New Maps Chart Greenland Glaciers' Melting Risk

NASA/JPL-Calech, April 21, 2016 (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ian Fenty)
The new maps show that the seafloor under Store Glacier, shown here, is almost 2,000 feet (600 meters) deeper than previously thought.

NASA Study Solves Two Mysteries About Wobbling Earth

NASA/JPL-Caltech, April 8, 2016
Earth does not always spin on an axis running through its poles. Instead, it wobbles irregularly over time, drifting toward North America throughout most of the 20th Century (green arrow). That direction has changed drastically due to changes in water mass on Earth.

Astronomers Discover Colossal 'Super Spiral' Galaxies

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SDSS, March 17, 2016
In archived NASA data, researchers have discovered "super spiral" galaxies that dwarf our own spiral galaxy, the Milky Way, and compete in size and brightness with the largest galaxies in the universe.

Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years After
Einstein's Prediction

NASA/JPL-Caltech, Feb 11, 2016
(Image: An artist's impression of gravitational waves generated by binary neutron stars,
R. Hurt/Caltech-JPL)

LIGO opens new window on the universe with observation of gravitational waves from colliding black holes. For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

NASA Space Telescopes See Magnified Image of
Faintest Galaxy from Early Universe

NASA/JPL-Caltech, Dec 3, 2015
(Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)

Astronomers harnessing the combined power of NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes have found the faintest object ever seen in the early universe.
It existed about 400 million years after the big bang, 13.8 billion years ago.
This is a Hubble Space Telescope view of a very massive cluster of galaxies, MACS J0416.1-2403, located roughly 4 billion light-years away and weighing as much as a million billion suns. The cluster's immense gravitational field magnifies the image of galaxies far behind it, in a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. The inset is an image of an extremely faint and distant galaxy that existed only 400 million years after the big bang. It was discovered by Hubble and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The gravitational lens makes the galaxy appear 20 times brighter than normal. The galaxy is comparable in size to the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a diminutive satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. It is rapidly making stars at a rate ten times faster than the LMC. This might be the growing core of what was to eventually evolve into a full-sized galaxy.

Whopping Galaxy Cluster Spotted with Help of
NASA Telescopes

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Gemini/CARMA, Nov 3, 2015
Astronomers have discovered a giant gathering of galaxies in a very remote part of the universe, thanks to NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). The galaxy cluster, located 8.5 billion light-years away, is the most massive structure yet found at such great distances.

Closest Northern Views of Saturn's Moon Enceladus

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute, Oct 15, 2015
NASA's Cassini spacecraft zoomed by Saturn's icy moon Enceladus on Oct. 14, 2015, capturing this stunning image of the moon's north pole.

NASA: Background Ozone a Major Issue in U.S. West

NASA/JPL-Caltech, Sep 29, 2015
In parts of Northern California, background ozone levels already account for more than three-quarters of total ozone, leaving little room for local ozone production if stricter standards go into effect.

NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on
Today's Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona, Sep 28, 2015
Image: Dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes such as these at Hale Crater are inferred to be formed by seasonal flow of water on contemporary Mars.
The streaks are roughly the length of a football field.

New findings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.

The Fact and Fiction of Martian Dust Storms

NASA, Sep 18, 2015

Pluto’s Majestic Mountains, Frozen Plains and Foggy Hazes

NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Inst., Sep 17, 2015

Funky Light Signal From Colliding Black Holes Explained

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Columbia University, Sep 16, 2015
Entangled by gravity and destined to merge, two candidate black holes in a distant galaxy appear to be locked in an intricate dance. Researchers using data from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have come up with the most compelling confirmation yet for the existence of these merging black holes and have found new details about their odd, cyclical light signal.

Cassini Finds Global Ocean in Saturn's Moon Enceladus

NASA/JPL-Caltech, Sep 15, 2015
A global ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Saturn's geologically active moon Enceladus, according to new research using data from NASA's Cassini mission.

NASA Telescopes Find Galaxy Cluster with Vibrant Heart

NASA/STScI/ESA/JPL-Caltech/McGill, Sep 10, 2015
Astronomers have discovered a rare beast of a galaxy cluster whose heart is bursting with new stars. The unexpected find, made with the help of NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes, suggests that behemoth galaxies at the cores of these massive clusters can grow significantly by feeding off gas stolen from another galaxy.

Ocean Rising...

NASA/JPL-Caltech, Aug 26, 2015 (Image Credit: Franklin O'Donnell)
Seas around the world have risen an average of nearly 3 inches (8 centimeters) since 1992, with some locations rising more than 9 inches (25 centimeters) due to natural variation, according to the latest satellite measurements from NASA and its partners. An intensive research effort now underway, aided by NASA observations and analysis, points to an unavoidable rise of several feet in the future.

NASA: California Drought Causing Valley Land to Sink

NASA/JPL-Caltech, Aug 19, 2015
Image: Total subsidence in California's San Joaquin Valley for the period May 3, 2014 to Jan. 22, 2015, as measured by Canada's Radarsat-2 satellite
Credit: Canadian Space Agency/NASA/JPL-Caltech

A new NASA report shows land in California's San Joaquin Valley is sinking faster than ever as Californians continue pumping groundwater in response to the historic drought.

What makes a planet habitable?

BBC News, Aug 17, 2015
Water in liquid form is thought to be a necessity for life on Earth. Scientists are looking for more rocky worlds that could possibly retain liquid water on their surface.

City grime 'breathes back out' polluting nitrogen gases

By Jonathan Webb, BBC News, 17Aug2015
Image: German city of Leipzig; Thinkstock

Scientists say the grime which clings to urban surfaces "breathes out" nitrogen gases when hit by sunlight. The dark muck was known to absorb such gases from the air, but it appears the nitrogen does not stay locked away. In rooftop experiments in Germany, the researchers tracked the content of grime in both sunshine and shade. They say sunlit grime releases nitrogen in two forms: the toxic pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2), plus nitrous acid - a key driver of smog formation. The findings, presented at a conference of the American Chemical Society in Boston, were welcomed by pollution experts - and may explain a "missing" source of smog-producing gas in the skies of London.

Nature, Chinese Pollution Offset U.S. West Ozone Gains

NASA/JPL-Caltech, Aug 10, 2015 (Image Credit: Ray from LA/CC by 2.0)
A new study finds that the western United States reduced its production of ozone-forming pollutants by a whopping 21 percent between 2005 and 2010, but ozone in the atmosphere above the region did not drop as expected in response. The reason: a combination of naturally occurring atmospheric processes and pollutants crossing the Pacific Ocean from China.

Less Algae, Not Clearer Water, Keeps Tahoe Blue

NASA/JPL-Caltech, Jul 23, 2015 (Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Lake Tahoe's iconic blueness is more strongly related to the lake's algal concentration than to its clarity, according to research in "Tahoe: State of the Lake Report 2015," released on July 23 by the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) of the University of California, Davis. The lower the algal concentration, the bluer the lake.

NASA's Kepler Mission Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Ames Research Center, Jul 23, 2015
NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the "habitable zone" around a sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable-zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another "Earth." The newly discovered Kepler-452b is the smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the habitable zone -- the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet -- of a G2-type star, like our sun. The confirmation of Kepler-452b brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030.

Quieting down might save billions in heart disease costs
Reuters, Jun 5, 2015
In the loudest parts of the U.S., reducing hazardous noise levels - a risk factor for high blood pressure and heart disease - could save more than $3 billion annually, according to a new economic assessment.

The Deadliest Jobs in America
Bloomberg, May 13, 2015