New Horizons may be millions of miles beyond Pluto in the Kuiper Belt right now, but that hasn’t stopped the spacecraft from continuing to beam back glorious imagery of its encounter with our solar system’s weirdest little ice world. A new NASA video reveals the most detailed images of Pluto’s surface yet—and they’re…
Good news, prospective Martian colonists: that frigid hellscape where you hope to spend out your days alone and in darkness is currently in a “warm phase.” Scientists are now reporting the first observational evidence that Mars recently emerged from an ice age, which can only mean one thing. It’s time to bring out the…
In need of a quick refresher course on, well, the science of pretty much everything? Here’s a cheeky, irreverent summation of the universe in just four minutes from Exub1a, YouTube purveyor of “spacey stuff and existential angst.”
If a massive solar storm struck the Earth today, it could wipe out our technology and hurl us back to the dark ages. Lucky for us, events like this are quite rare. But four billion years ago, extreme space weather was probably the norm. And rather than bringing the apocalypse, it might have kickstarted life.
Mars once featured a vast ocean that covered its northern hemisphere. New evidence suggests this Martian sea experienced at least two “mega-tsunamis” that were triggered by meteor impacts. Traces of these cataclysmic events can still be seen on the Martian surface, and they could still contain traces of ancient life.
Chances are you’ve never heard of Allan Sandage, but the late astronomer was a major figure in 20th century astronomy, particularly known for his work on how stars evolve. Late in life, he discovered two other scientists had beaten him to that breakthrough, but Sandage died before he could finish investigating. His…
Pluto may be long gone, but NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is by no means finished with the outer solar system. For the second time, New Horizons has observed 1994 JR1, a 90-mile wide Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) that orbits over 3 billion miles from the sun.
In a few billion years, the oceans will boil away and the atmosphere will burn up as our sun expands into a red giant. It’ll be game-over for life on Earth, but in the outer solar system, the party will just be getting started. Europa and Enceladus will melt into ocean moons, offering a refuge for any post humanoid…
Scientists from the University of Texas at Arlington used planetarium software to recreate the night sky of ancient Greece, the better to peg the date when lyric poet Sappho penned one of her most famous verses. They describe their findings in a new paper in the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage.
Like snowflakes, no two planetary systems are the same. Astronomers have now observed one of the most unique planetary arrangements ever seen: four miniature Neptunes locked in perfect synch with each other—and it’s been like this for billions of years.
Using an unprecedented technique of matching stars to the locations of temples on Earth, a 15-year-old Canadian student says he’s discovered a forgotten Maya city in Mexico. Images from space suggest he may actually be onto something—but experts say it’s something much simpler.
Remember all that fuss last year about the supposed discovery of an alien megastructure? A new study is taking issue with some of the data used in support of the theory, claiming that the observations were tarnished by the inconsistent use of telescopes down here on Earth.
In a few years, powerful new telescopes will usher in a search for habitable worlds outside our solar system. And TRAPPIST-1—a dim, tepid star just a smidge larger than Jupiter—is one of the first places we’ll look. It’s only forty light years away, and it’s home to several promising, Earth-sized exoplanets.
A first-of-its-kind space rock filled with pristine material from the formation of the Earth itself has returned to the inner solar system, after billions of years in the cosmic boondocks. And it could help us piece together our planet’s origin story.
Something strange is going on in a distant corner of our universe. About a dozen supermassive black holes are all shooting enormous jets of energy in roughly the same direction. It could be a cosmic coincidence—but some astronomers suspect there are larger forces at play.
What better way to celebrate Hubble’s 26th birthday than by releasing a gorgeous new photo taken by the intrepid space telescope. Behold the Bubble Nebula, a massive expanse of gas and dust located 8,000 light-years from Earth.
On the grandest scale, our universe is a network of galaxies tied together by the force of gravity. Cosmic Web, a new effort led by cosmologists and designers at Northeastern’s Center for Complex Network Research, offers a roadmap toward understanding how all of those tremendous clusters of stars connect—and the…
A few million years ago, humans’ ancestors might have gazed in wonder at a strange, brilliant blue spot in the night sky. It was the aftermath of an epic stellar explosion, maybe two. Had these supernovae occurred a little closer to home, life on Earth would have been toast.
Yesterday, Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner made the mind-blowing announcement that they want to build a fleet of interstellar spacecraft that can travel at relativistic speeds—up to 20 percent the speed of light. But it’s not just about reaching our nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, although that is the new…