Space News

Current Pocket Stars Versions

Pocket Stars PDA current version: 6.1
For Windows Mobile Pocket PC. Click the link to download the latest version. V6.0 had a bug in the WorldPages. Please update to V6.1.
[7 Apr 2010]

Pocket Stars PC current version: 6.1
For Windows desktop and notebook computers. Click the link to download the latest version. V6.0 had a bug in the WorldPages. Please update to V6.1.
[7 Apr 2010]

Pocket Stars SP current version:
For Windows Mobile Smartphone. New features: 3D Orrery, Sloan Digital Sky Survey images, localized into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Russian, and English.
[29 Nov 2006]

Space Headlines

Sun: Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling
Recent images have revealed the emergence of small-scale magnetic fields in the lower reaches of the corona researchers say may be linked to the onset of a main flare.
[Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:53:26 EDT]

How a young-looking lunar volcano hides its true age
A young-looking volcanic caldera on the Moon has been interpreted by some as evidence of relatively recent lunar volcanic activity, but new research suggests it's not so young after all.
[Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:53:23 EDT]

Astronomers probe swirling particles in halo of starburst galaxy
Astronomers have used a radio telescope in outback Western Australia to see the halo of a nearby starburst galaxy in unprecedented detail.
[Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:49:09 EDT]

From the room next door to the next planet over
The new Albert Chadwick Research Room inside the Roberts Proton Therapy Center is no ordinary laboratory space. In fact, there’s nothing else quite like it anywhere else in the United States, and whether it’s treating patients with cancer or helping NASA with its plans to send astronauts to Mars, the discoveries that could propel scientists forward will happen right here.
[Mon, 27 Mar 2017 14:37:02 EDT]

Timing a space laser with a NASA-style stopwatch
To time how long it takes a pulse of laser light to travel from space to Earth and back, you need a really good stopwatch -- one that can measure within a fraction of a billionth of a second. That kind of timer is exactly what engineers have built at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2.
[Mon, 27 Mar 2017 14:28:13 EDT]

The electric sands of Titan
Experiments suggest the particles that cover the surface of Saturn's moon, Titan, are 'electrically charged.' When the wind blows hard enough, Titan's non-silicate granules get kicked up and start to hop in a motion. As they collide, they become frictionally charged, like a balloon rubbing against your hair, and clump together in a way not observed for sand dune grains on Earth -- they become resistant to further motion.
[Mon, 27 Mar 2017 13:12:53 EDT]

Stars born in winds from supermassive black holes
Observations using ESO's Very Large Telescope have revealed stars forming within powerful outflows of material blasted out from supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies. These are the first confirmed observations of stars forming in this kind of extreme environment. The discovery has many consequences for understanding galaxy properties and evolution.
[Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:46:04 EDT]

Planetary waves, first found on Earth, are discovered on sun
The same kind of large-scale planetary waves that meander through the atmosphere high above Earth's surface may also exist on the sun, according to a new study.
[Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:44:08 EDT]

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts
NASA's Van Allen Probes uncover new phenomena in our near-Earth environment with their unique double orbit. Recently, the spacecraft were in just the right place, at just the right time, to catch an event caused by the fallout of a geomagnetic storm as it happened.
[Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:42:52 EDT]

Astronomers identify purest, most massive brown dwarf
Astronomers have identified a record breaking brown dwarf (a star too small for nuclear fusion) with the 'purest' composition and the highest mass yet known. The object, known as SDSS J0104+1535, is a member of the so-called halo -- the outermost reaches -- of our galaxy, made up of the most ancient stars.
[Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:49:03 EDT]

Milky Way-like galaxies in early universe embedded in 'super halos'
Astronomers have directly observed a pair of Milky Way-like galaxies seen when the universe was only eight percent of its current age. These progenitors of today's giant spiral galaxies are surrounded by 'super halos' of hydrogen gas that extend many tens-of-thousands of light-years beyond their dusty, star-filled disks.
[Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:14:05 EDT]

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
Astronomers have uncovered a supermassive black hole that has been propelled out of the center of the distant galaxy 3C 186. The black hole was most likely ejected by the power of gravitational waves.
[Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:26:27 EDT]

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
Pushing the limits of the largest single-aperture millimeter telescope in the world, and coupling it with gravitational lensing, astronomers report that they have detected a surprising rate of star formation, four times higher than previously detected, in a dust-obscured galaxy behind a Frontier Fields cluster.
[Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:54:53 EDT]

