Science Daily: Comets and Asteroids

Hubble spotlights a celestial sidekick

Technically, this picture is merely a sidekick of the actual object of interest -- but space is bursting with activity, and this field of bright celestial bodies offers plenty of interest on its own.

Minor planet named Bernard

A minor planet in the Solar System will officially be known as Bernardbowen from today after Australian citizen science project theSkyNet won a competition to name the celestial body.

Geology of Ceres illuminates origin of organics

NASA's Dawn spacecraft recently detected organic-rich areas on Ceres. Scientists evaluated the geology of the regions to conclude that the organics are most likely native to the dwarf planet. Data from the spacecraft suggest that the interior of Ceres is the source of these organic materials, as opposed to arriving via impacting asteroids or comets, according to a new article.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx takes its first image of Jupiter

This image was taken at 3:38 a.m. EST on Feb. 9, 2017, when the spacecraft was 75 million miles (120 million kilometers) from Earth and 419 million miles (675 million kilometers) from Jupiter. With an exposure time of two seconds, the image renders Jupiter overexposed, but allows for enhanced detection of stars in the background.

Kepler, don't give up on the hunt for exomoons

Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible for a planetary collision to form a moon large enough for Kepler to detect. Scientists conducted a series of around 30 simulations to explore how various factors affect moon creation.

Dwarf star 200 light years away contains life's building blocks

Many scientists believe the Earth was initially dry and that water, carbon and nitrogen -- the building blocks for life -- likely came as a result of collisions with objects that began their lives in the cold outer reaches of our solar system. Today, scientists report discovery of the existence of just such an object -- one that once orbited a neighboring star.

NASA spacecraft prepares to fly to new heights

NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale mission begins a three-month long journey into a new orbit, taking it twice as far out as it has previously flown, to areas where magnetic reconnection is thought to trigger auroras.

Ancient Earth as a model for studying hazy exoplanets

For astronomers trying to understand which distant planets might have habitable conditions, the role of atmospheric haze has been hazy. To help sort it out, a team of researchers has been looking to Earth - specifically Earth during the Archean era, an epic 1-1/2-billion-year period early in our planet's history.

Planets of red dwarf stars may face oxygen loss in habitable zones

Scientists are expanding the definition of habitable zones (the area around a star where a life-sustaining planet might lurk), taking into account the effect of stellar activity that can threaten exoplanets' atmospheres with oxygen loss.

Mysterious white dwarf pulsar discovered

An exotic binary star system 380 light-years away has been identified as an elusive white dwarf pulsar, the first of its kind ever to be discovered in the universe,

Algae survive heat, cold and cosmic radiation

In a long-term experiment on the International Space Station, researchers studied how the extreme conditions in space affect algae. These research findings could benefit industrial applications and perhaps a mission to Mars.

Black hole feeding frenzy discovered that breaks records

A giant black hole ripped apart a nearby star and then continued to feed off its remains for close to a decade, according to research. This black hole meal is more than 10 times longer than any other previous episode of a star’s death.

Evidence of 2 billion years of volcanic activity on Mars

Analysis of a Martian meteorite found in Africa in 2012 has uncovered evidence of at least 2 billion years of volcanic activity on Mars. This confirms that some of the longest-lived volcanoes in the solar system may be found on the Red Planet.

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