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In the News – Year 2017

12.06.17 – Found: Most Distant Black Hole
Scientists have uncovered a rare relic from the early universe: the farthest known supermassive black hole.

11.27.17 – All Missions On Board for NASA Heliophysics Research
Scientists have been studying the near-Earth environment for the better part of a century, but many mysteries – like where the energetic particles that pervade the area originate and become energized – still remain.

11.17.17 – Taking a Spin on Plasma Space Tornadoes with NASA Observations
Interplanetary space is hardly tranquil. High-energy charged particles from the Sun, as well as from beyond our solar system, constantly whizz by.

11.16.17 – NASA Detects Solar Flare Pulses at Sun and Earth
When our Sun erupts with giant explosions – such as bursts of radiation called solar flares – we know they can affect space throughout the solar system as well as near Earth.

11.15.17 – FIREBIRD II and NASA Mission Locate Whistling Space Electrons’ Origins
Scientists have long known that solar-energized particles trapped around the planet are sometimes scattered into Earth’s upper atmosphere where they can contribute to beautiful auroral displays.

11.14.17 – New NASA Mission Concept Aimed at Studying Why Planets Lose their Atmospheres
A team of NASA scientists want to use Earth as a laboratory to understand how planets lose their atmospheres and has proposed a mission that the agency recently selected as one of five for further consideration as a possible NASA Explorer mission.

11.13.17 – Hitomi Mission Glimpses Cosmic ‘Recipe’ for the Nearby Universe
Before its brief mission ended unexpectedly in March 2016, Japan’s Hitomi X-ray observatory captured exceptional information about the motions of hot gas in the Perseus galaxy cluster.

11.08.17 – Parker Solar Probe Comes to NASA Goddard for Testing
On Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, NASA's Parker Solar Probe spacecraft arrived at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for environmental tests.

11.03.17 – Return of the Comet: 96P Spotted by ESA, NASA Satellites
The ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA mission SOHO – short for Solar and Heliospheric Observatory – got a visit from an old friend this week when comet 96P entered its field of view on Oct. 25, 2017.

11.02.17 – Atmospheric Beacons Guide NASA Scientists in Search for Life
Some exoplanets shine brighter than others in the search for life beyond the solar system. New NASA research proposes a novel approach to sniffing out exoplanet atmospheres.

10.30.17 – NuSTAR Probes Black Hole Jet Mystery
Black holes are famous for being ravenous eaters, but they do not eat everything that falls toward them.

10.27.17 – September 2017’s Intense Solar Activity Viewed From Space
September 2017 saw a spate of solar activity, with the Sun emitting 27 M-class and four X-class flares and releasing several powerful coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, between Sept. 6-10.

10.19.17 – New NASA Study Improves Search for Habitable Worlds
New NASA research is helping to refine our understanding of candidate planets beyond our solar system that might support life.

10.18.17 – NASA’s ICON Explores the Boundary Between Earth and Space
On Dec. 8, 2017 [Ed. note: the launch date has been scheduled for June 15, 2018], NASA launches the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, a low-Earth orbiting satellite that will give us new information about how Earth’s atmosphere interacts with near-Earth space – a give-and-take that plays a major role in the safety of our satellites and reliability of communications signals.

10.13.17 – NASA Sounding Rocket Instrument Spots Signatures of Long-Sought Small Solar Flares
Like most solar sounding rockets, the second flight of the FOXSI instrument – short for Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager – lasted 15 minutes, with just six minutes of data collection.

10.03.17 – Parker Solar Probe Gets Visit From Namesake
Eugene N. Parker, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, today visited the spacecraft that bears his name: NASA’s Parker Solar Probe.

09.26.17 – Parker Solar Probe Gets Its Revolutionary Heat Shield
On Sept. 25, 2017, media were invited to see NASA’s Parker Solar Probe in its flight configuration at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, where it is being built.

09.21.17 – NASA, JAXA Reaffirm Cooperation in Space Exploration
NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will work together on three groundbreaking science missions to explore the moons of Mars, further study the atmosphere of the Sun, and research dark matter and the evolution of the universe.