New portal to unveil the dark sector of the universe
Once upon a time, the Universe was just a hot soup of particles. In those days, together with visible particles, other particles to us hidden or dark might have formed. Billions of years later scientists catalogued 17 types of visible particles, with the most recent one being the Higgs boson, creating the 'Standard Model'. However, they are still struggling to detect the hidden particles, the ones that constitute the dark sector of the Universe.
[Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:39:04 EDT]

Tracing aromatic molecules in the early Universe
A molecule found in car engine exhaust fumes that is thought to have contributed to the origin of life on Earth has made astronomers heavily underestimate the amount of stars that were forming in the early Universe, a study has found. That molecule is called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. On Earth it is also found in coal and tar. In space, it is a component of dust.
[Wed, 22 Mar 2017 15:27:50 EDT]

Upper part of Earth’s magnetic field reveals details of a dramatic past
Satellites have been mapping the upper part of the Earth magnetic field by collecting data for three years and found some amazing features about the Earth’s crust. The result is the release of highest resolution map of this field seen from space to date. This ‘lithospheric magnetic field’ is very weak and therefore difficult to detect and map from space. But with the Swarm satellites it has been possible.
[Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:28:34 EDT]

Fledgling stars try to prevent their neighbors from birthing planets
Stars don't have to be massive to evaporate material from around nearby stars and affect their ability to form planets, a new study suggests.
[Wed, 22 Mar 2017 11:09:50 EDT]

Universe's ultraviolet background could provide clues about missing galaxies
Astronomers have developed a way to detect the ultraviolet background of the universe, which could help explain why there are so few small galaxies in the cosmos.
[Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:24:11 EDT]

Comet 67P full of surprises: Growing fractures, collapsing cliffs and rolling boulders
Images returned from the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission indicate the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was a very active place during its most recent trip through the solar system, says a new study.
[Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:22:34 EDT]

Looking for signs of the Big Bang in the desert
The silence of an immense desolate land in which to search for reverberations coming from the time at which everything began. The Simons Observatory will be built in the Chilean Atacama desert at an altitude of several thousand meters for the purposes of studying primordial gravitational waves which originated in the first instants of the Big Bang.
[Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:39:10 EDT]

Does the universe have a rest frame?
Physics is sometimes closer to philosophy when it comes to understanding the universe. Physicists are now attempting to elucidate whether the universe has a resting frame.
[Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:25:45 EDT]

Comet 67P is constantly undergoing a facelift
Changes that the Rosetta spacecraft discovered on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, including the collapse of entire cliffs, were likely driven by seasonal events, according to a new study.
[Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:25:29 EDT]

When helium behaves like a black hole
A team of scientists has discovered that a law controlling the bizarre behavior of black holes out in space -- is also true for cold helium atoms that can be studied in laboratories. This finding may be a step toward a long-sought quantum theory of gravity and new advances in quantum computing.
[Tue, 21 Mar 2017 11:03:44 EDT]

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars
What sounds like a stomach-turning ride at an amusement park might hold the key to unraveling the mysterious mechanism that causes beams of radio waves to shoot out from pulsars -- super-magnetic rotating stars in our galaxy.
[Tue, 21 Mar 2017 11:03:23 EDT]

Breaking the supermassive black hole speed limit
A new computer simulation helps explain the existence of puzzling supermassive black holes observed in the early universe. The simulation is based on a computer code used to understand the coupling of radiation and certain materials.
[Tue, 21 Mar 2017 11:03:07 EDT]

Mars volcano, Earth's dinosaurs went extinct about the same time
Arsia Mons produced one new lava flow at its summit every 1 to 3 million years during the final peak of activity, about 50 million years ago. The last volcanic activity there ceased about 50 million years ago -- around the time of Earth's Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction, when large numbers of our planet's plant and animal species (including dinosaurs) went extinct.
[Tue, 21 Mar 2017 09:27:44 EDT]

Does Mars have rings? Not right now, but maybe one day
Researchers have developed a model that suggests that debris that was pushed into space from an asteroid or other body slamming into Mars around 4.3 billion years ago and alternates between becoming a planetary ring and clumping up to form a moon.
[Tue, 21 Mar 2017 09:27:34 EDT]

Finding the 'ghost particles' might be more challenging than what we thought
Results from the NEOS experiment on sterile neutrinos differ partly from the theoretical expectations.
[Tue, 21 Mar 2017 09:26:28 EDT]

