astronomy

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Once-in-a-Lifetime Event to Occur Monday After Sunset

A Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter last happened in 1623

(Newser) - Jupiter and Saturn will merge in the night sky Monday, appearing closer to one another than they have since Galileo’s time in the 17th century, the AP reports. Astronomers say so-called conjunctions between the two largest planets in our solar system aren't particularly rare. Jupiter passes its neighbor...

Astronomers Find Cosmic 'Superhighways'

Researchers call it a 'true celestial autobahn'

(Newser) - Think space travel is just too slow? Well, good news: Astronomers say they've uncovered an "autobahn" of invisible interactions that moves objects along—and might just speed up space exploration, Science Alert reports. The new research hinges on "manifolds," or gravitational regions that exist between orbital...

They Know the Risks. They Want to Save Telescope Anyway

Petition, letter to Congress part of efforts to keep Arecibo landmark from being demolished

(Newser) - News last week that an iconic radio telescope that has gazed upon the cosmos for nearly six decades would be decommissioned and demolished has hit the scientific community hard, and now it's fighting to keep the astronomy landmark alive. The telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico sustained...

Astronomers Find Source of Mysterious Radio Burst

It was tracked to a 'magnetar' in our own galaxy

(Newser) - A flash of luck helped astronomers solve a cosmic mystery: What causes powerful but fleeting radio bursts that zip and zigzag through the universe? Scientists have known about these energetic pulses—called fast radio bursts—for about 13 years and have seen them coming from outside our galaxy, which makes...

This Is the Week to Look Up at Mars

Red planet will be very visible in the night sky

(Newser) - If you're looking for a little break from earthly concerns, Mars might provide an option this week. The red planet is particularly visible to the naked eye in the night sky thanks to a confluence of events, reports NPR . In fact, this will be the best week to see...

Among Nobel Winners: Guy Who Proved Einstein Wrong

Physics honor will be split between 3 scientists for their work on black holes

(Newser) - Three physicists have won this year’s Nobel Prize in physics for black hole discoveries and will split the $1.1 million award. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Tuesday that Briton Roger Penrose will receive half of this year's prize "for the discovery that black hole...

Startling Find Made in Bizarre Star System

Studies see evidence of a planet forming in GW Orionis

(Newser) - Tatooine, eat your heart out: Scientists may have spotted the first known planet orbiting three suns, LiveScience reports. The rare triple-star system, GW Orionis, had already been observed roughly 1,300 light-years from Earth. Now two new studies say there could be a fledgling planet in one of its three...

Scientists' Understanding of Black Holes Is Rattled

2 black holes merged into never-before-seen size

(Newser) - Black holes are getting stranger—even to astronomers, who've now detected the signal from a long-ago violent collision of two black holes that created a new one of a size that had never been seen before. "It's the biggest bang since the Big Bang observed by humanity,...

This Is Actually a Map —the Biggest One Ever

This view of the universe also looks incredible

(Newser) - Want to get away? Now you can see how far "away" really is. Drawing on 20 years of research, scientists have created a 3D map of the universe that spans 11 billion years and covers more than 2 million quasars and galaxies—while shedding light on a couple of...

Astronomers Spot 'a Very Curious Object'

They say it's about 11B light-years away

(Newser) - Media outlets are calling it the "Eye of Sauron" or "Ring of Fire"—scientists, "R5519." Whatever the name, it's an odd-looking galaxy that might just alter how science views the early formation of galaxies in the universe, LiveScience reports. Scientists say they spotted the...

First-Ever Radio Signal Hits Earth From Inside Our Galaxy

And scientists think they've found the source

(Newser) - Intrigued by radio signals from outer space? Scientists have spotted a fast radio burst from inside the Milky Way—the first ever from our own galaxy—and say it might solve the riddle of other such bursts from the cosmos, Science Alert reports. This signal was discovered Tuesday and reported...

Hubble Telescope Gives Itself 'Stunning' Anniversary Gift

To celebrate 30 years in space, a jaw-dropping photo of 'Cosmic Reef' nebulae

(Newser) - On April 24, 1990, the space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, with a very special item on board: the Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched into Earth's orbit a day later. Now, to celebrate the telescope's 30th anniversary observing the cosmos, NASA has...

Megaplanet Has a Bizarre Weather Forecast

Just be glad you're not on Wasp-76b

(Newser) - At one hot, faraway world, it's always cloudy with a chance of iron rain. That's the otherworldly forecast from Swiss and other European astronomers who have detected clouds full of iron droplets at a hot Jupiterlike planet 390 light-years away, the AP reports. This mega planet is so...

Earth's Gravity Catches 'Another Moon'

Scientists call it a 'minimoon'

(Newser) - Take a gander at the stars, and you might spot ... no, you won't. It's way too small. But scientists say Earth likely has another moon—at least for now—that's no bigger than a car, New Scientist reports. Astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona noticed...

Star Is Seen Dragging Space-Time With It

Looks like Albert Einstein nailed this one

(Newser) - Rack up another one for Albert Einstein. New research on a pair of stars confirms a prediction from Einstein's general theory of relativity—that a spinning object will drag space-time right along with it, Science Alert reports. Astrophysicists have spotted the effect, known as "frame dragging," in...

Our Galaxy Might See a 'Spectacular Death'

The 'supergiant' star Betelgeuse is getting dimmer

(Newser) - Keep your telescope handy: Betelgeuse might be about to blow. Astronomers say the "supergiant" star, which sits 650 light-years away, is at its dimmest in about a century—meaning we could witness our galaxy's first supernova in the telescopic era, Science Alert reports. "It kept getting fainter,...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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