astronomy

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On Sacred Hawaii Peak, Science Wins a Clash With Religion

Thirty Meter Telescope project gets go-ahead after years of legal battles

(Newser) - After years of protests and legal battles, a massive telescope that will allow scientists to peer into the most distant reaches of our early universe will be built on Mauna Kea, a Hawaiian volcano that some consider sacred. The state announced a "notice to proceed" for the Thirty Meter... More »

Jupiter Is Putting On a Show for You

It will be most clearly visible Monday night but should be big and bright all month

(Newser) - Casual sky-watchers interested in getting a nice look at Jupiter have pretty simple advice to follow this month: Go outside at night and look up. Monday night in particular, about midnight local time, should provide the clearest view, reports USA Today . The planet should be visible with the naked eye,... More »

There's a Weirdly Huge Hole Out There

And one scientist thinks she knows what happened

(Newser) - There's a massive hole in the outskirts of the Milky Way, and no one knows what caused it—but one scientist has an idea. "The on-sky morphology suggests a recent, close encounter with a massive and dense perturber," says Harvard scientist Ana Bonaca in a new presentation... More »

Alien Presence Found in Our Galaxy

It's tucked away in the Big Dipper

(Newser) - Believe in alien life? Try an alien star. There's one in the Big Dipper with a chemical composition unlike any other known star in our galaxy, Space.com reports. Located roughly 60,000 light-years away , the star lacks metals like magnesium but is high in Europium, meaning its chemical... More »

Our Milky Way Is Headed Toward a Violent 'Merger'

But we've got about 2 billion years to prepare

(Newser) - It'll be a fireworks show for the ages, but you won't be around to see it. Consider that a blessing in disguise: The display expected by astrophysicists at Durham University in the UK will only come as a nearby galaxy smashes into our own in about 2 billion... More »

Saturn's Rings Just Got a Death Date

NASA study predicts they'll be gone in 100M years

(Newser) - NASA's Voyager spacecrafts recorded data suggesting Saturn's rings were disappearing when they whipped past the planet decades ago. Now, confirmation: The rings have likely existed for only a fraction of the planet's 4.5 billion years and will be gone in an astrological flash, reads a new... More »

Farthest Observed Object in Solar System Is 'Farout'

Dwarf planet is 11 billion miles away

(Newser) - Astronomers have spotted the farthest object ever observed in our solar system—and they've nicknamed the pink cosmic body "Farout." The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center announced the discovery Monday. "Farout" (pronounced far-out) is a dwarf planet about 120 astronomical units away—that's... More »

What May Be Best Meteor Show of Year Starts Tonight

The Geminid meteor shower peaks at 7:30am EST

(Newser) - The “best meteor shower of 2018” will be on display overnight, Space.com reports. The Geminid meteor shower will be visible above North America before sunrise Friday, CNN reports, and it will peak at 7:30am EST (find the best viewing time for your location here ). Checking out... More »

DeGrasse Tyson Accused of Sexual Assault, Rape

Fox, National Geographic are investigating

(Newser) - Next up, Neil deGrasse Tyson? The world-famous astrophysicist is under investigation after two women claimed he behaved inappropriately with them—and an old rape claim re-emerged online, Deadline reports. Fox and National Geographic, the networks behind his show Cosmos, have joined the show's producers in investigating the two more... More »

Get Ready, Night Owls: Leonids Return This Weekend

Peak viewing time is before dawn on Sunday

(Newser) - It's time again for the Leonids, the meteor shower repeated annually in mid-November. It comes as Earth passes through a trail of debris left by the comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 33 years. Earth will pass through the thickest part of debris at 7pm EST Saturday,... More »

Astronomers Discover 'Super-Earth' 6 Light Years Away

Barnard's Star b is bigger than Earth and very cold

(Newser) - Barnard’s Star, a red dwarf star located in a solar system about six light-years away from Earth, may have some company. Researchers of the “exoplanet-hunting” group Red Dots have detected a planet—some 3.2 times the Earth’s mass and very cold—orbiting the star, Smithsonian reports.... More »

Potential Moon Discovery Has Astronomers Electrified

Scientists may have found the first planetary satellite outside our solar system

(Newser) - Astronomers may have found the first moon outside our solar system. Per the AP , two Columbia University researchers presented their tantalizing evidence Wednesday. Plenty of planets exist beyond our solar system, but a moon around one of those worlds has yet to be confirmed. The potential moon would be considerably... More »

Galileo Got Sneaky in Bid to Fend Off Inquisition

Scholars say he edited his own letter to soften his views

(Newser) - Galileo: groundbreaking astronomer and early master of spin. UK researchers say they have found a long-lost letter written by Galileo that shows he engaged in a little deception to fend off the Inquisition. It's all laid out in Nature , and it takes a little unpacking. The saga began when... More »

Scientist Passed Over for Nobel Wins $3M, Donates It

The prize money will go to foster diversity in physics

(Newser) - Jocelyn Bell Burnell was a PhD student at Cambridge University some five decades ago when she made an astronomical discovery while reviewing data from a radio telescope: faint, repeating pulses of radio waves. These signals came to be known as pulsars, a type of neutron star described by Scientific American... More »

Good News for Future Lunar Colonists

Astronomers find 'definitive evidence' of ice on moon's surface

(Newser) - Future lunar colonists shouldn't have too much trouble finding water: In a first, astronomers have discovered ice—specifically patches of frost—on the moon's north and south poles, in areas permanently shaded from the sun. Found by observing how molecules absorb infrared light, the ice is particularly concentrated... More »

'Incredible Hulk' Comet Will Soon Whiz Past Earth

Stargazers' best chance to see the cosmic behemoth on Tuesday and Wednesday

(Newser) - A green comet is set to whiz past Earth this week, but blink and you might miss it. Lucky stargazers who look up Tuesday or Wednesday nights will have the best chance to glimpse the celestial object, dubbed the "Incredible Hulk" for its color and considerable size, notes Sputnik... More »

'Blood Moon' Visible From Just One Place in North America

Lucky Canadians...

(Newser) - The punchline is a letdown: Yes, the longest "blood moon" eclipse of the 21st century will occur Friday night, but no, North America won't have a view of it, unless you happen to be in a specific part of Newfoundland, Canada, Vox reports. National Geographic explains it just... More »

World's 'Most Widely Accepted Boundary' May Be Wrong

Astrophysicist says Karman Line is 50 miles above Earth, not 62

(Newser) - Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell calls the Karman Line the world's "most widely accepted boundary." It's otherwise known as the point where space meets Earth's atmosphere, and since before the launch of Sputnik, it's thought to have hovered 62 miles above our heads. Until now. In... More »

Paper: Advanced Civilizations May Be Stealing Starlight

Chicago professor Dan Hooper says it makes perfect sense

(Newser) - Watch out for stars moving across galaxies or losing power—it could be aliens gathering energy before the lights go out. Dan Hooper, an astronomy and astrophysics professor at the University of Chicago, posted a paper in the preprint journal arXiv.org arguing that aliens in far-off galaxies may be... More »

Diamond From the Sky May Have Formed in 'Lost Planet'

Meteorite has traces of proto-planet, researchers say

(Newser) - Fragments of a meteorite that fell to Earth a decade ago provide compelling evidence of a lost planet that once roamed our solar system, researchers say. A team from Switzerland, France, and Germany examined diamonds found inside the Almahata Sitta meteorite and concluded they were most likely formed by a... More »

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