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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, November 25, 2022

The Sky This Week: Mars makes its close approach

Friday, November 25 Asteroid 4 Vesta is plying the skies of southeastern Aquarius. You’ll find it near the planetary nebula NGC 7293, better known as the Helix Nebula, this evening, when Vesta sits just over 3° north-northeast of the dying ...
Thursday, November 24, 2022

Artemis: Why it may be the last mission for NASA astronauts

Neil Armstrong took his historic “one small step” on the Moon in 1969. And just three years later, the last Apollo astronauts left our celestial neighbour. Since then, hundreds of astronauts have been launched into space but mainly to the Earth-orbit...
Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Observing Basics: How to observe variable stars

Arguably, a hobby’s greatest benefit is derived from its rewards. I’ve been an avid backyard astronomer for 60 years. I still recall the night in 1963 when my high school friend Ray Gerbi showed me Saturn and its rings through his 80x Gil...
Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Strange Universe: Avoiding a galaxy-sized ego

It’s almost a cliché that the astronomy passion produces a sense of grandeur — the joyous experience of being taken outside of oneself. Little discussed is its ability to create the opposite: an inflated feeling of self-worth. Ego ...
Monday, November 21, 2022

Rising star in astronomy: Jedidah Isler

These days, Jedidah Isler doesn’t have much time to research blazars — supermassive black holes devouring material in distant galaxies — though she’s still interested in how they produce their jets. Instead, as the White House...

Ask Astro: How many stars are born each year in the Milky Way?

On average, how many stars are formed each year in the Milky Way? Doug Kaupa Council Bluffs, Iowa There are many ways to estimate the star-formation rate of the Milky Way, ranging from counting young stars directly to measuring the brightness...

Jay Pasachoff, globetrotting solar eclipse expert, dies at age 79

Jay Pasachoff, a solar astronomer who witnessed 74 solar eclipses over the course of his life, died at his home in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on Sunday, Nov. 20. He was 79 years old. Pasachoff was Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy and Director...
Friday, November 18, 2022

The Sky This Week: Orion the Hunter rises

Friday, November 18 The solar system’s second-to-last planet, Uranus, passes close to a star in southern Aries the Ram tonight. At magnitude 5.7, the distant world is easy to pick up with binoculars in the dark evening sky. By 8:30 P.M. local t...

What Earthly objects can be seen from space?

When famed Star Trek actor William Shatner embarked on a space tourism flight last year, the view brought him to tears. He later described crying while looking back at Earth, as well as a profound sense of grief — as if he had just learned about the ...

Ask Astro: What are a supermassive black hole’s jets made of?

What exactly are M87* and other supermassive black holes’ jets made of? William Montgomery Cincinnati, Ohio About a century ago, astronomers first noticed what appeared to be a ray of light shooting away from the center of M87, an elliptic...

Snapshot: King of Monsters takes shape in the Cone Nebula

Reminiscent of the scaly and monstrous form of Godzilla, this image of the starry region surrounding the Cone Nebula was taken as part of the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) celebration of six decades of operation. In the constellation ...
Thursday, November 17, 2022

How to see the International Space Station from your backyard

Lots of things change in the night sky. Stars rise and set during the night; constellations come and go as the seasons pass; planets waltz along the ecliptic, visiting the zodiacal constellations on their nonstop sightseeing tour of the heavens; and ...

Pristine meteorite found within hours of hitting Earth

At about 10 o'clock on the night of Feb. 28, 2021, a fireball streaked through the sky over England. The blazing extraterrestrial visitor was seen by more than 1,000 people, and its descent was filmed by 16 dedicated meteor-tracking cameras from the ...

Photos: Artemis 1 captures first images of Earth on trip to Moon

Nearly 10 hours after launching atop the world’s most powerful rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), NASA’s Orion spacecraft snapped a selfie with Earth’s partially illuminated disk visible in the background. "This view of Earth c...
Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Try, try again — Artemis 1 finally lifts off

Early this morning, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) tore through Earth’s atmosphere to kickstart the Artemis 1 mission, an uncrewed spaceflight that will test the technology needed to send humans back to the Moon for the first time in 50...

How does Artemis compare to Apollo? Experts weigh in.

Astronomy reached out to two respected scholars of the Space Age to gain perspectives on America’s two crewed programs for lunar exploration: the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s, and the Artemis missions of the 21st century. Here’...

Artemis 1: NASA sends world’s most powerful rocket to the Moon

NASA has finally taken its first small step toward sending humans back to the Moon. The Space Launch System (SLS) lifted off into Florida's early morning sky today at 1:47 A.M. EST. The massive rocket lofted the uncrewed Artemis 1 mission on a 25-da...
Tuesday, November 15, 2022

15 things kids should know about space travel

Professional and amateur astronomers alike love to share facts about our amazing universe: “The brightest star is…,” “A black hole is…,” and lots more. These facts are so incredible that we sometimes overlook our...

Sun-like star found orbiting closest black hole to Earth

Imagine if our Sun was orbiting a black hole, perhaps spiraling into it. Admittedly, the notion that our relatively normal star could fall into such a trap sounds like the plot from a science fiction movie. Indeed, of all the black holes astronomers ...
Monday, November 14, 2022

Artemis 1 launch delay is the latest of many NASA scrubs

I love a good space launch, and I have been eagerly awaiting NASA’s powerful new Space Launch System rocket to take off as the first part of NASA’s ambitious Artemis Mission to put U.S. astronauts back on the Moon. But this launch has alr...

Rising star in astronomy: Nora Eisner

Before Nora Eisner’s family moved to Cambridge, U.K., when she was 8, she grew up in Switzerland, where she first glimpsed the Moon through a small telescope. “I just remember that so clearly,” says Eisner. She soon decided she want...

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