astronomy

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Observatory Gives Real-Time View of Doomed Comet

The newly discovered comet is headed straight for the sun

(Newser) - Scientists at the US Naval Research Laboratory discovered a brand-new comet Thursday morning—just in time for it to smash into the sun, CNET reports. It's unclear if the comet will survive long enough to even get a name. The "sungrazing comet"—a poetic name for a... More »

In Friday's Sky, a Triple Feature

Snow moon, eclipse, and a comet will be visible

(Newser) - Consider it a triple feature: Lucky observers who look to the sky Friday night into early Saturday will be treated to a February "snow" moon as well as a lunar eclipse and the flyby of a comet, reports USA Today . As the February full moon crosses through the outer... More »

The Moon Is Older Than We Previously Thought

It's 4.51B years old, according to a new study

(Newser) - It turns out the moon is older than many scientists suspected: a ripe 4.51 billion years old. That's the newest estimate, thanks to rocks and soil collected by the Apollo 14 moonwalkers in 1971, the AP reports. A research team reported Wednesday that the moon formed within 60... More »

Mystery Cosmic Waves Traced to Distant Galaxy

Source is a 'faint and puny galaxy'

(Newser) - Astronomers searching for the origins of a mysterious blast of radio waves have solved the puzzle: a tiny galaxy billions of light years from Earth, Space reports. So-called FRBs (fast radio bursts) twinkle in the sky for only a millisecond, yet they radiate more energy than the sun ever could... More »

Comet to Pass by Earth on New Year's Eve

Comet 45P comes around every five years

(Newser) - While the rest of us are ringing in the New Year with a chambong (that's a beer bong for champagne), the night sky will be welcoming 2017 with a comet. CBS News reports Comet 45P, aka Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, will appear near the crescent moon on Saturday night. The... More »

Pioneering Astronomer Vera Rubin Dies

She overcame sexist barriers to discover dark matter

(Newser) - Vera Rubin, a pioneering astronomer who helped find powerful evidence of dark matter, has died, her son said Monday. She was 88. Rubin's scientific achievements earned her numerous awards and honors, including a National Medal of Science presented by President Bill Clinton in 1993 "for her pioneering research... More »

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 »

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