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It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a ... Giant Disco Ball in the Sky?

Rocket Lab says its 'Humanity Star' will shine in the sky for next 9 months

(Newser) - What's being described as a "giant disco ball" was launched into space last week from a New Zealand sheep and cattle farm, and astronomers are miffed, the Guardian reports. Rocket Lab, the space exploration startup responsible for hurling the "Humanity Star" skyward, says the 3-foot-wide carbon-fiber orb... More »

Scientists Just Found Smallest Possible Star

Thousands of times dimmer than our own sun

(Newser) - Introducing EBLM J0555-57Ab, which now has the distinction of being the smallest star ever discovered. In fact, scientists at the University of Cambridge say stars cannot possibly get much smaller and still function as stars, per a release at . This one is 600 light-years away from Earth and... More »

Here's What's Left of Donald Trump's Hollywood Star

Vandal decimated Walk of Fame landmark with pickax, sledgehammer—and it's all on tape

(Newser) - He didn't want to destroy it; he said he wanted to pry it out and sell it. But either way, a guy in construction worker getup smashed Donald Trump's star to bits on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Wednesday morning—and now the LAPD is on the hunt,... More »

Trump Finally Gets His 'Border Wall'

Around his Hollywood star, that is

(Newser) - Donald Trump finally got his border wall Tuesday—just not where he expected. Los Angeles-based street artist Plastic Jesus erected a 6-inch-tall wall—complete with barbed wire and "keep out" signs—around Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, reports CNN . The display—later removed—also included... More »

This 15-Year-Old Intern Found Something 'Amazing'

It took 2 years to confirm that WASP-142b is indeed a planet

(Newser) - British high school student Tom Wagg already has a line on his resume most of us can only dream of. While interning at Keele University two years ago, the then-15-year-old found what looked to be a planet; telescopes in Chile were used to take a deeper look, and now astronomers... More »

Scientists Find 'Coldest Place in the Universe'

The Boomerang Nebula is minus 458 degrees Fahrenheit

(Newser) - Think winter is cold in your neck of the woods? It's nothing compared to the Boomerang Nebula (also known as the Bow Tie Nebula), where a dying star 5,000 light-years away has created the coldest known place in the universe, Smithsonian reports in a wintery look at the... More »

Astronomers Spot Oldest Star Yet

13.6B-year-old star is in our galaxy

(Newser) - At 13.6 billion years old, a star spotted by Australian astronomers is the oldest yet found, they say. It's about 6,000 light years away from our planet—which is fairly close, the Wall Street Journal reports, and it's in our Milky Way galaxy. How do the... More »

The North Star Is Changing

Polaris getting brighter over the centuries

(Newser) - Polaris is famed for its consistency, but the North Star we see today is brighter than it was in the 1800s. In fact, if historical records are correct, the star has gotten about 2.5 times brighter over the course of the past two centuries, researcher Scott Engle tells Space.... More »

NASA Spots Nearby 'Young' Black Hole

Could it be a gateway to another universe?

(Newser) - NASA has spotted what appears to be the galaxy's newest black hole—and it's relatively nearby. The Chandra X-Ray Observatory has spotted the aftermath of a super nova that, from Earth's vantage point, is just 1,000 years old, the agency reports . (Of course, it's 26,... More »

Scientists Glimpse Universe's First Stars

The glow is almost as old as time itself

(Newser) - Star light, star bright, the first stars have actually been glimpsed—or at least their light has, reports . Astronomers in California studied massive black holes, called blazars, that give off huge amounts of light while swallowing up matter—and were able to separate out a glow from what... More »

NASA Finds Planet Circling Two Stars

Sadly, it's not Tatooine

(Newser) - NASA has found another decidedly nifty planet. Meet Kepler-16b, the first planet ever verified to have two suns—kind of like Tatooine from Star Wars, NASA noted in its announcement . There’s no way the Saturn-sized world is habitable—it’s at least half gas—but “the discovery confirms... More »

NASA Spots Runaway Star

Supernova sent Zeta Ophiuchi bolting through space

(Newser) - NASA's latest find is a runaway star with about 20 times the mass of our sun, slamming through space at an eye-popping 54,000 miles per hour, reports NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) caught Zeta Ophiuchi in a spectacular infrared image that shows a massive star blanketed... More »

NASA Studying Strange, Star-Creating Blob

Hanny's Voorwerp creating 'lonely' stars 'in the middle of nowhere'

(Newser) - The Hubble Telescope has turned its gaze to a mysterious glowing green blob that’s creating stars where stars shouldn’t normally form. Dubbed Hanny’s Voorwerp, after the Dutch elementary school teacher who first discovered it in 2007, the blob is a swirling mass of hydrogen gas, caused by... More »

Bits of One Universe's First Stars Spotted

Remains of early star a 'Holy Grail' of astronomy

(Newser) - Astronomers believe they have spotted the remains of one of the universe's very first stars—a "missing link" between the Big Bang and today's universe. The gas cloud left behind when the star exploded more than 13 billion years ago was illuminated by light emitted from a quasar, the... More »

Astronomers Triple Universe's Star Count

'Billions of Earths' may orbit vast number of newly spotted stars

(Newser) - The known universe just got a lot more crowded. Astronomers studying distant, elliptical galaxies say they spotted many more red dwarf stars than anticipated, suggesting that the number of stars in the universe is triple earlier estimates, the Daily Mail reports. The researchers now believe there are three septillion stars... More »

NASA Finds Singing Stars

Telescope spots sound waves traveling through space

(Newser) - NASA has discovered a group of massive red stars that are actually humming to themselves. The planet-hunting Kepler space telescope recently spotted sound waves emanating from the stars, the Wall Street Journal reports. NASA recorded the tune, and played it recently at a press conference in Denmark. “It is... More »

'Cannibal Star' Eats Neighbor

Hungry BP Piscium caught in the act

(Newser) - A "cannibal" star in the Pisces constellation appears to have gobbled up its neighbor and belched out a disc of dusty matter. X-Ray images revealed the remains of either a young star or a large planet inside BP Piscium, which has recently entered the expanding "red giant" phase... More »

'Citizen Scientists' Find Rare Star

Spare computing power donated to sift through observatory data

(Newser) - Three regular people who volunteered to put their idle home computers to work crunching scientific data in off-hours have been credited with making a major discovery in deep space. The "citizen scientists"—two in Iowa and one in Germany—downloaded and processed the data that found a disrupted... More »

Astronomers Discover Impossibly Huge Star

It's at least 265 times more massive than the sun

(Newser) - Astronomers have discovered a star so big and bright that it stretches the boundaries of what scientists believed was possible. The star, known so far only as R136a1, has an observed mass 265 times greater than our sun, and modeling suggests it was once 320 times bigger. “If it... More »

Scientists Creating Star to Solve Energy Woes

Giant laser will zap mini-sun into existence

(Newser) - Scientists are planning to use the world's largest laser to zap a tiny star into existence on Earth. The project at California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory aims to create nuclear fusion by firing the giant laser at hydrogen isotopes. This would, theoretically, cause a miniature sun capable of filling all... More »

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