Hunting for earthlike planets

First astronomers have to find a nearby planet in its star’s habitable zone, and then they’ll need to characterize its atmosphere to determine if life might exist there.

Web Extra: Extrasolar atmospheres

Studying the atmospheres of earthlike planets may be a few years in the future, but astronomers are analyzing weather on the largest worlds now.

Messages from Mercury

The MESSENGER spacecraft enters orbit around the innermost planet in March to explore its geological history, thin atmosphere, dense core, and the strange stuff at its poles.

Web Extra: Mercury in the cross hairs

NASA’s ambitious MESSENGER spacecraft will have company by the end of this decade, when the BepiColombo mission reaches the innermost planet.

Star-struck in Iceland

The tiny North Atlantic island nation boasts a large amateur astronomical society, inspires the world’s space artists, and features some of the most dazzling auroral displays anywhere.

Web Extra: Appreciating a celestial light show

Iceland isn’t alone in offering dramatic views of the northern lights.

Explore the Centaurus A galaxy cluster

Point your telescope toward the south this spring, and target this group of little-observed objects.

Target galaxies with a big gun

These eight spring showpieces reveal exquisite detail through large scopes.

10 top spring binocular treats

All you need to enjoy these gems is a dark sky and two eyes.

Web Extra: More spring objects to observe

Enjoy more images of bright sky treats you can see through your binoculars.

Zhumell’s 25×100 binoculars capture lots of light

These impressive binoculars provide brilliant, high-power views of celestial objects.

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