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Your online destination for news articles on planets, cosmology, NASA, space missions, and more. You’ll also find information on how to observe upcoming visible sky events such as meteor showers, solar and lunar eclipses, key planetary appearances, comets, and asteroids.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Black hole tidal disruption flares write their signature in cosmic dust

When a star passes close enough to a black hole, the black hole’s gravitational pull on the near side of the star can overcome the internal gravity holding the star together. The result is a stream of stellar matter spiraling toward the black h...

Here comes the Black Moon

The astronomical spotlight will shine on the Western Hemisphere as September winds down. But this spotlight defies convention, because it is defined by its very lack of illumination. The event is what some people call a Black Moon — the second ...
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sun spots may be tricking scientists

For millennia scientists and observers have learned from our Sun and other stars that move throughout the night sky. The life and death of stars teaches us about star formation, solar system formation and occasionally fills on those odds and ends que...

This star was so massive it ate itself before it could go supernova

A team of scientists may have confirmed the first failed supernova — and in the process witnessed the birth of a black hole. Caltech astronomer Scott Adams and his colleagues Christopher Kochanek, Jill Gerke, and Krzystof Stanek of Ohio St...

Elon Musk announces ambitious solar system colonization plans

At the International Astronautical Congress 2016, SpaceX founder Elon Musk outlined his ambitious plan for making humanity a multiplanet civilization. And as expected, his plan starts at Mars. "If we could warm Mars up, we'd have a thick atmosphere a...
Monday, September 26, 2016

Hubble finds more evidence of plumes on Europa

Hubble hasn’t found aliens on Europa, but it may have found new evidence that plumes of salt water from the moon’s globe-spanning salty ocean can escape through cracks in its icy shell. Using its Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STI...

The arrow of time? It's all in our heads

Have you ever wondered why we age and grow old? In the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Brad Pitt springs into being as an elderly man and ages in reverse. To the bafflement of scientists, the fundamental laws of physics ha...

Inside the historic mission

This article originally appeared in our April 2016 issue. The first dives to the dark and deep places of our planet revealed a moonscape. Beneath icy waters and far from the Sun’s nourishing light, the planet appeared dead. No plants. No phot...
Thursday, September 22, 2016

The strange chemistry that creates ‘impossible’ clouds on Titan

Strange chemistry may explain a seemingly impossible cloud in Titan’s upper atmosphere. Scientists looking through Cassini’s 2010 data recently noticed something strange in an infrared snapshot of Titan’s stratosphere: a wide, thin,...
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

This is where space blobs come from

A combination of observation and modelling sheds new light on how Lyman-Alpha blobs form and why they shine so brightly. Lyman-Alpha blobs are among the rarest denizens of the distant universe. They’re giant clouds of hydrogen gas spanning hund...

ESA releases striking new photos from Comet 67P

ESA has released a series of vivid images taken by its Rosetta probe of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko to the public. Rosetta is will be ending its mission on September 30 with a controlled crash onto the comet. There it will join Philae, the probe&...
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Researchers now know why some minor planets have rings

A team of researchers has discovered what causes the rings around two centaurs, minor planets that orbit the Sun between Jupiter and Neptune. The researchers used computer simulations to test what caused the rings, using factors such as tidal pull,...
Monday, September 19, 2016

Mathematical Model Explains Pluto’s Frozen Heart

Now we know why there’s a glacier deep in Pluto’s frozen heart. The 2.5 mile-deep, 650-mile wide slab of nitrogen ice covers the Sputnik Planum region of Pluto’s northern hemisphere. A new numerical model explains how the glacier, a...

Celestial navigation is returning to the Naval Academy cirriculum

The Navy is once again teaching celestial navigation as a back up in case GPS systems become unusable. Celestial navigation, sometimes referred to as astronavigation, is a way for a navigator to use celestial bodies and angular measurements to know ...
Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cosmic microwaves show reionization happened later than thought

New analysis of data taken by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Planck spacecraft of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) has revealed that the “epoch of reionization” occurred much later than previously thought. The universe was ...


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