NASA announces that the Chandra X-ray Observatory and ground-based telescopes have discovered a massive supernova designated SN 2006gy, the largest ever recorded, and possibly a new type that has been predicted but never observed.
The newly detected â€˜kingâ€™ of supernovas might be evidence of a new way massive stars die.
- Space.com (Image)
- NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory confirms earlier observations by Indian Space Research Organisation's Astrosat space observatory of a rotating black hole in the binary star system 4U 1630-47, which is spinning close to the speed of light, one of the fastest ever observed.
- NASA announces the unusual gamma ray burst GRB 060218 that is not yet explained and may be a predecessor to a supernova. It was located 440 million light-years away and lasted for 33 minutes, closer and longer than any previous gamma ray burst.
- NASA's "Dawn" spacecraft exhausts all of its hydrazine fuel propellant and without a functioning maneuvering system enters into uncontrolled motion around dwarf planet Ceres, thus ending its 11-year mission.
- NASA's "Parker Solar Probe" spacecraft becomes the closest ever sent to the sun, by passing 42.7 million km (26.6 million miles) from the sun's surface. The previous record was set in 1976 by the "Helios 2" spacecraft. Parker's elliptical orbit will eventually take it to within 6.1 million km (3.8 million miles) of the sun.
- NASA announces that the "Kepler" spacecraft has expended all its fuel and will be retired after nearly 10 years of service, having found more than 2,600 exoplanets.