Hubble and Gaia Team Up to Measure the Mass of the Milky Way

The mass of the Milky Way Galaxy is a question that has long puzzled astronomers and astrophysicists. Estimates ranged from between 500 billion to three trillion times the mass of our Sun. A new study looked at globular clusters, groupings of a million or so stars surrounding the Milky Way. By measuring the velocity at which they circled our galaxy, as measured by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gaia Telescope, astronomers determined the Milky Way has a mass around one-and-a-half trillion times as great as our Sun.

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Hubble Reveals Origins of Hippocamp — The Tiny Moon of Neptune that Shouldn’t Be There

Hippocamp is one of the smallest, and darkest, moons of Neptune. Known to astronomers as “The Moon that Shouldn’t be There,” it orbits the giant planet at a distance so close to the larger moon of Proteus that it should have already been destroyed. Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope have now concluded that this tiny satellite, just 20 miles in diameter, broke off of its larger neighbor billions of years ago, following an impact with a comet. When Voyager 2 visited Neptune in 1989, it photographed a massive impact crater on Proteus, which is likely evidence of this ancient collision.

Read More Hubble Reveals Origins of Hippocamp — The Tiny Moon of Neptune that Shouldn’t Be There

NASA Readies Europa Clipper for First In-Depth Study of Jupiter’s Water Moon Europa

NASA is readying a new spacecraft, the Europa Clipper, for a journey to explore the giant water moon of Jupiter. Europa is believed to have oceans of liquid water deeper than any found on Earth, which are heated by bending and flexing as it orbits its massive companion. The spacecraft, due for launch in 2023, will carry instruments to measure the composition and condition of the oceans of Europa, as well as that world’s atmosphere, surface, and magnetic field. Astronomers believe that Europs may be one of the most likely places in the solar system to find alien life,

Read More NASA Readies Europa Clipper for First In-Depth Study of Jupiter’s Water Moon Europa

Hubble Discovers Dwarf Galaxy Playing ‘Where’s Waldo’ in Our Own Backyard

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope accidentally found a previously-unknown galaxy, 28 million light years from Earth. This family of stars was found while researchers photographed the globular star cluster NGC 6752. Dubbed Bedin 1, this small, dim galaxy is believed to be around 13 billion years old, leading astronomers to describe it as a “living fossil” of the ancient Universe.

Read More Hubble Discovers Dwarf Galaxy Playing ‘Where’s Waldo’ in Our Own Backyard

Hubble Space Telescope Camera Fails and Government Shutdown Prevents Repairs

The Hubble Space Telescope suffered a major setback as a primary instrument, the Wide Field Camera 3, failed on January 8th. This is one of two main cameras aboard the orbiting telescope, and was installed by astronauts in 2009. Backup equipment aboard Hubble might be able to revive the telescope, but engineers are not at work during a partial shutdown of the federal government. Repairs to the Hubble are unlikely to happen until the government reopens.

Read More Hubble Space Telescope Camera Fails and Government Shutdown Prevents Repairs

Hubble Space Telescope Shut Down Following Equipment Failure

The Hubble Space Telescope has been shut down temporarily following the failure of one gyroscope and unexpected behavior from a backup system. These units are used to properly orient the orbiting observatory to its desired target. NASA officials hope to get the system back online soon, restoring full capability to the 28-year-old telescope. If this proves impossible, the HST can operate in a limited capacity using only one of the remaining gyroscopes.

Read More Hubble Space Telescope Shut Down Following Equipment Failure