09.20.17 – Media Invited to View NASA Spacecraft That Will Touch Our Sun
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will be humanity’s first-ever mission to explore the Sun’s outer atmosphere. Media are invited to see the spacecraft and learn about the mission from noon to 2 p.m. EDT Monday, Sept. 25, at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, where the probe is being built.

09.11.17 – Sun Erupts With Significant Flare
The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 12:06 p.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2017. NASA›s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event.

09.06.17 – Keep Your Eclipse Glasses to See the Sun’s ‘Freckles’
You don’t have to wait on the next eclipse for another cool opportunity to look at the Sun – our nearest star puts on quite the show of its own without the help of the Moon.

09.05.17 – NASA’s SDO Captures Image of Mid-level Flare
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 4:33 pm EDT on Sept. 4, 2017. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event.

09.01.17 – ACE Celebrates 20 Years of Solar Wind, Cosmic Ray Discoveries
Two decades ago it would have been difficult to imagine just how many pivotal discoveries would be in the cards for NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer, or ACE.

09.01.17 – NASA’s Van Allen Probes Survive Extreme Radiation Five Years On
Most satellites, not designed to withstand high levels of particle radiation, wouldn’t last a day in the Van Allen Radiation belts. Trapped by Earth’s magnetic field into two giant belts around the planet, high-energy particles in the region can batter the spacecraft and even interfere with onboard electronics.

08.25.17 – Simulations Reveal Mysteries of the Solar Cycle
Although much has been discovered about our Sun and its constantly erupting surface, scientists are turning to simulations created on Pleiades, NASA’s fastest supercomputer, to better understand the Sun’s ever-evolving magnetic field and how it affects the solar cycle, which produces solar flares.

08.23.17 – Hinode Satellite Captures Powerful Aug. 21 Eclipse Images, Video
As millions of Americans watched the total solar eclipse that crossed the continental United States Aug. 21, the international Hinode solar observation satellite captured its own images of the awe-inspiring natural phenomenon as it orbited the planet.

08.17.17 – Greatest Eclipse and Greatest Duration: What’s the Difference?
During the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, the Moon’s shadow will cross the United States from Oregon to South Carolina in just an hour and a half.

08.15.17 – NASA, ESA Spacecraft Track Solar Storm Through Space
Our Sun is active: Not only does it release a constant stream of material, called the solar wind, but it also lets out occasional bursts of faster-moving material, known as coronal mass ejections, or CMEs.

08.14.17 – Aug. 21 Eclipse: Up Close and Personal with NASA
NASA will provide the public an unprecedented front row seat of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse via a live television broadcast, images and streaming video.

08.14.17 – Studying the Sun’s Atmosphere with the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017
A total solar eclipse happens somewhere on Earth about once every 18 months. But because Earth’s surface is mostly ocean, most eclipses are visible over land for only a short time, if at all.

08.11.17 – Sun Erupts With Significant Flare
The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 12:06 p.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2017. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event.

08.11.17 – NASA Watches the Sun Put a Stop to Its Own Eruption
On Sept. 30, 2014, multiple NASA observatories watched what appeared to be the beginnings of a solar eruption. A filament – a serpentine structure consisting of dense solar material and often associated with solar eruptions – rose from the surface, gaining energy and speed as it soared.

08.10.17 – Day to Night and Back Again: Earth’s Ionosphere During the Total Solar Eclipse
On Aug. 21, 2017, the Moon will slide in front of the Sun and for a brief moment, day will melt into a dusky night. Moving across the country, the Moon’s shadow will block the Sun’s light, and weather permitting, those within the path of totality will be treated to a view of the Sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona.

08.04.17 – NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite Passes Critical Review
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has moved one step closer to launch after successfully passing its Systems Integration Review (SIR), an independent review from independent technical and scientific experts who have deemed the mission ready to begin installation of its scientific instrument onto the spacecraft.

08.04.17 – Two Weeks in the Life of a Sunspot
On July 5, 2017, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory watched an active region – an area of intense and complex magnetic fields – rotate into view on the Sun.

07.31.17 – An Earth-like Atmosphere May Not Survive Proxima b’s Orbit
Proxima b, an Earth-size planet right outside our solar system in the habitable zone of its star, may not be able to keep a grip on its atmosphere, leaving the surface exposed to harmful stellar radiation and reducing its potential for habitability.

