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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.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Could these Earth fossils give clues to life in outer space?

It’s no secret that life on other planets may look very different than life on Earth. But could extremophiles—those organisms that live in the most extreme environments on earth, including hydrothermal vents and inside Earth’s crust...

John Glenn, the last remaining Mercury astronaut, dies at age 95

John Glenn, a military vet turned space pioneer, has died at the age of 95. After flying 59 combat missions in World War II, Glenn became an early recruit into NASA's Mercury program. In 1962, he became the first American astronaut to orbit the Eart...

An amateur astronomer just made a stellar discovery about pulsars

With a backyard telescope, an amateur astronomer helped make an important discovery about so-called “black widow” pulsars. When a massive star dies, much of its mass explodes outward in a supernova, leaving its core to collapse in on itse...

An old meteor yields a new surprise: a never-before-seen material

It’s not every day scientists discover an entirely new material adrift in the universe, but in pouring over the Khatyrka meteorite, researchers led by Luca Bindi found an all-new type of quasicrystal never seen before. The research was publishe...
Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Is time on our side?

This story originally appeared in the February 2006 issue of Astronomy. When H. G. Wells put pen to paper in 1895, he started something that shows no sign of abating. The Time Machine, Wells’ first novel, was social commentary disguised as sci...

Google honors Ole Rømer in Google Doodle

One of the fun aspects about Google is the ever-changing doodle on the homepage, usually relevant to holidays, historical events, and people. Today’s Google Doodle represents Ole Rømer, a Danish astronomer who was the first person to suc...

Oh great, so Alpha Centauri isn't Alpha Centauri anymore

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) may have supervillain status among some sky enthusiasts for its decision to demote Pluto from planet to dwarf planet 10 years ago.* Now, they're going to divide the astronomy community again. Goodbye, Alpha...
Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Captured moons of the giant planets

This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Astronomy magazine. For more than a century, astronomers have known that natural satellites in the solar system don’t only orbit in close, nearly circular tracks in the same plane ...

Are we nearing finding the first moon outside our solar system?

A cloud of debris around a nearby planet may soon yield the first detection of an exomoon. While the planet itself won’t be crossing between Earth and its sun anytime soon, scientists realized that any moons or rings would interrupt the light c...

Electric-blue ice clouds seeded by meteor dust have been spied over Antarctica by a NASA spacecraft

As summer gets under way in the Southern Hemisphere, electric blue clouds seeded by meteor dust begin to glow high in the sky over Antarctica’s vast icy reaches. This year, according to NASA, these night-shining, or “noctilucent,” c...

A new instrument could give a clear view of distant exoplanets

A star’s brightness often drowns out a view of its planetary system, but the new optical chip developed by physicists and astronomers at the Australian National University, the University of Sydney, and the Australian Astronomical Observatory m...
Monday, December 05, 2016

Could there really be life under Pluto’s ice?

There’s a small chance that Pluto’s subsurface ocean might harbor primitive life, and that could expand the search for habitable worlds out into the rest of the Kuiper Belt. Recent studies, drawing on a combination of computer modelling a...

A ‘Star Trek’-like anti-matter engine could power humanity to the nearest star

Alpha Centauri has captured the attention of many scientists, and for a good reason. Not only is it the closest star system, but, as the video points out, it seems like a great candidate to find an exoplanet. While Project Blue is still fundraisin...
Friday, December 02, 2016

When meteors confront a Full Moon

The annual Geminid meteor shower, which peaks the night of December 13 and the morning of the 14th, is typically one of the best of the year. The Geminid shower generally features bright meteors, and, unlike most showers, it’s fairly rich befor...
Thursday, December 01, 2016

Super-Galaxies Don’t Become Cannibals Until Later in Life

Before they turn to cannibalism, massive galaxies spend their infancy gobbling up recycled gas from earlier generations of star formation. The Spiderweb Galaxy is actually more of a galaxy-in-progress. One day, it will be an enormous elliptical galax...
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

This asteroid is so small, it could fit in your living room

Astronomers in Arizona observed the smallest near-Earth asteroid ever characterized, a 6.5 foot (2 meter) diameter asteroid smaller than most cars. This asteroid, called 2015 TC25, also reflects 60 percent of light that falls onto it, making it no...

Large ice sheet discovered on Mars

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has discovered a massive sheet of ice on Utopia Planitia, the same area where Viking landed in 1976. The ice sheet, buried under the soil, is nearly the size of New Mexico, according to Kenneth Chang at the New York Ti...
Monday, November 28, 2016

An Earth-like extrasolar planet could harbor extraterrestrial life

Researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the University of Tokyo, and the Astrobiology Center have nailed down an important property of a potentially Earth-like extrasolar planet while it was in transit. The team used t...


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