NASA’s New Exoplanet Hunter Releases Incredible First Image

On the way to its final orbit around Earth, NASA’s planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has sailed by the moon and snapped its first picture of space. We’ve said several times that TESS would be able to look at 200,000 stars in the 300 light-years around the Earth—but maybe this new shot will show you what that really means. Read More >>

Hints of the First Stars Seen in 13-Billion-Year-Old Oxygen

Scientists have spotted 13-billion-year-old oxygen in a distant galaxy—a signal of stars forming during the universe’s earliest days. Read More >>

Our Galaxy Was Walloped by a Neighbour in Its Not-So-Distant Past, New Analysis Suggests

Space is a chaotic, ever-changing place. But that’s not limited to exploding stars and colliding black holes. Even our own Milky Way galaxy could have recently received a massive jolt from which it is still recovering. Read More >>

Incredible New View of the Milky Way Is the Largest Star Map Ever

The European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft team has dropped its long-awaited trove of data about 1.7 billion stars. You can see a new visualisation of all those stars in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies above, but you really need to zoom in to appreciate just how much stuff there is in the map. Yes, the specks are stars. Read More >>

A Visiting Star Jostled Our Solar System 70,000 Years Ago

Around the same time our ancestors left Africa, a dim red dwarf star came to within 0.8 light-years of our Sun, marking the closest known flyby of a star to our Solar System. New research suggests Scholz’s Star, as it’s known, left traces of this interstellar encounter by perturbing some comets in the outer Oort Cloud. Read More >>

Rare Type of Supernova Extinguishes Star at Unprecedented Speed

Supernovae produce some of the most powerful explosions in the cosmos, expelling a doomed star’s contents at velocities reaching 10 per cent the speed of light. It usually takes a few weeks or months for a supernova to fade into nothingness, but astronomers have now documented a record-setting case in which a star was extinguished in just a few days. Read More >>

Could the Weirdness of Quantum Physics Produce a New Kind of Star?

It would be silly to think that scientists and astronomers have spotted all of the different kinds of weird things that exist in space. After all, we’re pretty sure the universe is mostly composed of dark matter and dark energy that we haven’t directly detected. But new research seems to imply that there are entirely different kinds of stars hiding in the laws of physics—and that’s something quite surprising. Read More >>

Scientists Observe Red Giant Waking Up Neutron Star in a Flash

Neutron stars aren’t the twinkle-twinkle kind you typically see in the night sky. They’re stellar corpses, and incredibly dense sources of gravity, with perhaps 1.5 times the mass of the sun packed into an area less than a dozen miles across. Around 9,000 light years away from Earth, one neutron stars seems to have befriended a red giant. And scientists observed the new relationship beginning in a flash of energy. Read More >>

NASA Wants to Fly Your Name Into the Sun

The fine folks at NASA are sending a spacecraft to the Sun, and they want to send a little piece of you along with it. Here’s how to get your name on the ultimate “fry” list. Read More >>

Scientists Discover Long-Sought Evidence of First Stars Forming

When you sweep across the FM radio band, you don’t always hear music—mostly, you hear static. Lots of this ambient noise is actually garbled signals from throughout the Milky Way. If you had perhaps the most sensitive FM receiver on Earth, you might pick up the tiniest dip in volume: a signal that comes not from our galaxy, but from the earliest stars in the Universe. Read More >>

Amateur Astronomer Spots Supernova Right as It Begins

Amateur astronomer Victor Buso was testing his camera-telescope setup in Argentina back in September 2016, pointing his Newtonian telescope at a spiral galaxy called NGC613. He collected light from the galaxy for the next hour and a half, taking short exposures to keep out the Santa Fe city lights. When he looked at his images, he realised he’d captured a potential supernova—an enormous flash of light and energy bursting off of a distant star. Read More >>

This Is the Most Distant Confirmed Supernova Ever Observed

Supernovae are already some of the brightest explosions in the universe—but there’s a more mysterious type, called superluminous supernovae, that can shine a hundred times brighter than the usual ones. And on 22 August 2016, astronomers spotted one whose light travelled over 10 billion years to reach us. Read More >>

Scientists Spot One of the Oldest Stars in the Milky Way

Meet J0815+4729. If it were a Pokémon, it would be kind of like the Milky Way’s level-three Rattata. Read More >>

Remarkable Image Captures Surface Details of a Dying Star Located 530 Light-Years Away

By combining the power of four telescopes, an international team of astronomers has captured the most detailed image yet of a distant star—an observation that’s meshing well with pre-existing theories about the physical characteristics of giant stars. Read More >>

Nearby Starburst Surprises Scientists By Having Way Too Many Massive Stars

Our Milky Way galaxy isn’t alone in this corner of space—it’s orbited by a few smaller dwarf galaxies, including the Large Magellanic Cloud. Inside that cloud is 30 Doradus (or the Tarantula Nebula), a “starburst” where stars are formed at a much higher rate than the surrounding area. And 30 Doradus has too many massive stars. Read More >>