07.28.17 – NASA Selects Proposals to Study Sun, Space Environment
NASA has selected nine proposals under its Explorers Program that will return transformational science about the Sun and space environment and fill science gaps between the agency’s larger missions; eight for focused scientific investigations and one for technological development of instrumentation.

07.25.17 – Large, Distant Comets More Common Than Previously Thought
Comets that take more than 200 years to make one revolution around the Sun are notoriously difficult to study. Because they spend most of their time far from our area of the solar system, many “long-period comets” will never approach the Sun in a person’s lifetime.

07.24.17 – NASA Mission Surfs through Waves in Space to Understand Space Weather
The space surrounding our planet is full of restless charged particles and roiling electric and magnetic fields, which create waves around Earth.

07.17.17 – NASA Neutron Star Mission Begins Science Operations
NASA’s new Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) mission to study the densest observable objects in the universe has begun science operations.

07.17.17 – NASA-funded Citizen Science Project Discovers New Brown Dwarf
One night three months ago, Rosa Castro finished her dinner, opened her laptop, and uncovered a novel object that was neither planet nor star.

07.12.17 – NASA’s SDO Watches a Sunspot Turn Toward Earth
An active region on the sun – an area of intense and complex magnetic fields – has rotated into view on the sun and seems to be growing rather quickly in this video captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory between July 5-11, 2017.

07.11.17 – Hidden Stars May Make Planets Appear Smaller
In the search for planets similar to our own, an important point of comparison is the planet’s density. A low density tells scientists a planet is more likely to be gaseous like Jupiter, and a high density is associated with rocky planets like Earth.

06.22.17 – Scientists Uncover Origins of the Sun’s Swirling Spicules
At any given moment, as many as 10 million wild jets of solar material burst from the sun’s surface. They erupt as fast as 60 miles per second, and can reach lengths of 6,000 miles before collapsing.

06.21.17 – NASA Prepares for Aug. 21 Total Solar Eclipse with Live Coverage, Safety Information
For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will occur across the entire continental United States, and NASA is preparing to share this experience of a lifetime on Aug. 21.

06.13.17 – NuSTAR’s First Five Years in Space
Five years ago, on June 13, 2012, Caltech’s Fiona Harrison, principal investigator of NASA’s NuSTAR mission, watched with her team as their black-hole-spying spacecraft was launched into space aboard a rocket strapped to the belly of an aircraft.

06.06.17 – Flares May Threaten Planet Habitability Near Red Dwarfs
Cool dwarf stars are hot targets for exoplanet hunting right now. The discoveries of planets in the habitable zones of the TRAPPIST-1 and LHS 1140 systems, for example, suggest that Earth-sized worlds might circle billions of red dwarf stars, the most common type of star in our galaxy.

06.05.17 – NASA’s Asteroid-Hunting Spacecraft a Discovery Machine
NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission has released its third year of survey data, with the spacecraft discovering 97 previously unknown celestial objects in the last year.

06.01.17 – NASA to Launch First-Ever Neutron-Star Mission
Nearly 50 years after British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell discovered the existence of rapidly spinning neutron stars, NASA will launch the world’s first mission devoted to studying these unusual objects.

05.31.17 – NASA Renames Solar Probe Mission to Honor Pioneering Physicist Eugene Parker
NASA has renamed the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft – humanity’s first mission to a star, which will launch in 2018 – as the Parker Solar Probe in honor of astrophysicist Eugene Parker.

05.26.17 – NASA to Make Announcement About First Mission to Touch Sun
NASA will make an announcement about the agency’s first mission to fly directly into our sun’s atmosphere during an event at 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, May 31, from the University of Chicago’s William Eckhardt Research Center Auditorium.

05.26.17 – New NASA Mission to Study Mysterious Neutron Stars, Aid in Deep Space Navigation
A new NASA mission is headed for the International Space Station next month to observe one of the strangest observable objects in the universe.

05.26.17 – NASA’s SDO Sees Partial Eclipse in Space
On May 25, 2017, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, saw a partial solar eclipse in space when it caught the moon passing in front of the sun.

