What’s New – October, 2015

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Blue Skies and Water Ice on Pluto

The first color images of Pluto’s atmospheric hazes, returned by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft last week, reveal that the hazes are blue.


Pluto’s Blue Sky. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Read the full story from: New Horizons

Liquid Water Still Flows on Mars

New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.


Dark narrow streaks, hypothesized to be formed by flow of briny liquid water, emanate from the walls of Garni Crater on Mars, in this view constructed from observations by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Read the full story from: NASA

Curiosity Rover Team Finds Ancient Lake Bed on Mars

Using data from the Curiosity rover, the team has determined that, long ago, water helped deposit sediment into Gale Crater, where the rover landed more than three years ago. The sediment deposited as layers that formed the foundation for Mount Sharp, the mountain found in the middle of the crater today.


A view from the “Kimberley” formation on Mars taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover. The strata in the foreground dip towards the base of Mount Sharp, indicating flow of water toward a basin that existed before the larger bulk of the mountain formed. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Read the full story from: NASA

New Measurements of Pulsating Aurorae

Thanks to a lucky conjunction of two satellites, a ground-based array of all-sky cameras, and some spectacular aurora borealis, researchers have uncovered evidence for an unexpected role that electrons have in creating the dancing auroras.


Aurora from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Scott Kelly

Read the full story from: NASA

Strange Ripples Found in Planet Forming Disk

Astronomers are surprised to uncover fast-moving, wave-like features embedded in a planetary disk that are unlike anything ever observed, or even predicted.


This set of images of a 40-billion-mile-diameter edge-on disk encircling the young star AU Microscopii reveals a string of mysterious wave-like features. Credit for Top Panel: NASA, ESA, G. Schneider (Steward Observatory), and the HST GO 12228 team Credit for Bottom Panels: NASA, ESA, ESO, and A. Boccaletti (Paris Observatory)

Read the full story from: HubbleSite