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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, November 30, 2021

Ask Astro: Are meteorites radioactive?

Do meteorites emit a high degree of radiation when they fall to Earth? Should precautions be taken when handling them? Wade Carmen Cleveland, Tennessee On average, around 500 meteorites fall to Earth each year. Any radioactive elements conta...

Space law hasn’t been changed since 1967

On Nov. 15, 2021, Russia destroyed one of its own old satellites using a missile launched from the surface of the Earth, creating a massive debris cloud that threatens many space assets, including astronauts onboard the International Space Station. T...
Friday, November 26, 2021

The Sky This Week: Last Quarter Moon in the morning

Friday, November 26 Dwarf planet 1 Ceres is at opposition tonight at 11 P.M. EST. It’s visible all evening, located amid the stars of the Hyades, situated on the nose of Taurus the Bull. His bright red eye, Aldebaran, can guide you: Ceres sits ...
Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Exoplanets with topsy-turvy orbits found around inconspicuous star

The planets of our solar system all orbit the Sun within a few degrees of a flat plane extending out from our star’s equator — its equatorial plane. That makes sense. Our solar system began as a shapeless, spinning cloud of gas and dust. ...

Snapshot: Hubble’s catch of the day

Some 6,000 light-years distant lies the Prawn Nebula (IC 4628), a massive stellar nursery within the constellation Scorpius. IC 4628 is an emission nebula, meaning that its gas is energized thanks to radiation from nearby stars. The energy it absorbs...
Monday, November 22, 2021

Chilean rocks aid the search for life on Mars

(Inside Science) -- Even if life once existed on Mars, we're probably not going to find any signs as obvious as dinosaur bones or fossilized shells. The red planet’s extreme radiation and hostile climate likely would have destroyed all traces o...
Friday, November 19, 2021

The Sky This Week: Venus blazes bright

Friday, November 19 Early risers this morning can catch the longest partial lunar eclipse of the century, during which some 98 percent of our satellite slides into Earth’s shadow. The effect is a deep red-colored Moon. If you didn’t ge...

Iodine propulsion systems take flight in space

(Inside Science) — Right now, there is a unique spacecraft orbiting our planet. Its secret is the iodine propellant it uses to maneuver in space. The spacecraft, launched in 2020, is a type of miniaturized satellite called a CubeSat, weighing a...
Thursday, November 18, 2021

Catch this month's lunar eclipse, the longest of the century

On Friday, Nov. 19, the Sun, Earth, and the Moon (in that order) will line up and most of Moon will trek through Earth’s umbra, the darkest part of its shadow. Although this won’t be a total lunar eclipse, it’ll be darn close. At mi...

Meet the candidates to be Earth's first interstellar astronauts

Project Starlight is a NASA-funded mission to develop the technologies to enable interstellar space exploration. The approach is simple—these spacecraft will fly out of the solar system on the tip of a powerful Earth-based laser beam that accel...
Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Russian anti-satellite weapon test: What happened and what are the risks?

On Nov. 15, 2021, U.S. officials announced that they had detected a dangerous new debris field in orbit near Earth. Later in the day, it was confirmed that Russia had destroyed one of its old satellites in a test of an anti-satellite weapon. Wendy Wh...

White dwarfs devouring exoplanets reveal exotic types of rock

With over 4,000 exoplanets identified within our galaxy alone, it can be tempting to imagine that at least a few resemble Earth. But in truth, scientists have a difficult time figuring out what these bodies are made of — and thus whether they m...
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