05.23.17 – CLASP Sounding Rocket Mission Opens New Research Window in Solar Physics
A team of NASA scientists and international partners used data from the high-precision science instrument CLASP — the Chromospheric Lyman-Alpha Spectro-Polarimeter — to provide the first-ever polarization measurements of ultraviolet light emitted from the sun’s outer atmosphere.

05.18.17 – NASA Mission Uncovers Dance of Electrons in Space
You can’t see them, but swarms of electrons are buzzing through the magnetic environment – the magnetosphere – around Earth.

05.17.17 – Space Weather Events Linked to Human Activity
Our Cold War history is now offering scientists a chance to better understand the complex space system that surrounds us.

05.17.17 – NASA’s Van Allen Probes Spot Man-Made Barrier Shrouding Earth
Humans have long been shaping Earth’s landscape, but now scientists know we can shape our near-space environment as well.

05.09.17 – Merging Galaxies Have Enshrouded Black Holes
Black holes get a bad rap in popular culture for swallowing everything in their environments.

05.08.17 – Space Weather Model Simulates Solar Storms From Nowhere
Our ever-changing sun continuously shoots solar material into space.

04.26.17 – Scientists Propose Mechanism to Describe Solar Eruptions of All Sizes
From long, tapered jets to massive explosions of solar material and energy, eruptions on the sun come in many shapes and sizes.

04.25.17 – Taking AIM at Night-Shining Clouds: 10 Years, 10 Science Highlights
Launched on April 25, 2007, NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, or AIM, mission, has provided a wealth of new science on the dynamics and composition of Earth’s upper atmosphere.

04.24.17 – NASA’s Cassini, Voyager Missions Suggest New Picture of Sun’s Interaction with Galaxy
New data from NASA’s Cassini mission, combined with measurements from the two Voyager spacecraft and NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, suggests that our sun and planets are surrounded by a giant, rounded system of magnetic field from the sun – calling into question the alternate view of the solar magnetic fields trailing behind the sun in the shape of a long comet tail.

04.19.17 – Living With a Star: NASA and Partners Survey Space Weather Science
NASA has long been a leader in understanding the science of space weather, including research into the potential for induced electrical currents to disrupt our power systems.

04.10.17 – Solar Storms Can Drain Electrical Charge Above Earth
New research on solar storms finds that they not only can cause regions of excessive electrical charge in the upper atmosphere above Earth’s poles, they also can do the exact opposite: cause regions that are nearly depleted of electrically charged particles.

04.03.17 – NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory Captured Trio of Solar Flares Aril 2-3
The sun emitted a trio of mid-level solar flares on April 2-3, 2017.

03.31.17 – NASA Observations Reshape Basic Plasma Wave Physics
When NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale – or MMS – mission was launched, the scientists knew it would answer questions fundamental to the nature of our universe – and MMS hasn’t disappointed.

03.30.17 – Waves on Sun Give NASA Insight into Space Weather Forecasting
Our sun is a chaotic place, simmering with magnetic energy and constantly spewing out particles.

03.27.17 – NuSTAR Probes Puzzling Galaxy Merger
A supermassive black hole inside a tiny galaxy is challenging scientists’ ideas about what happens when two galaxies become one.

03.27.17 – NASA Spacecraft Investigate Clues in Radiation Belts
High above Earth, two giant rings of energetic particles trapped by the planet’s magnetic field create a dynamic and harsh environment that holds many mysteries – and can affect spacecraft traveling around Earth.

03.23.17 – Andromeda’s Bright X-Ray Mystery Solved by NuSTAR
The Milky Way’s close neighbor, Andromeda, features a dominant source of high-energy X-ray emission, but its identity was mysterious until now.

03.22.17 – NASA’s SDO Sees a Stretch of Spotless Sun
For 15 days starting on March 7, 2017, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, returned visible light images of a yolk-like spotless sun.

03.20.17 – NASA’s Swift Mission Maps a Star’s ‘Death Spiral’ into a Black Hole
Some 290 million years ago, a star much like the sun wandered too close to the central black hole of its galaxy.

