NASA officials released a photo this week of a newly discovered galaxy which scientists have nicknamed the “UFO Galaxy” for its flying saucer-like appearance. Officially named NGC 2683, the galaxy is a spiral galaxy lined up so that the perspective from our solar system sees it almost from the side, making it look like a flying saucer. According to NASA, the galaxy was originally discovered way back in 1788, but the Hubble Telescope has captured the first images of the cosmic UFO, located some 35 million light years from Earth.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen this week unveiled artist renderings this week for a new, twin-fuselage airplane being developed by his commercial space travel venture, StratoLaunch. The plane will be powered by six Boeing 747 engines, have a wing span of 380 feet, and will be the largest airplane ever built. The airplane will carry rockets up to an altitude of 30,000 feet, where the rockets will fire and propel themselves into orbit, leaving the plane to return to Earth and await the next mission.
Earlier this month, a camera aboard Nasa's STEREO spacecraft recorded a wave of electrically charged material from the Sun blasting its closest neighbor, Mercury. Footage of the “coronal mass ejection,” as such events are known, was posted on YouTube, and has piqued the curiosity of alien hunters, who say the footage shows the CME uncloaking a spacecraft parked near Mercury.
NASA officials announced Tuesday that the first flight of its new astronaut ferrying vehicle, Orion, will take place in early 2014. The capsule will not be carrying any astronauts on its initial voyage, however, as the flight is simply a test flight in which the craft will make two highly elliptical orbits of the planet before re-entering the atmosphere and crashing into the ocean.
The Northern Lights, a spectacle normally only viewed in the Earth's Arctic region, made its way down to the southern United States this week, as residents of Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky reported seeing the majestic display Monday evening.
Who says astronomy is only for the brainiest scientists and academics? Since last December, when astronomers launched the Space Hunters project, 40,000 regular Internet users have been aiding scientists in going through images provided by the Kepler Space Telescope to analyze light from 150,000 stars in the hope of finding Earth-like planets. The Planet Hunters program is a collaboration between astronomers at Yale and Oxford Universities and the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.
NASA on Thursday said it has ruled out North and South America as possible landing sites for a dead satellite that is expected to fall to Earth sometime Friday afternoon. Before Thursday, only Antarctica had been ruled out as a possible landing zone for the 6-ton satellite that will break up into hundreds of pieces before striking the Earth. The agency has also narrowed down the time of its crash from a three-day window to sometime Friday afternoon, Eastern Time.
Roughly the size of a school bus, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, is expected to begin breaking up in the atmosphere on its way down, and most of the pieces are expected to burn up before reaching the ground. Scientists expect some 26 large metal chunks to stay in tact long enough to reach ground, with the largest being about 300 pounds.
NASA officials said on Monday that they expect a dead satellite to fall to the Earth sometime in the next week. The space agency has been tracking the 6.5 ton satellite for several weeks, and now expect the satellite to begin falling to the Earth on September 23rd, give or take a day. The agency's previous prediction called for impact a day later, and the original forecast offered a 3-week window between late September and early October. The object is expected to break into 26 pieces as it falls, officials said, and the odds of a piece falling onto a human are about 1 in 3,200.
The future of the International Space Station is very much in jeopardy after last week's accident with Russia's “Progress” Soyuz spacecraft. According to multiple reports, the ISS's 11-year run may come to an end in November if the safety of Russia's Soyuz vehicles, currently the only mode of transportation available to and from the station, cannot be assured.
Scientists have discovered the coldest star ever found, which has a temperature of just 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Stars are though of, of course, as intense, burning celestial bodies that produce temperatures of billions of degrees, but there are stars, known as brown Y dwarf stars, that have temperatures that would allow humans to actually stand on them.