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News

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.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

25 things to bring to the eclipse

I drew up this list for people who will be traveling to see the eclipse but won’t be part of an organized travel group. You might be planning to observe the eclipse alone, with friends or family, or at a public event. I wanted to provide a chec...

Juno results offer tantalizing hints of Jupiter’s secrets

The first results from Juno’s brush with Jupiter reveal swarms of cyclones, massive ammonia plumes and complex interactions between a turbulent magnetic field and powerful streams of electrons. The findings are published today in Science and Ge...

A star turned into a black hole before Hubble’s very eyes

When a massive star expends its fuel, its core collapses into a dense object and sends the rest of its gas outward in an event called a supernova. What’s left is mostly neutron stars or black holes. And now, Hubble seems to have seen a supernov...
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rocketing off to (cyber) space

This article originally appeared in our February 2017 issue of Astronomy. Virtual reality is finally entering prime time. And that’s good news for astronomy junkies. You can explore Mars, manipulate the solar system, experiment with orbital...

NASA’s mission to a planetary core has been moved up

NASA’s Discovery mission to a smashed protoplanet core will reach its target four years early after a new launch date. Instead of launching in 2023, the craft will now in launch in 2022 and will reach its target, the asteroid Psyche, by 2026. ...
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A familiar galaxy with a new surprise: Two supermassive black holes

Cygnus A is an elliptical galaxy nearly 800 million light-years from Earth. In its center is a supermassive black hole at least a billion times the mass of our Sun, which appears to have recently gained a companion. New observations of this galaxy wi...

Mice born from freeze-dried space sperm are doing OK

Before they were born, these mice were astronauts. Or, rather, the sperm that would go on to deliver half of their genetic material were. For nine months, mouse sperm was kept aboard the International Space Station, freeze-dried to preserve it. Broug...
Monday, May 22, 2017

Merging white dwarfs may create most of our galaxy’s antimatter

More than four decades ago, astronomers discovered the first gamma-ray emission coming from outside the solar system. This high-energy signal is associated with the destruction of roughly 1043 positrons — a type of antimatter — each secon...

Astronomers know TRAPPIST-1h’s orbit

Ever since NASA announced that the TRAPPIST-1 system had seven planets instead of the original three, scientists have been interested in learning more about the bizarre system. Now after much research and some suspected details, scientists have found...
Friday, May 19, 2017

Astronomers create the largest map of the universe

Quasars are extremely bright, extremely distant objects. They are the disks of material around supermassive black holes, which heat up and glow as material streams inward toward the event horizon. And now, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) has iden...

The weird star that totally isn’t aliens is dimming again

There’s a star 1,300 light years away that has exhibited some of the strangest behavior ever seen: something dims 20 percent of its light, something that is beyond the size of a planet. It’s called KIC 8462852, but most people shorthand i...
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Researchers find a tiny moon around a large unnamed dwarf planet

2007 OR10 is the largest body in the solar system with no common name. And now, the no-name dwarf planet with a diameter between 800 and 950 miles (1,290–1,528km) has been discovered to have a moon. As the name implies, 2007 OR10 was initiall...

NASA invites scientists to submit ideas for Europa lander

NASA is launching another competition for scientists: help pick instruments for a Europa lander. Jupiter’s Moon has been a target for scientists for a while, after Voyager 1 and the Galileo spacecraft unveiled a potential ocean back in the 1990...
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A tourist’s guidebook like no other — to the rest of the solar system

Imagine skydiving for dozens of miles through the skies of Saturn, luxuriating in floating cities nestled in the clouds of Venus, rappelling down Mariner Valley's dramatic cliffs on Mars, or ski jumps on the methane snowcaps of Pluto. The new "Vacati...

Fireworks Galaxy sets off its 10th supernova in a century

A new supernova just lit up the sky, and it’s bright enough for amateur astronomers to search out with their scopes. Named SN 2017eaw, this event marks the death of a massive star and the 10th supernova observed in NGC 6946, otherwise known as ...

Limited-edition Pioneer Plaque replicas available

The Pioneer Plaque is an image almost everyone will recognize: the sketches of a man and a woman, an illustration of our solar system, and several symbols to tell any extraterrestrials who found the plaque where it came from. If you’ve ever w...

See a moving global view of Ceres at opposition

Since Dawn arrived at Ceres in 2015, it’s revealed an intricate, once watery world of ice and rock stewed together. Now, a high-resolution global image shows the most fascinating object in the asteroid belt in exquisite detail. These images w...
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Citizen scientists are invited to help find supernovae

If you’ve ever wanted to find supernovae, now’s your chance. The Australian National University (ANU) is inviting citizen scientists to join the search for the bright, exploding stars. Supernovae are the bright explosions that mark the e...
Monday, May 15, 2017

The first true-color images of Saturn taken during Cassini’s close encounter are coming in — and they’re beautiful!

We’ve already been treated to spectacular black and white closeup images of Saturn, beamed home to Earth by the Cassini spacecraft after it dove between the planet and its rings. Now, we’re getting to see what things look like in true col...

The science experiments happening during the eclipse

August 21st, the world will experience the first total solar eclipse to only be visible within US borders. In roughly an hour and a half — less time than it takes to watch a movie — the Moon’s shadow will cross from Depoe Bay, Orego...
Friday, May 12, 2017

Chandra spots a recoiling black hole

You’d think a black hole with a mass of 160 million times that our Sun would be difficult to move — and you’d be right. Nonetheless, astronomers have spotted a potentially “renegade black hole” offset from the center of ...
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