Spaceflight Now: Breaking News
Sunday: June 11, 2000  0622 GMT
Hubble: Black hole finder
New results by a group of European and American scientists make it clear that the Hubble Space Telescope is nothing less than a true black hole finder.
Future X-ray telescopes may solve giant mysteries
Next generation orbiting X-ray telescopes should confirm whether gigantic black holes in the universe, some of which are thought to weigh as much as several billion stars.
Martian dust storm in Valles Marineris seen from above
NASA's orbiting Mars Global Surveyor captured a view of a dust storm within the Ius and Melas Chasms of the Valles Marineris trough system of the Red Planet.
Saturday: June 10, 2000  0517 GMT
Video vault: Rocketcams
Spaceflight Now presents a collection of video clips from onboard cameras carried aloft by rockets during recent launches. The cameras provide dramatic views as the unmanned boosters depart planet Earth.
Elusive 'hot bubble' found in planetary nebula
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has imaged for the first time a "hot bubble" of gas surrounding a dying, sun-like star. This large region of very hot gas in the planetary nebula BD+30 3639 has a peculiar shape and contains elements produced in the core of the dying star.
NASA probe explores 'Martian Monument Valley'
Like the world-famous Monument Valley located in the Navajo Nation on the border of Arizona and Utah, Mars Global Surveyor has captured an image of "Martian Monument Valley" consisting of a series of mesas and buttes formed by erosion of layered bedrock.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Plumbing the depths of Polaris with new telescope -- A team of astronomers used a new type of telescope to learn about the interior of the North Star, revealing that Polaris is 46 times larger than our own Sun.
Friday: June 9, 2000  0419 GMT
X-ray jet points toward cosmic energy booster
NASA's Chandra telescope has revealed a spectacular luminous spike of X-rays that emanates from the vicinity of a giant black hole in the center of the radio galaxy Pictor A. The jet streaks across hundreds of thousands of light years to an X-ray hot spot.
XMM-Newton uncovers a cluster of galaxies
Serendipity, or chance discovery, plays a big role in astronomy. Observing one celestial target astronomers often find, in a corner of their telescope's field of view, another interesting and perhaps unknown object. XMM-Newton has made one such discovery.
Mysterious gamma-ray star reveals clues to its nature
Astronomers have spotted the dance of what may be energetic protons or iron atoms in a strange and rare class of objects known as soft gamma-ray repeaters. This observation may prove these objects are highly magnetized neutron stars.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Meteorite challenges theory of when life started -- Brine-pocketed salt crystals within the Zag meteorite may be among the oldest materials found in the solar system. This surprisingly old age could spur scientists to speed up the prevailing scenario of the solar system's evolution, and opens the possibility that hospitable conditions for life might have arisen earlier than thought.

Controllers testing docking systems aboard space station -- International Space Station flight controllers are checking out the manual and automatic docking systems aboard the outpost in advance of the Zvezda service module's arrival next month.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Sun sends a cloud our way -- (BBC) The Sun has put up a spectacular display with two powerful, so-called X-class flares, going off in close succession from one active region on its surface. Astronomers believe that this month marks the peak of solar activity during the star's 11-year cycle of activity.

Globalstar letting Chase loan lapse, putting others on the spot -- (!) Globalstar isn't seeking to renew a key loan from Chase that expires at the end of June, leaving the cash-strapped satellite-phone company with one fewer source of financing.

Thursday: June 8, 2000  0450 GMT
Problem shuts down NEAR science instrument
One of NEAR Shoemaker's six scientific instruments has been turned off after the mission team detected a power surge in the device. The Near-Infrared Spectrometer inexplicably began drawing excessive current from the spacecraft's power supply and stopped sending data.
Chandra telescope catches cannibal galaxy in the act
An image from Chandra provides new insight into how the galaxy has grown by cannibalizing gas and other galaxies in the vicinity. For the first time astronomers see an X-ray shadow cast by a smaller galaxy as its gas is being stripped away by the enormous central galaxy.
Perseus A
Weighing the Universe with 100,000 galaxies
The largest survey of galaxies ever conducted has resulted in the most spectacular three-dimensional map of the Universe to date. An international team of astronomers completed a two-year survey of 100,000 galaxies -- four times more than the previous such survey.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Dwarf galaxy provides clues about early Universe -- A team of researchers has produced the first complete maps of carbon monoxide emission in the interstellar medium of a nearby dwarf irregular galaxy. These observations may provide a unique insight into the formation of stars in the early universe.

