Dark Matter Map in Galaxy Cluster Abell 1689 – Astronomy Picture of the Week 

This image represents the inner region of galaxy cluster Abell 1689 and the distribution of dark matter around it. Abell 1689 is an immense cluster of galaxies located 2.2 billion light-years away. Dark matter cannot be photographed, but its presence can be inferred by observing the light from background galaxies… Continue reading

AstroBlog Follow Friday & Weekly Stumbles For 2011-12-30 

No matter how exciting your plans are for New Year’s, two NASA spacecraft have you beat – they’ve got a date with the moon. After more than three months of spaceflight, NASA’s twin Grail probes are set to start orbiting the moon this weekend, with Grail-A arriving Saturday (Dec. 31) and Grail-B following on Sunday (Jan. 1). Continue reading

AstroBlog Follow Friday & Weekly Stumbles For 2011-12-23 

Astronomers on Tuesday (Dec. 20) announced the discovery of the first two Earth-size alien planets – a historic find for sure, but the newfound worlds didn’t exactly receive historic names. The two alien planets are officially known as Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, a nod to the instrument that detected them, NASA’s prolific Kepler space telescope. Continue reading

AstroBlog Follow Friday & Weekly Stumbles For 2011-12-09 

Excellent launch precision for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission has forestalled the need for an early trajectory correction maneuver, now not required for a month or more. That first of six planned course adjustments during the 254-day journey from Earth to Mars had originally been scheduled for 15 days after… Continue reading

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