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Astronomical events in 2016

A month by month listing of major moon phases, conjunctions, oppositions, meteor showers and other important dates, from astronomer Fred Espenak.

Inhospitable Danakil Depression hosts extreme life

It’s below sea level, with near-boiling water bubbling up from underground, high salt concentrations and toxic vapor. Yet life survives here.

Mars rover crosses most rugged terrain so far

The Curiosity rover has nearly crossed a stretch of the roughest terrain it’s seen during its 44 months on Mars. Scientists are monitoring the wear and tear on the rover’s wheels.

This date in science: Jan Oort’s birthday

Visualize a vast reservoir of icy comets on the outskirts of our solar system. That’s what Jan Oort did in 1950, and why the Oort Cloud bears his name.

Does this jellyfish look like a spaceship, or what?

Video of a spectacular jellyfish that floated past NOAA’s ROV on April 24, 2016 in the Mariana Trench – the deepest oceanic trench on the planet.

Dwarf planet Makemake has a moon

This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the first moon ever discovered around little Makemake, in the outermost region of our solar system.

Dinosaurs already in decline before asteroid apocalypse?

New research suggests that dinosaurs were in decline tens of millions of years before the meteorite impact that finished them off.

What Venus Express learned by aerobraking

Results from the Venus Express spacecraft, obtained when – in the craft’s final months – it surfed the dense atmosphere of Venus.

Moon rocks reveal nearby supernova

Iron-60 found in moon rocks supports an earlier finding that – 2 million years ago – a supernova exploded only 300 light-years away.

Bubble Nebula looks like giant cosmic soap bubble

A new Hubble image captures – in stunning clarity – the Bubble Nebula, a cloud of gas and dust illuminated by the brilliant star within it.