Less radiation in inner Van Allen belt than previously believed
The inner Van Allen belt has less radiation than previously believed, according to a recent study. Observations from NASA's Van Allen probes show the fastest, most energetic electrons in the inner radiation belt are actually much rarer and harder to find than scientists expected. This is good news for spacecraft that are orbiting in the region and can be damaged by high levels of radiation.
[Tue, 21 Mar 2017 09:26:17 EDT]

NASA's Swift mission maps a star's 'death spiral' into a black hole
Astronomers measured the light produced when a sun-like star wandered too close to a 3-million-solar-mass black hole similar to the one at the center of our own galaxy.
[Mon, 20 Mar 2017 16:23:13 EDT]

Hubble's glittering frisbee galaxy
Hubble caught a cross-section of NGC 1448, a spiral galaxy located about 50 million light-years from Earth.
[Mon, 20 Mar 2017 12:03:52 EDT]

New Hubble mosaic of the Orion Nebula
In the search for rogue planets and failed stars astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have created a new mosaic image of the Orion Nebula. During their survey of the famous star formation region, they found what may be the missing piece of a cosmic puzzle; the third, long-lost member of a star system that had broken apart.
[Fri, 17 Mar 2017 14:05:44 EDT]

Eruptions on the sun trigger surprising phenomenon near Earth
Eruptions on the Sun's surface not only send bursts of energetic particles into the Earth's atmosphere causing disturbances in our planet's magnetic field, they can also strangely decrease the number of free electrons over large areas in the polar region of the ionosphere, new research concludes.
[Fri, 17 Mar 2017 13:20:43 EDT]

Astronomers observe a dying red giant star's final act
An international team of astronomers has observed a striking spiral pattern in the gas surrounding a red giant star called LL Pegasi and its companion star 3,400 light-years from Earth.
[Fri, 17 Mar 2017 13:16:13 EDT]

Scientists make the case to restore Pluto's planet status
Kirby Runyon wants to make one thing clear: regardless of what one prestigious scientific organization says to the contrary, Pluto is a planet. So, he says, is Europa, commonly known as a moon of Jupiter, and so is the Earth's moon, and so are more than 100 other celestial bodies in our solar system that are denied this status under the prevailing definition of 'planet.'
[Fri, 17 Mar 2017 13:12:05 EDT]

The rotation axes of stars tell us about how they were born
Using asteroseismology, an international research team has discovered a surprising alignment of the rotation axes of stars in open clusters, shedding light on the conditions in which stars are formed in our galaxy. Using data from Nasa’s Kepler mission, this result was obtained by studying a group of red giants in two old open clusters in the Milky Way.
[Thu, 16 Mar 2017 11:26:18 EDT]

Gigantic Jupiter-type planet reveals insights into how planets evolve
A team of astrophysicists studying an enormous and bizarre young planet approximately 300 lights years from Earth has gained a rare glimpse into the final stages of planetary evolution. While astronomers think the vast majority of planets outside our solar system are inside their star system's vast dusty debris disk, this strange planet is far beyond the disk.
[Thu, 16 Mar 2017 09:30:38 EDT]

Dark matter less influential in galaxies in early universe
New observations indicate that massive, star-forming galaxies during the peak epoch of galaxy formation, 10 billion years ago, were dominated by baryonic or 'normal' matter. This is in stark contrast to present-day galaxies, where the effects of mysterious dark matter seem to be much greater. This surprising result was obtained using ESO's Very Large Telescope and suggests that dark matter was less influential in the early universe than it is today.
[Wed, 15 Mar 2017 14:38:28 EDT]

Scientists identify a black hole choking on stardust
Scientists using the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASASSN) have identified a black hole, choking on stardust. Data suggest black holes swallow stellar debris in bursts.
[Wed, 15 Mar 2017 14:38:13 EDT]

Protostar blazes bright, reshaping its stellar nursery
New ALMA observations reveal that a massive protostar, deeply nestled in its dust-filled stellar nursery, recently roared to life, shining nearly 100 times brighter than before.
[Wed, 15 Mar 2017 12:56:12 EDT]

Relativistic electrons uncovered with NASA's Van Allen Probes
Earth's radiation belts, two doughnut-shaped regions of charged particles encircling our planet, were discovered more than 50 years ago, but their behavior is still not completely understood. Now, new observations from NASA's Van Allen Probes mission show that the fastest, most energetic electrons in the inner radiation belt are not present as much of the time as previously thought.
[Wed, 15 Mar 2017 12:55:33 EDT]

