space
Planet or Star? Either Way, This Rogue Object Is Really Weird

Various news outlets have been discussing a strange object in space, which may or may not be a planet. New measurements show that what was thought to be a brown dwarf – essentially a “failed star” that is too small to generate nuclear fusion, but too big to be a planet – might be a planet after all. But that’s far from the strangest part of this story. Read More >>

pluto
These New Maps of Pluto and Its Moon Charon Are the Most Detailed Yet

By meticulously stitching together photos taken from two cameras aboard the New Horizons spacecraft, a team of scientists has compiled the most accurate maps of Pluto and Charon to date. Read More >>

space
Astronomers Have Captured First Direct Evidence of an Exoplanet Being Born

At this point, we’ve spotted several thousand exoplanets—there’s nothing super exciting anymore about finding a distant star with several worlds orbiting it. But today, scientists are announcing that they have seen an exoplanet in the middle of forming. Read More >>

space
New Technique Reveals Hidden Infant Planets Orbiting a Newborn Star

Since the 1990s, scientists have detected thousands of exoplanets orbiting distant stars, but the discovery of baby protoplanets embedded within stellar expanses of gas and dust has proven to be a challenge. An international team of astronomers has used a new technique to finally discover not one, but three infant planets around a newborn star—an incredible finding that’s affirming long-held assumptions about planet formation. Read More >>

giz asks
What Shapes Are Things in Outer Space?

It’s an orgy of geometry, here on Earth. You got all kinds of shapes: Squares, trapezoids, even the occasional rhombus. Apples, desk-chairs, and dandelions—just an abundance of shape-having stuff. Outer space, in contrast, is minimally decorated: asteroids, stars, planets, galaxies. Big-picture stuff. We know the Earth is round—or, at least, most of us do—but what about the other stuff? What shapes are twirling around up there, and why do they look like that? Read More >>

space
Giant Planet Orbiting a Brown Dwarf Spotted, Re-Opening Debate Over What Makes a Planet

Scientists have discovered a planet a lot like Jupiter orbiting a dim star, if you can even call it a star—it’s nothing like our sun. The finding once again makes us wonder: what is a planet, anyway? Read More >>

science
Ice Crystals in Diamonds Reveal Pockets of Water Deep in Earth’s Mantle

Diamonds, the super-strong and brilliant crystals of carbon atoms produced under the Earth’s crushing pressures, are typically valued for their beauty and durability. But scientists also value them for another reason: They contain all kinds of hidden messages about the Earth’s mantle. You just need the right tools to read them. Read More >>

space
Fundamental Equation of Quantum Physics Also Describes Rings and Disks in Space

Physicists’ main goal is to be able to predict what will happen in the future based on patterns they’ve already observed, whether in massive systems of stars or tiny groups of atoms. Predicting changes over time usually requires developing new mathematical equations. But a researcher at California Institute of Technology recently discovered that a well-known formula, Schrödinger’s equation, governs two vastly different things: particles smaller than an atom and the disks of matter that fill the universe. Read More >>

space
This Picture of Jupiter’s Swirly Blue Pole Is Magnificent

I’m not usually one of those “check out this beautiful planet photo” people (JK, I am). But seriously, the images coming from the citizen scientists looking at Juno data are all incredible. I’m not sure how this latest one can even be real. Read More >>

space
NASA’s Juno Mission Just Dropped Its First Huge Pile of Results

There’s no drama quite like space drama. And Juno’s flight to Jupiter has been about as dramatic as a sci-fi thriller can get. Last October, Juno’s engine system malfunctioned, causing NASA to delay the orbiter’s planned approach into a 14-day “science orbit.” This February, NASA decided to forego the science orbit engine burn entirely, keeping the spacecraft in its much longer 53.5 day orbit. But today, we’re finally getting some good news. Read More >>

space
Tell Me This New Planetary Object Isn’t a Doughnut

Planets sort of look like big basketballs in space, floating around aimlessly. Sometimes they have rings. Other times, they look like gnocchi. More or less, to the average stargazer, planets have roughly the same shape—but a pair of scientists has just thrown a most delicious curveball into this whole equation. Apparently, doughnut planets might be a thing. Read More >>

microsoft
Microsoft’s New Surface Pro Might Fix Its Loudest Problem

Microsoft held a big Surface event in Shanghai this morning. While the event was basically impossible to watch in the west, with a broken liveblog and zero English livestreams, savvy viewers (and those fluent in Chinese) might have caught the big news: There’s a new Surface Pro. It’s been more than sixteen months since Microsoft’s landmark tablet-laptop hybrid saw an update. In the intervening time, Microsoft has seen a lot of competitors attempt to encroach on the 2-1 device space. While some of those clones have been aesthetically delightful, few have approached the slick combination of design and quality the Surface Pro delivers. So a refresh is welcome, and this year’s devices could fix some of the Surface Pro’s most annoying problems. Read More >>

space
Scientists Are Already Planning the Next Mission to Pluto

The Pluto-shaped void in our hearts has yet to be filled by Planet 9, copious amounts of Ben & Jerry’s, or anything. Ever since the summer of 2015, when NASA’s New Horizons performed a six-month-long reconnaissance flyby study of Pluto and its moons, fans of the dwarf planet have wondered if or when we’d ever go back. According to New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, he and some other planetary scientists are already drawing up the blueprint for a return trip—and this time, it’d be much more than just a flyby. Read More >>

space
A ‘Lost’ Neptune-Like Planet Has Finally Been Found

It’s got to be hard to be an exoplanet these days, living in the shadow of the everyone’s new favourite system, TRAPPIST-1. But the reality is, there are tons of exoplanets that deserve our love—according to NASA, as of last month, 3,472 exoplanets have been confirmed. Many more are out there, waiting for their chance in the spotlight. We just need to find them. Read More >>

space
The Word ‘Planet’ is So Important, and Yet Such Bullshit

Millennials have already lost so much: A relatively secure housing market, the hope of stable careers, and an Earth that wasn’t completely littered with the mistakes of Baby Boomers. So when Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet in 2006, it was another nail in our fragile hearts. But that hasn’t stopped astronomers of all ages debating about whether or not Pluto—and other objects in our solar system—are, in fact, planets. Pluto could be a planet, because the very word “planet” is kinda ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, even for experts. Read More >>