Nine Ariane 5 rockets ordered to support ISS -- The largest launch services contract in the history of Europe's space industry was signed Wednesday for nine firm Ariane 5 flights to carry the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).
Wednesday: June 7, 2000  1349 GMT
Air-launched Pegasus orbits U.S. Air Force mission
Orbital Sciences launched a Pegasus XL rocket at 1320 GMT (9:20 a.m. EDT) today off the coast of California, placing an experimental research satellite into orbit for the U.S. Air Force. See our Mission Status Center for on-going coverage of the launch.
TSX-5 patch
A compact nebula created by a shooting neutron star
In one of its most bizarre images yet, Chandra shows the details of a compact nebula that resembles a gigantic cosmic crossbow. The nebula, located in the Vela supernova remnant, is created as a rapidly rotating neutron star spins out rings and jets of high energy particles while shooting through space.
Hellish violence of neutron star explosions simulated
The most detailed computer simulations of X-ray bursts ever produced show fireballs piercing the atmosphere of a neutron star, shock waves racing across its surface at supersonic speeds and crashing sheets of lava splashing to heights of 9 miles.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Space observatories detect new type of stellar flare -- A group of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory, in concert with other telescopes, have directly detected for the first time a new type of stellar flare occurring in a narrow temperature range of gas on a star other than the sun.

NASA's ACTS technology mission comes to an end -- After 81 months of operations and far exceeding its planned 24-month mission, NASA's Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS) concluded its extensive experiments program last week.

Galileo making longest looping orbit around Jupiter -- NASA's Galileo space probe continues to cruise through space on the longest and largest orbit around Jupiter since its arrival in December 1995. The current orbit is 222 days long, and will reach 12.9 million miles away from Jupiter on September 8.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Clinton to end limits on Ukrainian space launches -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) President Clinton said Monday the United States would lift all restrictions on commercial launches of Ukrainian satellites and booster rockets.

Arianespace: No Soyuz rockets from Kourou -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) Arianespace has dropped as unprofitable the idea of launching Russian Soyuz rockets from its Kourou space center in French Guiana, a spokesman for the West European consortium said Tuesday.

Tuesday: June 6, 2000  0443 GMT
Chandra observes gas cloud powered by black hole
NASA's Chandra telescope has revealed that a large gas cloud is being blasted by X-rays from the vicinity of a giant black hole which lurks in its center. The observation shows the disruptive effects that a massive black hole can have over thousands of light years.
Black hole
Clues reveal likely origin of comet Hale-Bopp
Astronomers announced Monday they have detected argon, a scientifically valuable noble gas, in comet Hale-Bopp. The researchers now say the comet likely formed in the Uranus-Neptune zone of our solar system.
Proton rocket launches on crucial test flight
A Russian Proton rocket lifted off at 0259 GMT today featuring a new upper stage and improved engines. It will take the rocket several hours to deliver the Russian Gorizont 45 communications satellite into the proper orbit.
Precision measurements ordered for Delta 2 rocket
Boeing and the U.S. Air Force will forego a targeted launch date later this month while engineers continue efforts to understand why sections of a Delta 2 rocket won't fit together atop a Cape Canaveral pad.
Delta 2
Monday: June 5, 2000  2000 GMT
Pegasus XL rocket launch slips to Wednesday
Officials have postponed Tuesday's scheduled launch of an Orbital Sciences Pegasus rocket carrying a research satellite for the U.S. Air Force due to a technical problem.
TSX-5 patch
Black hole survey sheds light on galaxy formation
Astronomers are concluding that black holes weren't simply born big but instead grew on a measured diet of gas and stars controlled by their host galaxies in the early formative years of the universe.
Black hole
Hubble catches feasting black hole blowing bubbles
A monstrous black hole's rude table manners include blowing huge bubbles of hot gas into space. At least, that's the gustatory practice followed by the supermassive black hole residing in the hub of nearby galaxy NGC 4438.
New analysis sheds light on the origins of planet Earth
A new analytical method has resolved a longstanding scientific debate on the origins of Earth and the moon, researchers from the University of Michigan and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology report.

Earlier news
May 29-June 4: Compton Gamma Ray Observatory reenters; Atlantis lands; Jupiter's moon Io covered with volcanoes galore; Hubble peers into the heart of the Crab Nebula.

May 22-28: Atlas 3A rocket makes successful debut; Atlantis astronauts repair ISS; Chandra sees 1 million mph winds from black hole; 20,000 images added to Mars album.

May 15-21: Shuttle Atlantis launches to space station; Maiden Atlas 3A rocket delayed; Galileo sees volcanic displays on Io; Chandra provides evidence for vigorous starbursts.

May 8-14: Titan 4 rocket launches DSP missile-warning craft; Delta 2 rocket lofts GPS satellite; Hubble sees galactic silhouettes; Chandra witnesses birth of supernova.

May 1-7: Atlas rocket launches GOES-L weather satellite; Hubble finds much of universe's lost hydrogen; Mystery deepens around Martian organic matter; Io's volcanoes splatter dust into the solar system.

More news  See our weekly archive of space news.

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