Deep space is a wonderland of strange and awe-inspiring sights, but few astronomical curiosities match the exquisite beauty of the Twin Jet Nebula, a dying, binary star that looks like a pair of iridescent butterfly wings. »
The round, bright, yellow objects near the center of this Hubble image are part of a massive galaxy cluster. If you look closely, several blue galaxies seem to form a wide circle around the cluster, and they all look strangely similar. That’s because they’re actually reflections of the same galaxy. »
When it launches in October 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope will become the largest optical telescope in space. With its 6.5 meter wide mirror, it will gather infrared light from up to 13.5 billion light years away, giving astronomers a look at the earliest moments of the universe. But the mirror is too big to… »
We all know that major storms can wreak havoc, flooding cities and decimating infrastructure. But there’s an even bigger worry than wind and rain: space weather. If a massive solar storm hit us, our technology would be wiped out. The entire planet could go dark. »
Forgive this barred spiral galaxy if it looks a little messy. It’s the survivor of a galactic collision that bent and twisted the galaxy’s original shape, according to astronomers. »
Naming a planet used to be an honor reserved for the astronomer who discovered it, but these days, we’re finding too many to keep up. Now, the International Astronomical Union has opened the sacred process up to the internet, bless their brave souls. »
It’s generally assumed that we will eventually find signs of life in the galaxy. But rarely do we consider searching for advanced civilizations that have destroyed themselves. Here’s how we could do it—and what the search for dead aliens could tell us about our own future. »
Filters aren’t just for Instagram anymore; the Cassini orbiter snapped this wide-angle shot of Saturn using an infrared filter to help scientists get a better look at clouds in the gas giant’s atmosphere. »
This gorgeous filtered image is a 6,000-year-old snapshot of a slowly dying star. When the star at the center of the Little Gem Nebula reached the end of its lifespan, it began ejecting its outer layers into space in glowing clouds of gas. Its stellar wind pushes the gas outward into this colorful bubble.
If you’d like to wish on a shooting star, this week is a great opportunity. The Perseid meteor shower will peak on Wednesday, August 12 and Thursday, August 13. »
These are the galaxies of Hickson Compact Group 87, about 400 million light years from Earth, as seen from the mountains of Chile. »
The Moon may be Earth’s kid brother, but Saturn’s moons seem more gnats on an elephant in this incredible image captured by the Cassini probe. »
Most of us will never set foot on Mars, but thanks to NASA’s unceasing public outreach campaign, now we can all imagine what that might be like. To commemorate the three year anniversary of the Curiosity rover’s Martian landing, NASA has unveiled two new web tools that allow you to explore the Red Planet’s surface and… »
Europe’s MSG-4 geostationary weather satellite is up and running after its launch on July 15. Earlier today, it’s Spinning Enhanced Visible Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) snapped its first image of Earth. And yes, we are impressed.
Last week, a slew of scientific papers told the story of comet lander Philae’s bumpy touchdown, comet 67P’s surprisingly fluffy surface, and — most exciting — the discovery of life’s building blocks there. We haven’t found life. But we may have found part of life’s origin story, buried on this icy rock.
Your eyes are good—but how good? There’s a long-standing argument about the distance from which humans can observe a burning candle, but now a pair of astronomers has calculated an answer based on the science of how we see the stars. »
Last week, the human race met its very first Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star in the habitable zone. Kepler-452b’s discovery was met with resounding excitement, but the news was bittersweet. Because life on this distant world — if it exists at all — could be facing imminent extinction.
Recently acquired images of Tethys, one of the ice moons of Saturn, have given scientists their best view yet of several “unusual, arc-shaped reddish streaks” that sweep across the satellite’s surface. »
NASA has just released a stunning new topographic map of Ceres, the other dwarf planet astronomers are getting to study up close and personal this summer. Unlike Pluto’s freakishly smooth and youthful surface, Ceres’s exterior is riddled with craters, creating a battered old landscape of peaks and valleys. »