astronomy

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Star of Bethlehem May Have Been Something Much Rarer

We might not be able to expect Jesus back for another 500K years at least

(Newser) - Christmas cards and carols have been lying to us for years. The Bible says the Star of Bethlehem—or "Christmas Star"—was followed by Magi bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the birthplace of Jesus. But one Notre Dame professor says the famous star wasn't... More »

People Are Freaking Out About 2017 Solar Eclipse

It's predicted to be a once-in-a-lifetime event

(Newser) - It's still 10 months away, but sky gazers are already bursting with excitement—and booking vacations—over what is predicted to be "one of the most spectacular and widely accessible solar shows of our lifetime," per Mother Nature Network . On Aug. 21, 2017, the US will be... More »

9th Planet May Solve 'Mystery' of Our Solar System

It could explain why orbits are tilted 6 degrees

(Newser) - New research may have solved a "deep-rooted mystery" about our solar system and lent credence to the theory that there's a ninth planet chilling beyond Pluto. (Sorry, buddy.) Researchers at Caltech, including Konstantin Batygin and Mike "Pluto Killer" Brown (who first floated the "Planet Nine"... More »

Moon Will Make a Star Vanish on Tuesday Night

Don't fear: It's just an 'occultation'

(Newser) - Sky watchers will get a bit of a show Tuesday night: People across the Eastern US and much of the Southwest will be able to see the moon move in front of Aldebaran, one of the brightest stars in the night sky, a phenomenon known as a lunar occultation, reports... More »

90 Rocks in Australia Could Rank Up There With Stonehenge

Wurdi Youang formation could hold clues to Aboriginal life, origins of agriculture

(Newser) - An ancient Aboriginal site in Australia could be the world's oldest astronomical observatory, and it's a finding that has the potential to adjust our understanding of the dawn of agriculture, the Guardian reports. Researchers trying to determine the age of the Wurdi Youang arrangement say it could date... More »

You Can Safely Ignore Hype About Friday's 'Black Moon'

Nothing to see here folks, literally

(Newser) - Social media is going wild for the "black moon" coming up on Friday, but it turns out it's not much of a big deal. (Despite some "End of Days" headlines, like so .) First off, you won't be able to see much of anything in the... More »

SETI Investigates 'Interesting' Signal From Deep Space

But don't get too excited about ET just yet

(Newser) - Are aliens living 95 light-years away reaching out to say hello? OK, probably not, but astronomers are nevertheless intrigued by an unusual signal reported out of Russia, reports the Observer . It seems to be coming from the general vicinity of an ancient star in the constellation Hercules known as HD164595,... More »

3B Years Ago, Venus Might've Been Livable

Climate models suggest it was a lot like early Earth

(Newser) - Venus is perhaps best known as "that torrid acid bath next door," as Gizmodo puts it, with toxic thunderclouds and atmospheric pressure capable of crushing bones, per Science Alert —but it might have looked very different 700 million years ago. After plugging topographic data and the hydrogen... More »

NASA to Chase Asteroid That Has Slight Chance of Hitting Earth

But even if Bennu does strike in 170 years, it won't be end times

(Newser) - There's an asteroid out there that might slam into Earth in about 170 years, but contrary to some recent scary-sounding headlines, it won't wipe out Earthlings if it does, reports Space.com . "We're not talking about an asteroid that could destroy the Earth," says Dante... More »

Wacky Planet Has 3 Sunrises, 3 Sunsets Each Day

Or else it spends 140 Earth-years in daylight

(Newser) - Don't let aliens from HD 131399Ab hear you complaining about global warming. The newly discovered planet 340 light-years from Earth in the constellation Centaurus is the first found to be orbiting three suns and is scorching at 1,000 degrees—though that's mostly because of its gas formation.... More »

2 Tiny Moons Orbiting Mars May Be Sole Survivors of Many

Scientists question the prevailing theory of how the 2 moons formed

(Newser) - The two moons that orbit Mars, Phobos and Deimos, are pretty dinky as far as moons go, clocking in at just 14 and 7.7 miles wide respectively and known for being rather pathetic potato-shaped bodies that more closely resemble asteroids. And so astronomers have hypothesized that they are in... More »

Ancient Humans May Have Made Giant Telescopes 6,000 Years Ago

That's 5,600 years before telescopes were invented

(Newser) - Telescopes as we think of them date back 400 years to the Enlightenment. But astronomers studying huge tombs in Portugal believe ancient humans were making their own stargazing instruments 6,000 years ago, the Atlantic reports. Researchers, who presented their findings Wednesday at the National Astronomy Meeting in Britain, believe... More »

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 »

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