Stars are colossal fusion reactors, burning hydrogen into helium. As the nuclei fuse lighter elements into heavier elements, massive amounts of energy are released. A new game sets you the task of nucleosynthesis, building hydrogen into iron, and it's surprisingly fun.
In the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers recount the fascinating case of an electrician who, after sustaining a 14,000-volt shock to his left shoulder, presented with "bilateral stellate anterior subcapsular opacities of the lens." Translation: Starburst-shaped cataracts.
This star is RS Puppis, and it isn't just the stellar equivalent of a pretty face; it's absolutely crucial to our understanding of the universe. This is a Cepheid variable star, which in part means its brightness increases and decreases on an exact, predictable schedule. And because it's surrounded by a giant nebula…
Located roughly 5,000 light-years from our solar system, NGC 6559 isn't one of the galaxy's bigger stellar nurseries, only measuring a few light-years across. But it packs a whole lot of cosmic chaos into that relatively small patch of space, as stars keep popping up inside the cloud.
In the spring of the year 1006, Earth's sky was drastically altered by the appearance of a supernova that was brighter than the entire combined night sky. Mentioned in historical records throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America, this supernova was likely bright enough to be visible during daylight hours,…
This image from the Hubble Telescope shows part of the Carina Nebula, located roughly 7,500 light-years from Earth. This massive cosmic cloud is a stellar incubator, but the newborn star found inside has to fight its way out by firing off powerful, super-fast jets. These energetic, narrowly focused jets are known as…
We know that the Milky Way is surrounded by an array of satellite galaxies, the largest of which is the rather aptly named Large Magellanic Cloud. But figuring out exactly how far away our cosmic neighbor is has proved fiendishly difficult.
In 1901, GK Persei was discovered to have gone nova 1,300 lights years from Earth. This time-lapse video captures the expansion of the nova from 1953 through 2011 using images from the Isaac Newton Telescope and the Nordic Optical Telescope, showing off a remarkable display of stellar fireworks.
So the craziest thing happened to me the other day. I was riding around post-apocalyptic North America, delivering the mail, when I came to a city. And this guy straight up asks me to have sex with Olivia Williams! And not Dollhouse Olivia Williams, who is still very attractive, but 1995 Olivia Williams. And get this…
That tiny, insignificant detail? Well, it turns out that the brightest star in the Pismis 24 cluster is actually three stars, possibly more. But don't feel bad for these stars: they're both still 100 times as massive as our Sun.
This planet is a hot Jupiter, meaning it's a massive gas giant that orbits in tight proximity to its star. That may not sound like home, but its star could double for our Sun... if you ignore its location.
This isn't just about when a dying star gobbles up its life-supporting planets, as will happen with our own Sun five billion years from now. A star's internal chemistry can doom a planet's life long before the star itself dies.
When your constellation is actually named after a unicorn, there are certain expectations of beauty and grandeur you've just got to live up to. And this particular star-forming region inside the constellation Monoceros most definitely delivers on that promise.
If Saturn was a star, it might well be Fomalhaut. Much like our neighboring gas giant, this star is surrounded by a gigantic ring of dust. The disc gets its sharp, ring-like structure from two planets, one on either side.
This beautiful time-lapse video was taken from the world's highest revolving restaurant atop a mountain in the Swiss Alps. It shows the stately procession of stars as they move through the night sky. So why are some stars not moving?
Red dwarfs are by far the universe's most common stars, but it really doesn't seem like they're made for supporting life. The latest simulations suggest that the tidal forces of these stars' gravity would wipe out any chance of life.
Just like our Sun will five billion years from now, KIC 05807616 ran out of hydrogen and expanded into a massive red giant, wreaking havoc on its solar system. The results might just be the planetary equivalent of cell division.
When humanity sends spacecraft beyond our solar system, those starships will have to know exactly where they are at all times. A newly proposed cosmic GPS system can track a spacecraft's location to within five kilometers anywhere in the galaxy.
At first glance, there doesn't seem to be anything particularly remarkable about star HIP 11952 and its two planets. But its iron-poor composition reveals these planets are 13 billion years old — almost as ancient as the Big Bang itself.
The wildest ride in the galaxy is found on hypervelocity planets. These worlds got too close to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, and have been flung away at a twentieth of the speed of light.