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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.

Monday, January 27, 2020

What will happen to the Spitzer Space Telescope after it's retired?

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope will be decommissioned on the 30th of January after 16 years of studying exoplanets, our own solar system and far-off galaxies. Because it sees in infrared, AKA heat, Spitzer's capabilities have been crucial for NASA's...
Friday, January 24, 2020

The Sky This Week from January 24 to February 2

Friday, January 24 One of the sky’s most familiar constellations rules January’s sky from dusk until around 3 a.m. local time. Orion the Hunter appears conspicuous in the southeast after darkness falls and climbs highest in the south betw...

Skeptics of dark energy raise concerns, but remain outnumbered

(Inside Science) -- Since the dawn of the universe, the biggest stars have ended their lives with a bang, blowing out their outer layers in bright, fiery bursts that can be seen many light-years away. Astronomers use these supernova explosions like m...
Thursday, January 23, 2020

This super-bright supernova might be the result of colliding stars

Many stars end their lives as bright explosions called supernovae. Some of these explosions are much brighter than typical and give off up to 100 times more energy. Astronomers call these “superluminous supernovae” and they don’t ye...

Celebrating the legacy of the Spitzer Space Telescope

The Spitzer Space Telescope — the space observatory that discovered the planet-rich Trappist system, studied some of the most distant galaxies in the universe, and captured countless breathtaking photos of the cosmos — will be shutting do...
Wednesday, January 22, 2020

These are the universe's five strangest stars

Some 70 percent of all stars in the universe are tiny red dwarfs, so faint and dim and seemingly humdrum the casual observer might think stellar physics suffers from a lack of imagination. But the “average star” belies the true breadth a...

Explore 12 great lunar targets

The Moon offers something for every observer. It has a face that's always changing. Following it telescopically through a lunar month can be fascinating. Ironically, when the Moon is brightest (Full Moon) is the worst time to view it. From our persp...

The ancient Earth atmosphere may have been mostly carbon dioxide

It’s hard to know what Earth’s atmosphere was like billions of years ago, but scientists are beginning to figure it out. Based on the chemical properties of tiny micrometeorites that fell to Earth 2.7 billion years ago, a team of resear...
Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The two main types of exoplanets: Small and rocky or big and gassy

Scientists have discovered over 4,000 exoplanets outside of our Solar System, according to NASA’s Exoplanet Archive. Some of these planets orbit multiple stars at the same time. Certain planets are so close to their star that it takes only a ha...

Making air from Moon dust: Scientists create a prototype oxygen plant

The European Space Agency has created an experimental “oxygen plant” in the Netherlands that can extract oxygen trapped within simulated Moon dust. Not only does the process extract up to 96 percent of the oxygen in the imitation lunar s...

Meteorite impact 2 billion years ago may have ended an ice age

Yarrabubba crater in western Australia stretches roughly 40 miles across. And since its discovery in 2003, scientists have speculated it's one of Earth’s oldest meteorite craters. Now, a team of researchers has pinned down the crater's precise ...

You can help name NASA's Mars 2020 rover

Launching this summer, the Mars 2020 rover will traverse the Red Planet looking for evidence of past life there and learning more about the environment of our neighboring planet. Equipped with over 20 cameras, a powerful drill, and even a small heli...
Monday, January 20, 2020

New high-energy gamma-ray sources found in the galaxy

Researchers have discovered nine new sources of high-energy photons in the Milky Way, including some of the most energetic gamma rays ever detected. By studying these gamma-ray sources, which all seem to originate near spinning neutron stars called p...

SpaceX completed its last test before bringing astronauts to space

SpaceX, Elon Musk's private aerospace company, successfully completed its final test flight at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The test of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule brings the company one step closer to launching astro...
Friday, January 17, 2020

The Sky This Week from January 17 to 26

Friday, January 17 Last Quarter Moon occurs at 7:58 a.m. EST. By the time it rises shortly after 1 a.m. local time Saturday morning, it will appear slightly but noticeably less than half-lit. The Moon then lies near the border between the constellati...

Four strange new objects found around the Milky Way's huge black hole

Astronomers have discovered four new and mysterious objects orbiting the Milky Way's supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*. The bizarre objects look a lot like common clouds of gas and dust, but they surprisingly manage to stay compact like stars a...
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Second terrestrial planet found around closest star to the Sun

Our nearest celestial neighbor, the star Proxima Centauri, likely has a second planet. The planet, dubbed Proxima c, is at least about 6 times the mass of Earth and orbits its tiny red dwarf host once every 5.2 years. If confirmed, the newly discove...
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Binary stars may be an explanation for powerful gamma-ray bursts

Throughout the universe, bright explosions that astronomers call gamma-ray bursts blaze through space. These gamma-ray bursts are the brightest explosions known — a typical gamma-ray burst can produce as much energy in the seconds or minutes of...

NASA will broadcast final spacewalk to repair AMS

NASA TV will be airing live the next three spacewalks, which will finish repairs to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and replacement of batteries on the solar panels on the on the International Space Station (ISS).
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