Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

208,930 subscribers and counting ...


Science Wire | May 30, 2016

Watch ISS’s newest module expand

Astronauts in orbit aboard ISS spent more than 7 hours on Saturday filling the new BEAM module with air. Check out this 25-second timelapse.

This single frame from Rosetta’s navigation camera of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko was taken on 25 March 2015 from a distance of 86.6 km from the comet centre, a few days before a flyby that would bring Rosetta to within about 15 km of the comet. It was during this flyby, on 28 March, that Rosetta’s ROSINA instrument made a detection of the amino acid glycine in the comet’s ‘atmosphere’, or coma. Read more about this image from ESA.
Science Wire | May 28, 2016

Life ingredients in Rosetta’s comet

It’s “the first unambiguous detection of glycine at a comet” and supports the theory that the building blocks for life came to Earth from outer space.

Artist's concept of primordial black holes, via NASA.
Science Wire | May 28, 2016

Is dark matter made of black holes?

What if if dark matter consisted of a population of black holes similar to those detected by LIGO last year? A new study analyzes this possibility.

This artist’s impression shows a possible seed for the formation of a supermassive black hole. Two of these possible seeds were discovered by an Italian team, using three space telescopes: the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope. Image via NASA/CXC/M. Weiss
Science Wire | May 28, 2016

Clues to birth of supermassive black holes

Astrophysicists have taken a major step forward in understanding how these monster black holes are born.

Science Wire | May 28, 2016

Best close-up of Pluto’s surface

The most detailed view of Pluto’s terrain you’ll see for a very long time, taken by the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew past Pluto on July 14, 2015.

An M-class solar flare erupts from the right side of the sun in this image from shortly before midnight EST on Jan. 12, 2015. The image blends two wavelengths of light -- 171 and 304 angstroms -- as captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Image via NASA/SDO
Science Wire | May 25, 2016

Solar storms key to life on Earth?

Energy from our young sun – 4 billion years ago – helped create molecules in Earth’s atmosphere that allowed it to warm up enough to incubate life, says study.

Crowd watches Apollo 11 launch on July 16, 1969
Blogs | This Date in Science | May 25, 2016

This date in science: Kennedy ignites dreams of moon

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy gave a stirring speech to a joint session of Congress declaring his intention to land humans on the moon with a decade.

Path of 2017 total solar eclipse, via Fred Espenak.
Science Wire | May 25, 2016

Total eclipse of sun: August 21, 2017

First total solar eclipse visible from the U.S. since 1991 (seen only from part of Hawaii), and first visible from contiguous U.S. since 1979. Start planning now!

Illustration of the dust ring surrounding HD 181327. Image via Amanda Smith, University of Cambridge
Science Wire | May 24, 2016

Comets orbiting nearby sunlike star

Astronomers have found the first evidence of icy comets orbiting a sunlike star 160 light-years from Earth.

Stars. Image via NASA
Science Wire | May 24, 2016

Top 10 cool things about stars

Here’s a collection of 10 unexpected, intriguing facts about the stars of our universe – including our sun – that you probably didn’t know!

Ken Christison captured these glorious star trails around Polaris, the North Star.  He wrote, "For the most common and often the most spectacular star trails, you want to locate Polaris and compose the image so it is centered horizontally and hopefully you can have a bit of foreground for reference."  See more photos from Ken Christison.
Science Wire | May 24, 2016

Star of the week: Polaris is the North Star

The entire northern sky wheels around Polaris. Some assume it’s the brightest star in the sky. In fact, Polaris ranks only 50th in brightness.

Jim Elliott of Powell, Ohio, contributed this photo. He wrote: “The moon over Jupiter over Columbus, Ohio, at the OSU planetarium star party. April 16, 2016.”
Science Wire | May 23, 2016

Astronomy events, star parties, festivals, workshops

Summertime star parties! We’ve added many new events to this list of astronomical events throughout the U.S. and Canada. Find one near you, join in and have fun.

he Valles Marineris region on Mars, where astronomers examined tsunami-affected shorelines from meteor impacts. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech
Science Wire | May 23, 2016

Ancient tsunamis on Mars?

A study suggests that 2 large meteorites hit Mars billions of years ago and triggered mega-tsunamis in Martian water oceans.

This image shows a view of the trailing hemisphere of Jupiter's ice-covered satellite, Europa, in approximate natural color. Long, dark lines are fractures in the crust, some of which are more than 3,000 kilometers (1,850 miles) long.   Image via Galileo spacecraft in 1996.
Science Wire | May 23, 2016

Is Europa’s ocean like Earth’s?

New research finds the ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa could have the necessary balance of chemicals for life, even without active volcanoes.

Photo via Tim Geers
Science Wire | May 21, 2016

Only 2 full moons in a season possible?

The May 21 Blue Moon carries that name because it’s the 3rd of 4 full moons in a season. But can a season have just 2 full moons?

Science Wire | May 20, 2016

New Horizons, heading out, spies 1994 JR1

New Horizons imaged this distant Kuiper Belt Object twice. It has learned its location and spin, and dispelled a theory that 1994 JR1 is a quasi-satellite of Pluto.

Artist’s concept of a celestial body roughly the size of Earth's moon slamming into a body the size of Mercury.  Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Science Wire | May 18, 2016

Giant impacts typical for Earth-like worlds

An advanced computer simulation suggests that newly forming Earth-like worlds are likely to suffer a giant impact, like that thought to have created our moon.

View larger. | Comet C/2013 X1 (PanSTARRS) captured earlier this year by Efraín Morales, of the Sociedad de Astronomía del Caribe.
Science Wire | May 17, 2016

A new binocular comet before dawn

Comet C/2013 X1 (PanSTARRS) is now visible in binoculars before dawn. This post has charts and other info that can help you spot the comet in the coming weeks!

Earth will between between the sun and Mars on May 22, 2016.  Then, the distance between our two worlds will be at its least for this two-year period, and Mars will appear brightest in our sky.  Image via Fourmilab.
Science Wire | May 17, 2016

Mars is bright! Here’s why

We’re beginning to get questions about that red “star” in the east each evening. It’s Mars! We’ll pass between Mars and the sun this weekend.

Most Blue Moons are not blue in color.  This photo of a moon among fast-moving clouds was created using special filters. Image via EarthSky Facebook friend Jv Noriega.
Science Wire | May 16, 2016

Upcoming Blue Moon near red Mars

The May 21 full moon is a seasonal Blue Moon – an older definition of the term. Watch for it this weekend, near brilliant Mars.

An image of the galaxy AGC 198691 (nicknamed Leoncino, or "little lion") taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. | Photo by NASA; A. Hirschauer & J. Salzer, Indiana University; J. Cannon, Macalester College; and K. McQuinn, University of Texas
Science Wire | May 16, 2016

Small blue galaxy offers Big Bang clues

This galaxy – nicknamed ‘little lion’ – contains the lowest level of heavy elements ever detected in a gravitationally bound system of stars.