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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.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

GRACE-FO Spacecraft Ready to Launch

[Update: May 22, 21:47 CEST — The GRACE-FO satellite duo launched successfully aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.] Twin satellites that will monitor Earth's water cycle are scheduled to launch from Vandenb...
Monday, May 21, 2018

Astronomers discover the first interstellar immigrant nestled in Jupiter’s orbit

Less than a year ago, astronomers discovered ‘Oumuamua, the first known object from another star system to pass through our own. Now, in a new study published today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, astronomers ...
Friday, May 18, 2018

Table for One?

While most science fiction books and movies portray a universe teeming with a plethora of space-faring alien species, the reality may be quite different. Few of us could look up into the night sky and not feel the enormity of the cosmos and the seemi...

Snapshot: Second Gaia release results so far

At noon on April 25, much to the delight of astronomers from around the world, the European Space Agency released one of the largest datasets ever compiled in the history of astronomy. The second release of data from the Gaia satellite – which ...
Thursday, May 17, 2018

The most detailed map of the Orion A molecular cloud to date

Being able to closely observe other celestial residents, both near and far, helps astronomers understand the formation and evolution of our mysterious universe, and it’s no secret that advanced telescopes are largely responsible for the signifi...
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The first stars formed when the universe was less than 2% its current age

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is not your standard, run-of-the-mill telescope. Instead, ALMA, which is located in the high-and-dry Atacama Desert of northern Chile, is a radio telescope made up of 66 high-precision antennas ...
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Snapshot: A ‘lost’ asteroid will zip between the Earth and the Moon tonight

First off, remember the simple yet immortal words of Douglas Adams from his book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — “Don’t panic.” But with that being said, there is an asteroid roughly the size of the Statue of L...
Monday, May 14, 2018

Old Data Reveal New Evidence of Europa Plumes

Scientists re-examining data from an old mission bring new insights to the tantalizing question of whether Jupiter’s moon Europa has the ingredients to support life. The data provide independent evidence that the moon’s subsurface liquid ...
Friday, May 11, 2018

The sky this week for May 11 to May 20

Friday, May 11 One of the spring sky’s finest deep-sky objects, the Beehive star cluster (M44) in the constellation Cancer the Crab, appears high in the west once evening twilight fades away. The 3rd-magnitude cluster lies approximately 40 per...

Mars helicopter to fly on the Red Planet

NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars. The Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency’s Mars 2020 rover mission, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier...

Why Apollo Flew in a Figure 8

If you’ve ever looked at a schematic for an Apollo flight like the one on the left, you’ll notice right away that it traces out a figure 8, which leads many to wonder why? Surely it’s easier to go in a straight line, right? Turns ou...
Thursday, May 10, 2018

The first carbon-rich asteroid found in the Kuiper Belt

It’s believed that our solar system’s gas giants caused quite a ruckus in their infancies. As they exited their tight orbits and began their outward migrations, their forceful journeys caused small, rocky bodies in the inner solar system ...

'New views of Jupiter' showcases swirling clouds on giant planet

Members of NASA’s Juno mission team, some of the world’s leading observers of Jupiter, and citizen scientists from across the globe will attend a workshop ‘New Views of Jupiter: Pro-Am Collaborations during and beyond the NASA Juno ...
Wednesday, May 09, 2018

When Is A Planet A Planet?

On a basic level, it seems that most of the universe can be divided into two kinds of big objects: stars and planets. A star is a massive ball of burning gas whose main function is fusing hydrogen into helium. They are formed by huge clouds of gas t...
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