03.17.17 – NASA Satellites Ready When Stars and Planets Align
The movements of the stars and the planets have almost no impact on life on Earth, but a few times per year, the alignment of celestial bodies has a visible effect.

03.15.17 – 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.

03.15.17 – NASA’s Solarium Heads to the American Museum of Natural History
NASA’s Solarium invites visitors to get up close and personal with the sun on March 18, 2017, in celebration of Sun-Earth Day at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

03.02.17 – NASA Scientists Demonstrate Technique to Improve Particle Warnings that Protect Astronauts
Our constantly-changing sun sometimes erupts with bursts of light, solar material, or ultra-fast energized particles – collectively, these events contribute to space weather.

03.01.17 – NuSTAR Spots Temperature Swings of Black Hole Winds
For the first time, scientists have measured rapidly varying temperatures in hot gas emanating from around a black hole.

02.28.17 – NuSTAR Helps Find Universe’s Brightest Pulsars
There’s a new record holder for brightest pulsar ever found — and astronomers are still trying to figure out how it can shine so brightly.

02.21.17 – 10 Years Strong with NASA’s THEMIS Mission
On Feb. 17, 2017, NASA’s Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms, or THEMIS, mission marked its 10th anniversary in space.

02.15.17 – NASA-funded Website Lets Public Search for New Nearby Worlds
NASA is inviting the public to help search for possible undiscovered worlds in the outer reaches of our solar system and in neighboring interstellar space.

02.13.17 – After 15 years, SABER on TIMED Still Breaks Ground from Space
About 21 years ago, team members started building and testing the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry, or SABER instrument.

02.11.17 – NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory: Year 7 Ultra HD (4k)
Published on Feb 11, 2017
The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has now captured nearly seven years worth of ultra-high resolution solar footage.

02.09.17 – NASA Spacecraft Prepares to Fly to New Heights
On Feb. 9, 2017, NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, known as MMS, began a three-month long journey into a new orbit.

02.03.17 – NOAA’s GOES-16 EXIS Instrument Observes Solar Flares
On January 21, 2017, the GOES-16 Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS) observed solar flares.

02.03.17 – Eclipse 2017: NASA Supports a Unique Opportunity for Science in the Shadow
The first total solar eclipse in the continental United States in nearly 40 years takes place on Aug. 21, 2017.

02.02.17 – NASA Scientist Studies Whether Solar Storms Cause Animal Beachings
A long-standing mystery among marine biologists is why otherwise healthy whales, dolphins, and porpoises – collectively known as cetaceans – end up getting stranded along coastal areas worldwide.

01.31.17 – NuSTAR Helps Solve ‘Rapid Buster’ Mystery
Scientists observing a neutron star in the “Rapid Burster” system may have solved a 40-year-old mystery surrounding its puzzling X-ray bursts.

01.26.17 – New Space Weather Model Helps Simulate Magnetic Structure of Solar Storms
The dynamic space environment that surrounds Earth – the space our astronauts and spacecraft travel through – can be rattled by huge solar eruptions from the sun, which spew giant clouds of magnetic energy and plasma, a hot gas of electrically charged particles, out into space.

01.24.17 – NuSTAR Finds New Clues to ‘Chameleon Supernova’
“We’re made of star stuff,” astronomer Carl Sagan famously said.

01.07.17 – Black Holes Hide in Our Cosmic Backyard
Monster black holes sometimes lurk behind gas and dust, hiding from the gaze of most telescopes.

01.06.17 – The Case of the ‘Missing Link’ Neutron Star
Like anthropologists piecing together the human family tree, astronomers have found that a misfit “skeleton” of a star may link two different kinds of stellar remains.

01.04.17 – TIMED Marches On: Watching the Upper Atmosphere for 15 Years and Counting
NASA’s TIMED mission – short for Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics – yielded a batch of new discoveries to end its 15th year in orbit.

01.03.17 – NASA Selects Mission to Study Black Holes, Cosmic X-ray Mysteries
NASA has selected a science mission that will allow astronomers to explore, for the first time, the hidden details of some of the most extreme and exotic astronomical objects, such as stellar and supermassive black holes, neutron stars and pulsars.