Starquakes reveal surprises about birth of stars in our galaxy
A study of the internal sound waves created by starquakes, which make stars ring like a bell, has provided unprecedented insights into conditions in the turbulent gas clouds where stars were born 8 billion years ago.
[Tue, 14 Mar 2017 14:14:35 EDT]

A perfect storm of fire and ice may have led to snowball Earth
What caused the largest glaciation event in Earth's history, known as 'snowball Earth'? Geologists and climate scientists have been searching for the answer for years but the root cause of the phenomenon remains elusive. Now, researchers have a new hypothesis about what caused the runaway glaciation that covered the Earth pole-to-pole in ice.
[Mon, 13 Mar 2017 16:08:13 EDT]

Radiation from nearby galaxies helped fuel first monster black holes
Researchers have shown how supermassive black holes may have formed in the early universe. They suggest that radiation from a neighboring galaxy could have shut down star-formation in a black-hole hosting galaxy, allowing the nascent black hole to rapidly put on weight.
[Mon, 13 Mar 2017 13:50:43 EDT]

Star discovered whipping around a black hole twice an hour
Astronomers have found evidence for a star that whips around a black hole about twice an hour. This may be the tightest orbital dance ever witnessed for a black hole and a companion star.
[Mon, 13 Mar 2017 13:49:32 EDT]

Looking for signs of the first stars
It may soon be possible to detect the universe's first stars by looking for the blue colour they emit on explosion.
[Mon, 13 Mar 2017 11:06:18 EDT]

New research on Northern Lights will improve satellite navigation accuracy
Researchers have gained new insights into the mechanisms of the Northern Lights, providing an opportunity to develop better satellite technology that can negate outages caused by this natural phenomenon.
[Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:24:07 EDT]

NASA's Kepler provides another peek at ultra-cool neighbor
On Feb. 22, astronomers announced that the ultra-cool dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, hosts a total of seven Earth-size planets that are likely rocky, a discovery made by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in combination with ground-based telescopes. NASA's planet-hunting Kepler space telescope also has been observing this star since December 2016. Today these additional data about TRAPPIST-1 from Kepler are available to the scientific community.
[Sun, 12 Mar 2017 10:41:48 EDT]

NASA Mars Orbiter tracks back-to-back regional storms
A regional dust storm currently swelling on Mars follows unusually closely on one that blossomed less than two weeks earlier and is now dissipating, as seen in daily global weather monitoring by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
[Sun, 12 Mar 2017 10:36:37 EDT]

Cassini reveals strange shape of Saturn's moon Pan
New images of Saturn's tiny moon, Pan, were taken on March 7, 2017, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. These images are the closest images ever taken of Pan and will help to characterize its shape and geology.
[Sun, 12 Mar 2017 10:32:46 EDT]

New NASA radar technique finds lost lunar spacecraft
A new technological application of interplanetary radar has successfully located spacecraft orbiting the moon -- one active, and one dormant. This new technique could assist planners of future moon missions.
[Sun, 12 Mar 2017 10:27:58 EDT]

Why the discovery of a bevy of quasars will boost efforts to understand galaxies' origins
Late last year, an international team including researchers announced the discovery of more than 60 extremely distant quasars, nearly doubling the number known to science - and thus providing dozens of new opportunities to look deep into our universe's history.
[Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:35:39 EST]

Hubble homes in on a hypergiant's home
This beautiful Hubble image reveals a young super star cluster known as Westerlund 1, only 15,000 light-years away in our Milky Way neighborhood, yet home to one of the largest stars ever discovered.
[Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:35:24 EST]

A new paradigm in parachute design
X-ray-based experiments will simulate -- in microscopic detail -- spacecraft parachute fabric performance in the extreme conditions of other planets' atmospheres.
[Fri, 10 Mar 2017 09:21:40 EST]

First public data released by Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program
The first massive data set of a 'cosmic census' has been released using the largest digital camera on the Subaru Telescope. With its beautiful images now available for the public at large, figuring out the fate of the Universe has come one step closer.
[Fri, 10 Mar 2017 08:42:34 EST]

