Stunning Pinwheel Nebula Is a Cosmic Cataclysm in the Making

This image of a dusty, gas-rich nebula looks pretty, but appearances can be deceiving. Known as a Wolf-Rayet star system, it’s poised to unleash a catastrophic gamma-ray burst when it finally goes supernova. What’s remarkable about this particular Wolf-Rayet system, however, is that it’s the first to be discovered in our own galaxy. Cue the ominous music... Read More >>

NASA Image of Merging Galactic Clusters Looks Suspiciously Like the USS Enterprise

Humanity’s current understanding of physics may suggest faster-than-light travel is impossible, but researchers here on Earth can still observe happening in places much too far away to ever actually visit (and generally in the distant past). One of them is a galactic collision that, at least from our planetary vantage point, looks an awful lot like a craft going where no man has ever gone before. Read More >>

Juno’s Latest Pic of Clouds on Jupiter Is an Absolute Stunner

The largest planet in our Solar System also happens to be one of the most beautiful, as the Juno spacecraft’s latest image reveals. Read More >>

A Powerful Solar Storm Likely Detonated Dozens of US Sea Mines During the Vietnam War

An analysis of recently declassified US military documents confirms suspicions that, during the late stages of the Vietnam War, a powerful solar storm caused dozens of sea mines to explode. It’s a stark reminder of the Sun’s potential to disrupt our technological activities in unexpected ways. Read More >>

Astronomers Have Stumbled Upon One of the Most Ancient Stars in the Universe

A tiny star located about 1,590 light-years from Earth could be as old as 13.53 billion years, making it one of the most ancient stars ever discovered. Read More >>

Telescope Drama Could Thwart the Hunt for Extraterrestrial Life

For nearly 20 years, NASA has been planning and constructing a telescope unlike any ever built before: the James Webb Space Telescope. It will change the way scientists see the most distant galaxies and intensify the hunt for extraterrestrial life; it will answer outstanding questions about the birth and death of stars and planets. It is the future of astronomy—but it’s causing trouble. JWST’s high price and decade of delays could stymie the development of future telescopes, impacting the course of astronomy for the next 30 years. Read More >>

Hawaiian Supreme Court Okays Controversial Planned Telescope

The Hawaiian Supreme Court ruled that the Thirty Meter Telescope project can build on Mauna Kea, clearing the legal way for construction despite protests from the Native Hawaiian community. Read More >>

Why a Mission to a Visiting Interstellar Object Could Be Our Best Bet for Finding Aliens

Life may exist elsewhere in the Milky Way galaxy, though try as they might, scientists have yet to detect any sign of it. Part of the problem has to do with the size of space; finding traces of organic substances or the waste signatures of alien megastructures isn’t easy at such cosmic distances. Fortunately, there’s the possibility that alien life will come to us in the form of interstellar objects. Read More >>

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Just Smashed Two Records in a Single Day

NASA’s historic mission to “touch the Sun” just reached two important milestones: It now holds the record for the closest approach to the Sun by a human-built object – and also the record for the fastest spacecraft ever sent into space. Read More >>

Astronomers May Have Spotted One of Earth’s Ghostly Dust Moons

A ghostly dust satellite or two might be orbiting the Earth, according to new research building on a 60-year-old idea. Read More >>

See the Glorious Winners of the 2018 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest

A stunning photograph of America’s Badlands—with the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies in the background—captured the top prize of this year’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. Read More >>

NASA’s New ‘Gamma’ Constellations Are Partly Made From Black Holes (And The TARDIS)

You'd think with all the astronomical discoveries we've made over the years, we'd have plenty of stars to make new constellations from. Like, thousands of them. And in a way, we do. But why use boring old stars, when you can use black holes instead? Read More >>

Launching Tonight: A Mission to the Best Planet (Mercury)

Mercury is the best planet, in my humble but well-researched opinion. Sure, it may be small, rocky, and lacking an atmosphere, but how it came to look the way it does absolutely baffles scientists. It might even have water and carbon hidden away from the beginning of the Solar System. Tonight, scientists from the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are launching a mission that could uncover some of the secrets of this mysterious rock. Read More >>

Trying Understand the Size of This New Space Discovery Will Short-Circuit Your Brain

Light’s speed limit means that looking into the distance is the same as looking into the past: the farther incoming light travels, the older it is. Out in the distance, scientists have spotted a truly enormous, ancient “proto-supercluster,” dubbed Hyperion, which could help explain how the universe forms some of its largest structures. Read More >>

New Supernova Discovery Explains Landmark Neutron Star Collision

August 17, 2017 heralded one of the most important observations in astronomy’s history: two neutron stars colliding, sending both light and gravitational waves toward the Earth. But it left one question wide open: how two of these stellar corpses could have ended up orbiting each other in the first place. Read More >>