astronomy

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Summer Gets Rare Welcome: Strawberry Moon

A couple of cosmic events collide for the first time in a half-century

(Newser) - On Monday, everyone in the Northern Hemisphere can finally say "Welcome, summer!"—and also lift their eyes up to witness a different cosmic phenomenon that only happens in tandem with the summer solstice every half-century or so, ScienceAlert notes. The strawberry moon, a full moon in June... More »

Scientists Detect 2nd Gravitational Wave From Crashing Black Holes

A crucial second note heard in soundtrack of chaotic cosmos

(Newser) - Astronomers say they've heard the echoes of two more crashing black holes—a discovery that hints that the unseen violence of the universe may be pretty common, the AP reports. They detected a second gravitational wave. That's the warp in the fabric in the cosmos that Albert Einstein... More »

A 'Biscuit-Sized' Rock May Clear Up a Space Mystery

In a Swedish quarry, scientists find an 'extinct' meteorite

(Newser) - The Earth has just given up a very alien secret: Scientists are reporting in Nature Communications that a rock found in a limestone quarry in Sweden is the first of its kind to have been discovered on our planet, a "biscuit-sized" remnant of a space rock they believe collided... More »

Mars and Earth About to Get Cozy, Astronomically Speaking

Monday will mark the closest the red planet has been to us in 11 years

(Newser) - This Memorial Day, Mars attacks. OK, so the red planet won't actually be attacking, but it will be closer to Earth than it's been in 11 years. ABC News reports Mars will be within 46.8 million miles of Earth at 5:34pm Eastern time on Monday. At... More »

Mercury to Make Rare Trip Across the Sun

It happens about 13 times per century

(Newser) - What one astronomer calls a "rare astronomical phenomenon" will play out on Monday. For more than seven hours beginning at 7:12am ET, Mercury will appear as a tiny black dot passing directly in front of the sun, reports National Geographic . Viewers across much of the globe, including North... More »

3 Surprise Planets Could Host ETs

Scientists spot them orbiting a dwarf star

(Newser) - Astronomers searching for life beyond our solar system may need to look no farther than a little, feeble, nearby star. A Belgian-led team reported Monday that it's discovered three Earth-sized planets orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star less than 40 light-years away. It's the first time planets have been... More »

Century-Old Evidence of Exoplanet Stuns Scientists

It came 70 years ahead of first exoplanet discovery

(Newser) - Polluted white dwarf stars—which host planetary debris like calcium, magnesium, and iron—are key in helping astronomers discover what's beyond our solar system. "The mechanism that creates the rings of planetary debris, and the deposition onto the stellar atmosphere, requires the gravitational influence of full-fledged planets,"... More »

Astronomers Spot 'Biggest Structure in Universe'

Galaxy supercluster is 1B light years across

(Newser) - A newly identified cosmic feature is so enormous that it has left some of the finest minds in astronomy well and truly boggled. The BOSS—named after the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey—is a wall, or supercluster, of at least 830 galaxies connected by filaments of gas, which Smithsonian likens... More »

Fans of Jupiter, This Is Your Night

Planet will be at its brightest in the night sky

(Newser) - People in other parts of the world are being treated to a solar eclipse this week, but Americans get a consolation prize with a terrific view of Jupiter in the night sky. Earth is passing between the sun and Jupiter, making the planet as bright as it will be for... More »

Mysterious Repeating Signals Are Arriving From Deep Space

'Fast radio bursts' are now even more baffling to astronomers

(Newser) - Researchers just announced the discovery of radio signals from beyond our galaxy that are behaving in strange ways. Fast radio bursts—or FRBs—are very rare, very quick blasts of radio waves originating billions of light years away, Popular Science explains. It's unclear where exactly in the universe they'... More »

This Is the Farthest Galaxy Ever Spotted, Astronomers Say

They've discovered a galaxy from a time when the universe was just a 'toddler'

(Newser) - Astronomers say they have discovered a hot, star-popping galaxy that is far, far away—farther than any previously detected, from a time when the universe was a mere toddler of about 400 million years old. By employing a different technique—one that has raised some skepticism—a team of astronomers... More »

'Astonishing' Clay Tablet May Rewrite Math History

Babylonian insights predate calculus

(Newser) - A newly deciphered clay tablet from ancient Babylon has science writers buzzing because it just might "rewrite the history of mathematics," as Live Science puts it. The tablet shows that Babylonians were using sophisticated geometric principles to track the path of Jupiter in the sky, says researcher Mathieu... More »

5 Brightest Planets Begin Rising Together

Look for them: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury

(Newser) - Like stargazing in the pre-dawn hours? Then here you go: The sky's five brightest planets visible from Earth will soon be lined up for the first time in over a decade, the Conversation reports. Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus—which have been up visible together since early January—will... More »

New Definition Could Make the Moon a Planet

Astronomer's mathematical formula could help in identifying exoplanets

(Newser) - You'll remember the International Astronomical Union's redefinition of a planet in 2006 as the move that demoted Pluto to a mere dwarf planet. But scientists recall the change for another reason: The new classification is incredibly vague. Basically, any nearly round celestial body that orbits the sun and... More »

Farthest Object in Our Solar System Has Been Found

Dwarf planet V774104 is about 9.6B miles from the sun

(Newser) - Think Pluto is far from us? It's a hop, skip, and a jump away compared to what may be the most distant object in our solar system, which is "three times farther than Pluto is from the sun," astronomer Scott Sheppard explains. Sheppard and his colleagues used... More »

Planet-Hunting Professor Quits in Disgrace

UC Berkeley didn't punish him for groping students

(Newser) - One of the world's leading experts on planets outside our solar system has had to resign in disgrace because he couldn't keep his hands off female students. Astronomer Geoff Marcy stepped down from his professorship at the University of California, Berkeley on Wednesday after it emerged that a... More »

Earth's Prime Meridian Is Now Mostly Marked by a Trash Can

Science explains how the important longitudinal line moved 334 feet

(Newser) - Don't tell the swarms of tourists paying nearly $15 to pose with one leg on either side of the prime meridian at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, but Earth's true prime meridian actually passes through a park approximately 334 feet to the east near a trash can.... More »

Age-Old Mystery About the Human Eye May Be Solved

We can see a single candle flame from 1.6 miles away, say astronomers

(Newser) - The power of human eyesight is often debated with a single question: How far can the human eye see a single candle flame? A quick Google search turns up guesses ranging from three to 30 miles, but no one has tried to find out for certain—partly because of the... More »

Friday's Rare Blue Moon the Last Until 2018

There are 13 full moons this year

(Newser) - When Friday's blue moon arrives, don't expect it to be blue—a blue moon isn't actually that color, reports CNN , though some full moons can indeed have a bluish hue. The phrase "once in a blue moon" refers to something that is rare, and it was... More »

Physicist Unearths Key Detail About Iconic WWII Photo

His finding debunks several people's claims to be the ones kissing

(Newser) - The party started early on VJ Day. Though the official announcement that World War II ended wasn't made until closer to 7pm on Aug. 14, 1945, a scientific assessment of the famous photo of the couple kissing in celebration, called "VJ Day in Times Square" and widely known... More »

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