NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite has just completed its first survey of the entire sky viewable from Earth -- returning more than a million images that provide a zoomed-in look at celestial objects ranging from distant galaxies to asteroids.
First they gave us a high-res tour of Mars -- now Microsoft has made the largest and clearest night-sky map ever. It's a terapixel image: 1,000 000,000,000 pixels.
The software giant's Terapixel project stitched together 1,791 pairs of red-light and blue-light plates from telescopes in California and Australia. The result is the map above, which covers the night sky of the northern and southern hemispheres.
NASA scientists have figured out what temporarily knocked out the X-ray detector on the agency's Swift space observatory earlier this summer: the strongest blast of X-rays ever recorded from beyond the Milky Way slammed into Swift unexpectedly, overwhelming the detector and puzzling mission handlers for a moment. But good luck sending a bill to the culprit for time lost; the X-rays were spawned 5 billion years ago during the violent explosion of a massive star as it turned into a black hole.
The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission is poised for a flyby of asteroid 21 Lutetia, the largest asteroid to ever be visited by a spacecraft. On Saturday, July 10, Rosetta will skim past Lutetia at a speed of about 33,000 miles per hour, coming to within 1,965 miles of the asteroid.
The ESO's Very Large Telescope, with help from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, has found the most powerful pair of jets ever witnessed ejecting from a small, stellar-sized black hole. But while the black hole (by black hole standards, anyhow) is small enough to be classified a microquasar, the jets are anything but tiny, sufficiently powerful to spawn a giant, fiery gas bubble 1,000 light years across.
A 2-million-mile-per-hour collision in a galaxy cluster 54 million light years away has left us with this amazing image captured by NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) observatory. But aside from being cosmically stunning, the collision and ongoing observations of the star-spangled tail it produced should give astronomers a better grasp of the mechanisms behind star formation.
A $120 million Earth-based telescope using brand new adaptive optics just trumped Hubble's deep space image clarity three-fold, but such high tech optics aren't just reserved for high-dollar observatories. A breakthrough in deformable liquid mirror technology could drastically reduce the price associated with adaptive optics, making the best in high-tech telescopes more widely available.
The Large Binocular Telescope just got a new pair of eyes, and while we love our orbiting telescopes we have to admit the LBT looks pretty sharp. The Arizona-based telescope just brought home the clearest pictures of space ever taken from an Earth-based telescope -- images three times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope. Oh, and that's with only one of its two mirrors working.
After a good deal of hand-wringing and breath-holding, NASA engineers have finally brought the Solar X-Ray Imager (SXI) on the GOES-15 satellite (formerly called GOES-P) online, to return its first detailed images of the sun to Earth.