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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, October 27, 2016

The outer solar system keeps getting weirder

Several newly discovered objects on the outskirts of the solar system suggest that something strange is afoot. While some scientists point to the odd behavior of the newfound residents as further proof for the existence of the hypothetical Planet Nin...

New NASA Images Confirm Schiaparelli’s Demise

The fate of the European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli lander is sealed. An image taken Tuesday by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals a series of impact crates strewn about the expected landing zone of the craft, with no sign of the...
Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How researchers could find planets that have suffered a zombie apocalypse

The paper this article is based on was published online by the authors as an April Fool’s joke. Worlds with zombies may have signatures in the atmosphere that could be detectable with today’s technology. Research suggests that an abundan...

Largest “depleted galaxy” holds clues to how it formed

The largest “depleted galaxy” ever observed apparently did not form according to the most popular model. The galaxy, designated 2MASX J17222717+3207571, is remarkable for its size (a total stellar mass of 4.44 trillion solar masses) and f...

This 1950’s Mars documentary seems positively quaint today

An old episode of Disneyland, the hour-long ABC TV program, brings up some topics astronomy lovers will recognize. The video titled Mars and Beyond goes through many different things, including star patterns, potential life on other planets, and what...

Behold! The birth of stellar triplets

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have captured a stunningly clear, and rare image of stellar triplets still in their infancy. The three stars are just babies: They’re still bundled in a primordial clou...
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Powerful solar storm could yield stunning auroras tonight

If you go outside tonight and look up, you could witness the dazzling effects of some particularly stormy celestial weather. The Space Weather Prediction Center at NOAA issued an alert this morning warning of a “Strong” geomagnetic storm...

Schiaparelli may have crashed due to computer glitch

The European Space Agency and Roscosmos’s ExoMars lander may have crashed due to a computer glitch. According to Nature, a flaw in the software in merging data from different sensors may have led Schiaparelli to think it was closer to the groun...
Monday, October 24, 2016

Could an astronaut’s corpse bring new life to another world?

One day, it's bound to happen. An astronaut dies in space. Maybe the death occurred en route to Mars. Maybe she was interstellar, on board solo spacecraft. Or maybe the body was thrust out an airlock, a burial at space. That corpse (or the corpse'...

How can a planet keep its ring system? By creating them backwards

Rings around planets are gorgeous, but inherently temporary. But a new mathematical model permits a path to more stable ring systems: orbiting backwards. Saturn is classically beautiful, its rings creating an elegant silhouette burned in our collect...

NASA’s Kepler space telescope discovered ‘heartbeat’ stars

A study using NASA’s Kepler space telescope discovered a large number of heartbeat stars, or binary stars that would look like an electrocardiogram if brightness were mapped out over time. Scientists are interested in the heartbeat stars becaus...
Friday, October 21, 2016

What's the difference between Earth-mass and Earth-like?

Every time astronomers discover another exoplanet, the first thing we all want to know is "Does it look like Earth?" Finding an Earth-like exoplanet would dramatically increase our chances of finding life as we know it there, and could finally prove ...

Citizen scientists discover place to search for exoplanets

Through a NASA-led citizen science project, eight citizen scientists with no astrophysics training helped discover a circumstellar disk, or a planet-forming ring of gas and dust around a star, outside our solar system that could be a great new place ...

Images from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show where the lost Schiaparelli crashed

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) took photos that show markings on the surface of Mars where ESA’s ExoMars ExoMars Schiaparelli might have touched down. Schiaparelli entered the atmosphere on October 19 for its descent, but lost c...
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why some astronomers consider Pluto 'the new Mars'

Thanks to all the information pouring in from NASA’s New Horizons mission, Pluto is making a comeback. As New Horizons principle investigator Alan Stern says, “Pluto is the new Mars” – and that’s not just because of its ...

Orionid meteors will compete with the Moon

Prospects look fair for the peak of this year’s Orionid meteor shower, which occurs before dawn October 21. Streaking swiftly across the sky, tiny bits of rock and metal burn up as meteors. Although Earth constantly sweeps up interplanetary dus...

The solar system’s weirdest asteroid has frozen water on its surface

New research suggests that the asteroid 16 Psyche may have traces of water splattered across its surface. Infrared observations reveal the characteristic absorption of unexpected volatiles, hinting at impacts by water-bearing rocks crashing into the ...
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Planet Nine may be responsible for tilting the Sun

Earlier this year an announcement raised a tantalizing possibility: a ninth planet lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system. The announcement turned the astronomy and planetary science world upside down. Caltech astronomer Michael Brown and ...

Astronomers obtain the sharpest-ever image of Eta Carinae

This is what it’s like when stellar winds collide. An international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy has captured the sharpest, clearest image of the Eta Carinae star system. Here, some 7,500 light-years awa...

ESA and Roscosmos may have lost their ExoMars lander

While the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter seems to be off to a swimming start, the Schiaparelli might have been dead on arrival on Mars. The great galactic ghoul seems to have struck again. But in the end, it's okay. The lander was mostly a dry run for the...

NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered safe mode

NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered safe mode late on October 18 (October 19 EDT) when it was just over 13 hours from its closest approach to Jupiter. The craft successfully restarted, but wary software engineers shut the instruments down while the...
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

ExoMars is set to land on the Red Planet

ExoMars is set to land on Mars on October 19, and if all goes according to plan, it will become the first probe not launched by NASA to successfully land on the Red Planet. ExoMars is an astrobiology mission co-launched with European Space Agency (ES...

Juno's engines hit a misfiring snag, delaying second orbital maneuver

Since arriving at Jupiter on July 4, the Juno spacecraft has had a chance to see some of the giant planet's fireworks up close and personal. The craft itself has to be guided through a series of rocket firings to bring its orbit in ever closer and cl...

Here's why New Horizon's post-Pluto destination is important

Far, far past Pluto, the most distant object humanity has ever visited, there’s a tiny world fainter than any seen in that part of our solar system. Its dark orbit reaches a billion miles beyond the former ninth planet. But 2014 MU69, as it&rsq...

Venus explodes with volcanoes in the present day

New research presented this week at the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting in Pasadena, California adds to our understanding of Venus’ volcanic past, and possibly, present. Using data from the European Space Agency’s Venus Express orb...
Monday, October 17, 2016

Voyager 2 data may be hiding two new Uranian moons

Some of the smallest moons in the solar system hide in the rings of the giant planets. But when it comes to a system of rings as dirty and dark as Uranus, it can be harder to find these moonlets than it is at Saturn. The rings of the ice giant are ta...


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