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Astronomical Sciences (AST) Discoveries

NSF's public investment in science, engineering, education and technology helps to create knowledge and sustain prosperity. Read here about the Internet, microbursts, Web browsers, extrasolar planets, and more... a panoply of discoveries and innovations that began with NSF support.

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Photo of galaxy NGC 2770 showing location of star and lines from John Keats' poem. International Gemini Observatory Captures Birth of a Supernova
Stellar discovery marks a new epoc in astronomical research
Released  May 28, 2008
2007 In Review 2007: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported advances and activities reported last year
Released  January 30, 2008
Composite image of supernova remnant W49B showing a barrel-shaped nebula. Search Is on for Hot Young Stars
Long duration gamma-ray bursts allow astronomers to collect more information than ever imagined
Released  September 21, 2007
Photo of TW Hydrae Planetary Construction Zone?
Astronomers detect the beginnings of planet formation in a dusty disk surrounding a nearby star
Released  July 5, 2007
An artist's rendition of Altair, a star that spins so quickly it stretches at its equator. Gazing up at the Man in the Star?
Researchers take picture of the face of Altair, a first for a star like our own
Released  May 31, 2007
2006 in Review 2006: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported activities highlighted last year
Released  January 9, 2007
From Glitter to Glow, an animation depicting progressive steps in telescope data processing. Universe's Oldest Objects Emerge from the Background
Faint cosmic glow appears to be remnant radiation from first stars or black holes born in our universe
Released  December 18, 2006
The separation of luminous gas appears red, and dark matter appears blue. Astronomers 'See' the Invisible
First 'direct observation' sheds new light on dark matter
Released  August 21, 2006
This schematic view shows the outer rings of Saturn (top) and Uranus. A Blue Ring Around the Planet Uranus
Color is attributed to forces acting on dust
Released  April 6, 2006
Reverberating sound waves are about to tear this simulated star apart. Sound Waves Rock a Star to Death
New model explains sound before sight
Released  February 7, 2006
ESO artist's rendition of the newly discovered extrasolar planet Closer to Home
Discovery of small, rocky, extrasolar world suggests such planets may be common
Released  January 25, 2006
The Spiral Galaxy M51, with supernova. Teachers Strike Scientific Gold at Kitt Peak
Workshop participants take lucky images of a brand-new supernova
Released  August 26, 2005
Young man stands in front of a row of white telescopes. New Mexico Graduate Student Receives Costa Rica's Top Science Honor
At 26, Esteban Araya is the youngest person to ever receive the top science award from his native Costa Rica. A graduate student in astronomy at New Mexico Tech, Araya was honored for his research into the formation of massive stars.
Released  August 5, 2005
Star Kills Companion! Star Killed by Companion
Bizarre remains bear silent witness
Released  March 2, 2005
The expanding fireball. VLA Probes Secrets of Mysterious Magnetar
Radio telescopes monitor the expanding fireball from a supermagnetic neutron star
Released  February 18, 2005
Six SDI views of Saturn's moon Titan A New Camera for Extrasolar Planets
It hasn't found planets yet—but in its first year of operation, the instrument has already proved its worth
Released  January 31, 2005
Artist's conception of OGLE-TR-56b. Ogling Distant Stars
An NSF-funded project that monitors the brightness of stars has given astronomers a potent tool for discovering planets far beyond our part of the galaxy. We can expect to find more "exoplanets" in the decade ahead.
Released  August 9, 2004
comparison of our solar system with 55 Cancri system Distant Planetary System Has "Hometown" Look
After 15 years of observation and a lot of patience, the world's premier planet-hunting team found the first planetary system that reminded them of our home solar system.
Released  July 30, 2004

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