Two-mile-high structures rising on Saturn's rings

Someone on Reddit posted this old November 2010 image by the Cassini spacecraft. It shows 2-mile-high (3.5-kilometer) structures rising on Saturn's B ring's outer edge. We talked about this back then, but it's a great peg to show this cool artist impression of what it would look like from the ring itself: » 12/29/14 11:33pm 12/29/14 11:33pm

You Can Discover New Planets with a DSLR 

Wouldn't it be cool to discover a planet circling a lonely star light years away from Earth? Maybe you'd even get to name it. Actually exploring deep space is hard, but as IEEE Spectrum's David Schneider points out, detecting exoplanets is pretty simple, simple enough that a basic DSLR and a telephoto lens can do it. » 12/15/14 11:42am 12/15/14 11:42am

Is It Time to Accept That We're Alone in the Universe?

We have yet to discover any signs of aliens, a troubling observation that has led to much speculation. One possible solution to the Great Silence is that nobody's out there. It's a conclusion that sounds impossible to believe, but there may be something to it. Here's why we may be alone in the universe. » 11/05/14 5:17pm 11/05/14 5:17pm

A French Inventor Once Proposed a Giant Mirror to Burn a Message on Mars

When we want to leave our mark on Mars today, we simply send over a few Rovers to roll around in its red soil. But 150 years ago, scientists had very different plans for contacting the planet, including one French inventor who wanted to use the refracted light of the sun to sear a welcoming message into the Martian… » 10/16/14 2:35pm 10/16/14 2:35pm

OK people, this guy just won the best little planet photo ever contest

Photographers, you all can give up because astrophotographer Göran Strand just won the best little planet photo ever contest with this amazing photo featured in NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day: The equinox night on the above Lake Storsjön in Jämtland, Sweden, with auroras and all. » 10/03/14 9:01pm 10/03/14 9:01pm

Stunning Depictions of Ancient Comets That Scared the Hell Out of Humans

Long-tailed stars and mysterious glowing fireballs from the heavens were among the biggest and most fearful mysteries for stargazing humans throughout history. With the development of astronomy science, comets, meteors, meteorites and shooting stars became familiar objects of our universe, and with the advent of… » 10/01/14 4:07pm 10/01/14 4:07pm

Moon Seismometers From Apollo Are Still Helping Solve Physics Mysteries

When Apollo astronauts landed on the moon, they left flags and footprints, yes, but also dozens of scientific instruments. Among them was a network of seismometers originally meant to study moonquakes. Forty years later, data from these seismometers are still helping physicists understand how to detect elusive… » 9/30/14 5:25pm 9/30/14 5:25pm

The Plan to Make the Moon an Enormous Detector of Cosmic Rays

About once a century on any given square kilometer of Earth, a cosmic ray hits with mind-boggling intensity. The teeny tiny subatomic particle from space comes careening in with more than 10 million times the energy of particles shot out by the LHC. Where do these ultrahigh energy cosmic rays come from? Astronomers… » 9/05/14 2:23pm 9/05/14 2:23pm

An Asteroid With Active Volcanoes Once Wandered the Early Universe

Back in 2008, astronomers detected an asteroid heading straight toward Earth. For the first time ever, they tracked the rock as it veered towards our planet and exploded over the Nubian desert. Now, pieces of the recovered meteorite are beginning to reveal its secrets—like how it once harbored an active volcano. » 8/20/14 2:18pm 8/20/14 2:18pm

The 5 Massive New Telescopes That Will Change Astronomy Forever

The biggest building boom in the history of astronomy is upon us. In Chile and Hawaii and in space, astronomers are getting powerful telescopes that dwarf the current state-of-the-art instruments. When the mountain blasting and the mirror polishing are all done, we will have the clearest and most detailed views of… » 7/25/14 9:00am 7/25/14 9:00am