Keeping liquids off the wall
On Earth, liquid flows downhill thanks to gravity. Creating an effective liquid fuel tank involves little more than putting a hole at the bottom of a container. That won't work in space, though. In microgravity, with no gravity to force liquids to the bottom of a container, they cling to its surfaces instead. The Slosh Coating investigation tests using a liquid-repellant coating inside a container to control the movement of liquids in microgravity.
[Thu, 09 Mar 2017 15:06:26 EST]

Hubble dates black hole's last big meal
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has found that the black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy ate its last big meal about 6 million years ago, when it consumed a large clump of infalling gas. After the meal, the engorged black hole burped out a colossal bubble of gas weighing the equivalent of millions of suns, which now billows above and below our galaxy's center.
[Thu, 09 Mar 2017 13:27:48 EST]

Could fast radio bursts be powering alien probes?
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence has looked for many different signs of alien life, from radio broadcasts to laser flashes, without success. However, newly published research suggests that mysterious phenomena called fast radio bursts could be evidence of advanced alien technology. Specifically, these bursts might be leakage from planet-sized transmitters powering interstellar probes in distant galaxies.
[Thu, 09 Mar 2017 12:04:19 EST]

Studying magnetic space explosions with NASA missions
Magnetic explosions happen constantly all across the universe, and new results with NASA's ARTEMIS mission help explain how near-Earth explosions convert energy into heat and propel particles toward Earth.
[Thu, 09 Mar 2017 12:04:16 EST]

New survey finds 'Peter Pan' radio galaxies that may never grow up
A team of astronomers has doubled the number of known young, compact radio galaxies -- galaxies powered by newly energized black holes. The improved tally will help astronomers understand the relationship between the size of these radio sources and their age, as well as the nature of the galaxy itself. In particular, it will help astronomers understand why there are so many more young radio galaxies than old.
[Wed, 08 Mar 2017 12:18:34 EST]

Nasa Headlines

NASA to Preview ‘Grand Finale’ of Cassini Saturn Mission
NASA will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. EDT Tuesday, April 4, at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, to preview the beginning of Cassini's final mission segment, known as the Grand Finale, which begins in late April. The briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
[Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:33 EDT]

NASA Announces Upcoming International Space Station Crew Assignments
Five NASA astronauts have been assigned to upcoming spaceflights. Joe Acaba, Ricky Arnold, Nick Hague, Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Shannon Walker all have begun training for missions launching later this year and throughout 2018.
[Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:13 EDT]

NASA Launches App for Amazon Fire TV
NASA has released its popular app for a new platform, Amazon Fire TV. This version joins previous releases of the app for iOS, Android and Apple TV devices
[Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:37 EDT]

NASA Unveils New Searchable Video, Audio and Imagery Library for the Public
NASA officially has launched a new resource to help the public search and download out-of-this-world images, videos and audio files by keyword and metadata searches from
[Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:15 EDT]

NASA Astronaut Jack Fischer Available for Interviews Before Space Station Mission
NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, who is making final preparations for an April 20 launch to the International Space Station, will be available for live satellite interviews from 8 to 9 a.m. EDT Tuesday, April 4.
[Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:06 EDT]

Wang Appointed to Head NASA’s Office of Communications
Jen Rae Wang has been selected by Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot as NASA's Associate Administrator for the Office of Communications. Wang joins NASA with more than a decade of experience at the highest levels of state and federal government in public, legislative, and media affairs both domestically and internationally, strategic communicati
[Mon, 27 Mar 2017 12:42 EDT]

NASA Selects Mission to Study Churning Chaos in our Milky Way and Beyond
NASA has selected a science mission that will measure emissions from the interstellar medium, which is the cosmic material found between stars.
[Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:51 EDT]

NASA Awards Facilities, Construction, Engineering, Technical Services Contract
NASA has awarded the Facilities, Construction, Engineering and Technical Services III Contract (FaCETS III) contract to PTSI Managed Services, Inc., of Pasadena, California, for infrastructure maintenance at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
[Thu, 23 Mar 2017 16:26 EDT]

NASA Updates Schedule for International Space Station Spacewalks
Expedition 50 astronauts will conduct up to three spacewalks outside the International Space Station (ISS) in late March and early April to prepare for the future arrival of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft and upgrade station hardware.
[Thu, 23 Mar 2017 16:18 EDT]

NASA to Host 2017 Human Exploration Rover Challenge
Media are invited to watch as nearly 100 high school and college teams from across the globe compete Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 during NASA’s Human Exploration Rover Challenge at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
[Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:53 EDT]