19 Stories

Obama Aims for Mars, but Venus May Be More Logical

One drawback: We'd never be able to plant a flag

(Newser) - President Obama wants to have humans on Mars in about 20 years, a goal that prompts all kinds of questions about the logistics of such a feat. But as Brian Fung writes in the Washington Post , it also prompts a more fundamental question: Why Mars and not Venus? As proponents... 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 »

Jupiter, Venus Together This Evening

Look to the west around sunset

(Newser) - Sky watchers get a treat this evening: Venus and Jupiter will appear to be practically on top of each other. The two planets will be separated in the sky by just one-third of a degree, which means you'll be able to cover them both with your pinky finger, notes... More »

Inflatable 'Sky Rover' Could Explore Venus

Aircraft could float in planet's atmosphere for a year

(Newser) - Scientists are eager to learn more about Earth's "sister planet," and a new airship being developed by engineers at Northrop Grumman and L'Garde could help make that happen. The Venus Atmospheric Maneuverable Platform, or VAMP, is described by as a large but extremely light... More »

Venus Making Its Sun Transit

It's the last time this century

(Newser) - Some nice images are coming in from the rare pass of Venus in front of the sun, and NASA TV is covering the event live here . MSNBC is rounding up other images here . If you missed the anticipatory buzz, know that this won't happen again for about 100 years. More »

What We Can Learn From Venus' Transit

Phenomenon could help us identify exoplanets

(Newser) - Astronomers have identified some 2,000 possible far-off worlds called exoplanets, and today could mark a milestone in the quest to confirm their findings. The transit of Venus across the sun could help us learn about the changes in light caused by a planet passing its star—and this knowledge... More »

How to Watch Today's Transit of Venus

Last time until 2117

(Newser) - Tuesday night Bingo will have to wait: Barring the discovery of some fountain of youth, today is the last chance you'll get to watch the second planet cross the sun in a simple, twice-a-century phenomenon called the transit of Venus. All the usual rules apply, notes the Wall Street ... More »

Venus to Cross Sun for Last Time This Century

Transit occurs Tuesday; next one in 2117

(Newser) - This Tuesday, Venus will move between the Earth and the sun—and you may want to catch it now, because you probably won't be around when it happens again in 2117. The event will be visible throughout the US shortly before sunset. On the East Coast, you'll want... More »

Venus, Jupiter Nestle Nice and Close Tonight

Planets will dazzle skywatchers with annual get-together

(Newser) - Look out the window tonight and you'll see two planetary pals coming together for their annual rendezvous. Venus and Jupiter, which have been approaching each other for months, will finally dazzle skywatchers this week by nestling nice and close—from our perspective, in fact, just a few inches apart.... More »

Venus, Jupiter, Moon Come Together This Weekend

Stargazers will be able to see convergence around the world

(Newser) - Venus, Jupiter, and Earth's moon are coming together Saturday and Sunday to put on a brilliant show in the night sky, the AP reports. Venus and Jupiter have already been lining up, and a crescent moon will join them this weekend; stargazers will be able to see the convergence... More »

Venus Has Ozone Layer, Too

It joins Earth and Mars

(Newser) - Venus has joined Earth and Mars in the ozone layer club. A spacecraft from the European Space Agency detected a thin layer about 60 miles above the planet, reports the BBC . Ozone protects Earth from the sun's ultraviolet rays, and astronomers say the discovery could help fine-tune their hunt... More »

Four Planets Align This Month

Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter in rare convergences

(Newser) - This month, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter will take part in a series of what calls "celestial summit meetings." The four planets will converge twice to form a "trio," defined as an instance when three planets fit in a circle with a minimum 5-degree... More »

NASA May Send Probe to Earthbound Asteroid

Rock may hit planet ... in 2182

(Newser) - Somebody call Bruce Willis, because NASA is considering landing a probe on an asteroid that’s hurtling toward Earth. Sounds exciting, right? Well, don’t run for your fallout shelter yet. There’s only a 1-in-1,000 chance the asteroid will hit, and if it does, it won’t happen... More »

Japan's First Lady Boasts of 'UFO Trip to Venus'

She rode on 'triangular' ship to 'really green' planet, Hatoyama writes in book

(Newser) - Japan's quirky new first lady boasts years of colorful experiences, including time as a dancer in the famed Takarazuka troupe—and a trip to space aboard a UFO, according to a book she wrote last year. "While my body was asleep, I think my soul rode on a triangular-shaped... More »

Mysterious Bright Spot Appears on Venus

Scientists suspect volcanic eruption

(Newser) - Astronomers are puzzling over a strange white spot that recently appeared in the clouds of Venus, the BBC reports. The European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft confirmed the spot, originally noticed by an amateur stargazer on July 19. Data suggests it appeared 4 days before that and has been... More »

Where Did Venus' Water Go?

Solar wind appears top culprit in missing hydrogen

(Newser) - Astronomers puzzling over why Venus, formed about the same time as Earth, has so little water may have found a culprit: solar wind, reports. Scientists think both originally had about the same amount; Venus’ warmer temperatures would have caused any oceans to evaporate. Australian scientists think solar... More »

Jupiter, Venus, Moon Converge in Rare Reunion

Spectacular planetary 'huddle' to start tonight

(Newser) - Americans looking at the night sky this weekend will be able to see the three brightest celestial bodies come together for a Thanksgiving reunion, the AP reports. Jupiter and Venus will move closer and appear to be just a finger's width apart by Sunday. By Monday, the crescent moon will... More »

Spectacular Show Awaits Sky Gazers

Venus and Jupiter to converge, and the moon drops in, too

(Newser) - Sky gazers have an exceptional show awaiting them over the next couple of weeks, reports, and the most striking celestial sights will be in the early morning. Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets, will converge, forming a spectacular "double planet" low in the dawn light, and... More »

Lightning Flashes on Venus

Probe's findings have scientists wondering about life on Earth's closest neighbor

(Newser) - Earth-like lightning occurs on Venus, scientists said today in reporting on findings of a European space probe. Cloud-to-cloud lightning takes place about 35 miles above the surface—a phenomenon long suspected but unclear to earthbound observers due to signal interference. Lightning affects atmospheric chemistry, so the findings will allow scientists... More »

19 Stories