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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.

Friday, June 18, 2021

The Sky This Week: Welcome, summer!

Friday, June 18 An hour after sunset, the bright red star Antares, located in Scorprius, is visible above the southern horizon. This magnitude 1 star is located in a rich region of the sky rife with star clusters, including M4, a globular cluster les...

Tests of general relativity with gravitational waves can go awry

(Inside Science) -- Just six years ago, scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, in Louisiana and Washington measured a unique undulating signal when the distance between the detector mirrors was nudged by jus...
Thursday, June 17, 2021

Breakthrough Starshot: A voyage to the stars within our lifetimes

On Nov. 6, 2018, as millions of Americans cast their votes in a hotly contested midterm election, astrophysicist Avi Loeb sat in his office surrounded by four television crews. Loeb, chair of Harvard University’s Department of Astronomy and aut...

China successfully launches astronauts to new space station

Earth is on the cusp of gaining another orbiting laboratory. Early Thursday morning, Beijing time, the China National Space Administration launched three astronauts to rendezvous with the core module of a new space station. This is the third launch...
Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Relive the Apollo 14 Moon landing in 3D

In the wake of the near disaster with Apollo 13, NASA took precautionary plans with the following mission to tighten safety regulations and procedures. The eighth crewed mission in the Apollo program, Apollo 14, was scheduled for a liftoff in late Ja...

NASA is returning to Venus to learn whether the hot poisonous wasteland was ever habitable

NASA is finally headed back to Venus. On June 2, 2021, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced that the agency had selected two winners of its latest Discovery class spacecraft mission competition, and both are headed to the second planet from the S...
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Apollo 14: Bouncing back from disaster

If at first you don’t succeed, fly, fly again. That could have been the mantra for Apollo 14 — a mission that marked a triumphant comeback for NASA after the near-catastrophe of Apollo 13. Apollo 14 was originally slated to land at L...

A galactic archaeologist digs into the Milky Way’s history

In the night sky, the band of light from the Milky Way makes our galaxy look like a crowded streak of stars and gas clouds. But today, scientists know its shape and structure in detail: the spiral arms wrapping around the galaxy’s center, its c...
Monday, June 14, 2021

Discovery of 535 new fast radio bursts helps shed light on their mysterious origins

On June 9, 2021, my colleagues and I announced the discovery of 535 fast radio bursts that we detected using the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment telescope (CHIME). Detected in 2018 and 2019, these bursts of radio waves last only millis...

Astronomers score a triple-double

Galaxies are constantly colliding, merging, and creating ever-larger structures. That’s true of the Milky Way, too. Our home galaxy has devoured multiple smaller galaxies in its past. And one day, about 4.5 billion years from now, the Milky Way...
Friday, June 11, 2021

The Sky This Week: Enter the Summer Triangle

Friday, June 11 An asterism is an unofficial pattern of stars that isn’t one of the 88 officially recognized constellations that cover the sky. The Summer Triangle is a well-known asterism in the Northern Hemisphere sky. Its name comes from the...

Healthy mouse pups born from freeze-dried space sperm

Studying fertility in space can be hard. As of right now, astronauts aren’t doing multi-year stints in a microgravity environment. But one day, our descendants will be traveling to other planets — and, eventually, perhaps even deeper into...
Thursday, June 10, 2021

Infinity & Beyond — Episode 20: What are quasars?

Quasars, short for quasi-stellar objects, were first identified in 1962 by Maarten Schmidt at the California Institute of Technology. They appear as star-like points, but they lie at enormous distances, which means they’re emitting incredible a...

20 of the best places to view the 2024 Great North American Eclipse

The total solar eclipse set to occur April 8, 2024, will dazzle everyone who views it. However, potential observers might have some questions. Where exactly in Mexico and the U.S. will totality be visible? That’s easy to answer with a detailed...

Did solar eclipses help kick-start human curiosity?

Twenty minutes to totality, thousands of generations ago... The Sun has withered to a crescent. The Moon's umbral shadow is somewhere to the west, speeding across Earth's surface at thousands of miles per hour. Silently, remorselessly, the Moon take...
Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Snapshot: Intergalactic census reveals where stars are born

Stars are born in celestial factories known as molecular clouds. Dark, dense, and cool, these clouds absorb light at visible wavelengths, making them hard to comprehensively survey with optical telescopes. But thanks to the ALMA radio telescope in Ch...
Tuesday, June 8, 2021

NASA just rejected missions to Jupiter's and Neptune's moons. Here's what they would have done.

It’s been 30 years since Nasa last visited Venus, with the Magellan orbiter in 1990. Now, two new missions have been selected to explore the deadly atmosphere, crushing pressures and volcanic landscape. The process dates back to February 2020,...
Monday, June 7, 2021

Medical emergencies in space: Is private space tourism ready for a worst case scenario?

The age of commercial passenger space flight is upon us. Efforts by companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing and Virgin Galactic aim to put paying individuals in space. The International Space Station expects to receive its first private crew early...

Jeff Bezos and brother will fly to space during Blue Origins' first crewed trip

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is ready for takeoff — and founder Jeff Bezos will be on board. The company's first crewed flight is officially scheduled for July 20, in honor of the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. &ldqu...

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