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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.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Planets Aplenty with the TESS Mission: An Interview with the Director of the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has begun its mission to discover thousands of new exoplanets right in our cosmic background. The lead organization behind TESS is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where members of its Kavli ...

Gaia mission creates most detailed star catalogue to date

The European Space Agency (ESA)’s Gaia space observatory spent 22 months conducting a comprehensive survey of 1.7 billion stars in our sky, creating the most detailed star catalogue to date. The data, which was released on April 25 and will app...

Stunning Virtual Tour of Exoplanets Takes Its One Millionth 'Passenger'

The spectacular and dramatic first-person journey across the landscape of six exoplanets was designed and created by astrophysicists from the University of Exeter, in conjunction with ‘We The Curious’ in Bristol and visual effects artists...
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

LIGO’s next steps

The journey began about 20 years ago. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) was built in Handford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana, to detect and study the gravitational waves that Albert Einstein predicted in his theor...

Massive galaxies began merging just 1.5 billions years after the Big Bang

Housing thousands of galaxies and an absurd amount of stars, galaxy clusters are the most massive known objects in the universe. It was previously believed that these clusters formed when young starburst galaxies collided about 3 billion years after ...
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Creating Star Stuff on Earth is the Aim of New $7 Million Project

Astrophysicists will conduct experiments designed to re-create the physical environment inside stars, with a new $7 million grant that the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has awarded to The University ...

Uranus Smells Exactly How You Think It Does

Scientists confirm that Uranus’ atmosphere contains hydrogen sulfide, a compound long suspected to be swirling about in the planet’s clouds. Using the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii, researchers from the United Kingdom analyzed Uranus ...
Monday, April 23, 2018

AI beats astronomers at predicting survivability of 'Tatooines'

In the blockbuster movie franchise Star Wars, Tatooine is a fictional desert planet that serves as the homeworld to heavily robed Jawas, xenophobic Tusken Raiders, and, of course, the noble Luke Skywalker. Though the planet itself is rather barren an...

City of Light hosts inaugural International Day of Light

PARIS. The City of Light and a perfect setting for the inaugural UNESCO-declared International Day Of Light, which will feature talks by Nobel laureates, light shows, exhibitions and a celestial performance by International British Soprano Katerina M...
Friday, April 20, 2018

Is it time for a new astronomical yardstick?

Click anywhere on this site, and you’ll likely run into a measurement in terms of light-years, solar masses, astronomical units, or arcminutes. These units are unique to astronomy, and all can be expressed in terms of other, more fundamental un...

The majestic Earth as seen through the eyes of astronauts

We've gotten so accustomed to seeing photos of Earth from space that sometimes it's easy to forget just how beautiful our planet truly is. Many astronauts have reportedly experienced profound spiritual transformations when viewing the Earth from spac...
Thursday, April 19, 2018

To Seek Out New Life: How the TESS Mission Will Accelerate the Hunt for Livable Alien Worlds

Yesterday, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) spacecraft was launched successfully into space to continue the search for planets outside our solar system. To celebrate this exciting new beginning in the field of exoplanetary research, T...

The hunt for the Sun’s ancient siblings

The Sun is quite isolated now, but just like every other star, it was born in a stellar nursery along with thousands of siblings. Once very close knit, the Sun and its galactic brethren were eventually torn apart by the tidal force of the Milky Way, ...
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Martian moons likely formed after impact with Ceres-sized object

Based on new research, scientists think that the martian moons Phobos and Deimos likely formed after a catastrophic collision between Mars and a dwarf-planet-sized object. SwRItv According to a new study published today in Science Advances, Mars&rsq...
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Researchers recreate the ice giants’ interiors

Both Uranus and Neptune are thought to contain about 60 percent of their mass in the form of water, all of it beneath the gaseous “surface” of the planet. Under such high pressures, the molecules that make up water ice are thought to chan...

Meteoric Diamonds Are Evidence of Long Lost Planets

Diamonds found in meteorites on Earth may have come from an ancient long-dead planet the size of Mercury or Mars, the first potential known relics from these lost worlds, a new study finds. Scientists examined a ureilite, a kind of meteorite that is...

The world’s most advanced camera aims to image habitable exoplanets

Astronomers have put significant time and effort toward identifying habitable exoplanets, and with new technology emerging, it looks like their hard work could pay off sooner rather than later. NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS...
Monday, April 16, 2018

SpaceX will launch TESS today at 6:51 p.m. EDT: Watch it live here

[Update: April 16, 3:40 p.m. — The first launch attempt for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has been scrubbed for analysis of the guidance, navigation, and control systems. SpaceX will attempt another launch on Wednesday, April...

Losing the Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize in Physics is arguably the highest honor a physicist, astronomer, or cosmologist can achieve. Young students dream of winning it, and it never quite slips researchers' minds as projects are proposed, completed, and evaluated. But whil...
Friday, April 13, 2018

Hearing the cosmic hum of 100,000 black-hole mergers

It’s been just a few short years since astronomers made the first ground-breaking detection of gravitational waves, which are the ripples in space-time that propagate outward from especially violent cosmic events, such as the merger of black ho...

Suppressing starlight reveals zoo of disks around young stars

ESO’s Very Large Telescope’s direct imaging instrument, SPHERE, usually spends its time surveying stars close to Earth, hoping to uncover exoplanets looming in their orbits. But recently, an international team of researchers temporarily r...

NASA Television to Air Launch of Next Planet-Hunting Mission

On a mission to detect planets outside of our solar system, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is scheduled to launch no earlier than 6:32 p.m. EDT Monday, April 16. Prelaunch mission coverage will begin on NASA Television and ...
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