Mysterious space object that defies our understanding of the universe may finally have an explanation, scientists reveal

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When NASA began 60 years ago, nosotros had questions well-nigh the universe humans had been request since we first looked up into the night sky. In the vi decades since, NASA, along with its international partners and thousands of researchers, have expanded our knowledge of the Universe past using a full fleet of telescopes and satellites. From the early probes of the 1950s and 1960s to the smashing telescopes of the 1990s and 21st century, NASA scientists accept been exploring the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang to the nowadays.

Pillars of Creation, Eagle Nebula, a cloud of gas and dust created past an exploding star from which new stars and planets are forming.
Image Credit: NASA/ ESA/The Hubble Heritage Team (STScl/Aura)

The Cracking Observatories

NASA astronomers use several kinds of telescopes in space and on the ground. Each observes targets like stars, planets, and galaxies, but captures different wavelengths of light using various techniques to add to our understanding of these catholic phenomenon.


Prototype Credit: NASA


Since it was launched in 1990, Hubble has forever changed our thought of what the universe looks like. It does not travel to stars, planets or galaxies, just takes pictures of them equally it whirls effectually Earth at about 17,000 mph.


Image Credit: NASA

Chandra 10-ray Observatory

The Chandra Ten-ray Observatory allows scientists from around the world to obtain X-ray images of exotic environments to assist understand the construction and evolution of the universe. X-rays are produced when matter is heated to millions of degrees. 10-ray telescopes tin can likewise trace the hot gas from an exploding star or detect 10-rays from matter swirling as close as 90 kilometers from the event horizon of a stellar blackness pigsty.


Epitome Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Spitzer Infinite Telescope

NASA’southward Spitzer Infinite Telescope, designed to detect primarily estrus or infrared radiation, launched in 2003. Spitzer’s highly sensitive instruments allow scientists to peer into cosmic regions that are hidden from optical telescopes, including dusty stellar nurseries, the centers of galaxies, and newly forming planetary systems. Spitzer’s infrared optics too permit astronomers to see cooler objects in space, like failed stars (brown dwarfs), exoplanets, giant molecular clouds, and organic molecules that may hold the underground to life on other planets.

Exciting Discoveries


Prototype of the baby universe 13.7 billion years created from WMAP data, showing differences in temperatures that became “seeds” for galaxies.
Image Credit: NASA

The Historic period of the Universe

The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite returned data that allowed astronomers to precisely assess the historic period of the universe to be 13.77 billion years quondam and to determine that atoms make up only per centum of the universe, with the remainder being dark thing and dark energy. Using telescopes like Hubble and Spitzer, scientists also now know how fast the universe is expanding.


These infinitesimal temperature variations (depicted here as varying shades of blue and royal) are linked to slight density variations in the early universe. These variations are believed to have given rise to the structures that populate the universe today: clusters of galaxies, equally well as vast, empty regions.
Paradigm Credit: NASA

How the Universe Began and Evolved

The Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), launched in 1989, studied the radiation still left from the Big Blindside to better understand how the universe formed. In 2006, John Mather of NASA and George Smoot of the University of California shared the Nobel Prize for Physics for confirming the Big Bang theory using COBE information.

Dark Matter

NASA telescopes take helped the states better understand this mysterious, invisible thing that is five times the mass of regular matter. The first straight detection of night thing was made in 2007 through observations of the Bullet Cluster of galaxies by the Chandra x-ray telescope.


Image Credit: X-ray NASA/CXC/University of Colorado/J. Comerford et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI

Blackness Holes

Although we tin can’t “see” black holes, scientists take been able to written report them past observing how they interact with the surroundings around them with telescopes similar Swift, Chandra, and Hubble. In 2017, NASA’s Swift telescope has mapped the death screw of a star as information technology is consumed by a blackness hole. This twelvemonth, astronomers using Chandra have discovered evidence for thousands of black holes located most the middle of our Galaxy galaxy.


Image Credit: Image Credit: NASA/ESA/G. Dubner (IAFE, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires) et al.; A. Loll et al.; T. Temim et al.; F. Seward et al.; VLA/NRAO/AUI/NSF; Chandra/CXC; Spitzer/JPL-Caltech; XMM-Newton/ESA; and Hubble/STScI

Crab Nebula

Prototype of the Crab Nebula, combining data from several telescopes. The Crab Nebula, the effect of a brilliant supernova explosion seen by Chinese and other astronomers in the yr 1054, is half dozen,500 light-years from Globe.


Image Credit: NASA/ESA/A.V. Filippenko (University of California, Berkeley)/P. Challis (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), et al.

A Bright Supernova

The explosion of a massive star blazes with the low-cal of 200 million Suns in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope epitome.



Spiral Milky way M101

Spiral Galaxy M101 viewed from three different NASA telescopes and kinds of light: Spitzer (infrared), Hubble (visible light), and Chandra (X-ray).


A galaxy is a huge drove of gas, dust, and billions of stars and their solar systems, held together past gravity. Some are spiral-shaped similar our Galaxy Galaxy; others are smooth and oval shaped. NASA telescopes are helping united states of america learn about how galaxies formed and evolved over time.


Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Due south. Beckwith (STScI)/HUDF Team

Thousands of Galaxies

Hubble Space Telescope movie showing thousands of galaxies. Even the tiny dots are unabridged galaxies.


Prototype Credit: NASA/ESA/M. Mutchler (STScI)

NGC 4302 and NGC 4298

Screw galaxy pair NGC 4302 and NGC 4298. Astronomers used the Hubble to take a portrait of a stunning pair of spiral galaxies. This starry pair offers a glimpse of what our Milky way galaxy would look like to an outside observer.


Just 30 years ago, scientists didn’t know if there were planets orbiting other stars as well our own Sunday. Now, scientists believe every star likely has at least one exoplanet. They come in a broad variety of sizes, from gas giants larger than Jupiter to small, rocky planets nearly as big every bit Globe or Mars. They tin can be hot enough to boil metal or locked in deep freeze. They tin orbit their stars and then tightly that a “year” lasts merely a few days; they tin even orbit 2 stars at once. Some exoplanets don’t orbit around a star, but wander through the galaxy in permanent darkness. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft and newly-launched Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite are helping the states find more distant worlds


Paradigm Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech


Kepler-186f, the kickoff rocky exoplanet to be establish within the habitable zone—the region effectually the host star where the temperature is right for liquid water. This planet is also very close in size to World. Even though we may not detect out what’s going on at the surface of this planet anytime soon, it’south a strong reminder of why new technologies are being developed that will enable scientists to become a closer look at distant worlds.


Paradigm Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

1 Pegasi b

ane Pegasi b. This giant planet, which is about half the mass of Jupiter and orbits its star every 4 days, was the beginning confirmed exoplanet around a sun-like star, a discovery that launched a whole new field of exploration.


Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech (artist concept)


Kepler-16b. This planet was Kepler’southward first discovery of a planet that orbits ii stars—what is known every bit a circumbinary planet.


Creative person’southward concept of TRAPPIST-one.
Image Credit: NASA


Using Spitzer, scientists constitute the most number of Earth-sized planets establish in the habitable zone of a single star, called TRAPPIST-1. This arrangement of seven rocky worlds–all of them with the potential for water on their surface–is an exciting discovery in the search for life on other worlds. In that location is the possibility that future written report of this unique planetary system could reveal conditions suitable for life.