On the hunt for magnetars

Ten years ago, astronomers thought the idea of ultra-magnetized stars was crazy. Now, they know magnetars unleash mammoth bursts of energy.

Online extra: Astronomers explore magnetar mega-flare

A neutron star’s massive 2004 outburst is giving astronomers an inside view on these superdense objects.

Does life really need water?

NASA’s quest for life says, “Follow the water.” But is that nature’s only choice?

NASA targets distant worlds

New missions to the giant planets — and their moons — top planetary scientists’ wish lists.

Making waves

Astronomers see incredible detail using a technique called interferometry.

Observe fall’s top galaxies

Not all galaxies fall under the category of “faint fuzzies.” This list will rock your universe.

Online extra: Charting autumn’s galaxies

Use these print out finder charts for the season’s best galaxies.

Get ready for the Leonids

Moonless nights promise dozens of meteors per hour at this shower’s peak.

Online extra: It’s Leonids time again

Enjoy this meteor shower all year by snapping some photos.

Mercury crosses the Sun

The elusive inner planet transits the Sun’s disk for the last time in 10 years.

Online extra: Space scientists look at future Mars exploration

Planetary scientists have big ideas for studying Mars. Here’s what NASA has in store.


This month in Astronomy
Beautiful universe
Bob Berman’s strange universe
Glenn Chaple’s observing basics
Phil Harrington’s binocular universe

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