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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, July 17, 2018

Jupiter’s Got Twelve New Moons — One is a Bit of a Problem Child

Jupiter’s family has really grown since Galileo first recorded its four largest moons in 1610. On Tuesday, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the discovery of 10 new moons orbiting Jupiter. Along with two found through the sa...
Friday, July 13, 2018

In a Rare Feat, Scientists Anticipate and Recover an Incoming Asteroid

We have swarms of scientists searching the skies for space oddities, but it’s rare that they actually find one in the act of plunging to Earth. On June 23, a group of international geoscientists discovered a meteorite in Botswana that had been...

Cassini reveals the sounds of Saturn

Though it’s been gone for nearly a year, the Cassini spacecraft continues to fuel new studies of Saturn and its many moons. In particular, Cassini’s unique and close-up view of the system during its Grand Finale orbits produced data that ...

The sky this week for July 13 to 22

Friday, July 13 The Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower continues to ramp up this week. The shower won’t peak until the end of July, but you should see some of its meteors in the hours before dawn. The best time to look is between 3 and 4 a....

Rare "equal mass" binary asteroid discovered near Earth

Researchers discovered a near-Earth asteroid in December 2017 that would soon make its closest approach to Earth for the next 170 years. Observations during its fly-by revealed it to be something more extraordinary than expected —a near-Earth e...
Thursday, July 12, 2018

A cosmic particle spewed from a distant galaxy strikes Earth

Four billion years ago, an immense galaxy with a black hole at its heart spewed forth a jet of particles at nearly the speed of light. One of those particles, a neutrino that is just a fraction of the size of a regular atom, traversed across the univ...

Blazars explained

On Thursday, researchers announced that they’d caught a single, tiny, high-energy particle called a neutrino that had rained down on Earth from a supermassive black hole some 4 billion light-years away. Astrophysicists are excited because thi...

New data reveals details of Ross 128 b — the second closest temperate planet

The discovery of any Earth-like exoplanet evokes excitement in the science community, but the hype is definitely heightened when a possible rocky world is found close to home. Last year, researchers announced the discovery of an exoplanet just 11 lig...
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The fate of giant planets depends on where they grow up

Astronomers generally agree that planets form out of the dusty debris disks that surround most newborn stars. When one of these so-called protoplanetary disks rotates around a nascent star, globs of material clump together. Over the course of a few m...
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Seven Best Travel Spots In Our Solar System – And How To Die There

In the why-aren’t-you-watching-this television show The Expanse, humanity has spread out into the solar system. Mars and Earth stand as bitter rivals, with Ceres settlers somewhere in between. A few companies even have settlers in the outer reg...

Using Sunlight To Make Spaceship Fuel And Breathable Air

Spaceflight is like backpacking. If you can’t restock supplies like food and water along the way, how far you can travel is limited by how much you can carry. And in space, you also have to worry about having enough fuel for your spacecraft and...
Monday, July 09, 2018

Astronomers Discover the Brightest Early Galaxy Ever

The early universe is a mystery. It’s quite literally surrounded by a veil that obscures its distant, early light. But a new glimmer through that void could give us a glimpse into this mysterious era. Two papers released in the Astrophysical J...
Friday, July 06, 2018

The sky this week for July 6 to 15

Friday, July 6 The Big Dipper’s familiar shape lies high in the northwest as darkness falls these July evenings. One of the summer sky’s finest binocular double stars marks the bend of the Dipper’s handle. Mizar shines at 2nd magni...

Making scents of outer space

Nina Lanza expected Antarctica to be cold. After all, she and her seven fellow meteorite hunters weren’t allowed to board their transport in New Zealand until they’d proved they’d packed all the necessary gear. And she’d been ...
Thursday, July 05, 2018

Einstein Right Again: Even the Heaviest Objects Fall the Same Way

Albert Einstein’s been having quite a few weeks! First his “imaginary elevator” thought experiment was confirmed with unprecedented precision, then his theory of relativity was shown to create gravitational lenses as expected even i...
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