Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

116,883 subscribers and counting ...


Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 11.27.00 AM
Science Wire | Sep 23, 2014

Sneak preview: Colorful lunar eclipse on October 7-8

Before sunrise on October 8, the bright full moon over North America will turn a lovely shade of red. It’s a total lunar eclipse that’s visible from all parts of the U.S.

Pablo Neruda as a young man.   Read more.
Sep 23, 2014

This date in science: Pablo Neruda and the beauty of the universe

Astronomical imagery often figured in the poetry of Pablo Neruda. Today, with the help of Michael West of Maria Mitchell Observatory, we honor that connection.

Science Wire | Sep 22, 2014

Success! MAVEN spacecraft enters Mars orbit

NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft – first spacecraft dedicated to exploring Mars’ upper atmosphere – successfully entered orbit on September 21, 2014 at 10:24 p.m. EDT.

Image via Wikipedia
FAQs | Sep 21, 2014

Why aren’t day and night equal on the day of the equinox?

On the day of the equinox, the center of the sun would set about 12 hours after rising – given a level horizon, as at sea, and no atmospheric refraction.

Lunar eclipse illustration courtesy of Luc Viatour
FAQs | Sep 20, 2014

What is a Blood Moon?

A lunar tetrad – four total lunar eclipses in a row – began on the night of April 14-15. The next one will be on the night of October 7-8.

Science Wire | Sep 19, 2014

Supermassive black hole in a galaxy only 300 light-years wide

It’s an unlikely object in an improbable place — a monster black hole lurking inside one of the tiniest galaxies ever known.

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) experiment is a state-of-the-art particle physics detector that is constructed, tested and operated by an international team composed of 60 institutes from 16 countries and organized under United States Department of Energy (DOE) sponsorship. It is attached to the International Space Station and has been in operation since 2011.  Image via NASA
Science Wire | Sep 19, 2014

Space-based particle detector hints at dark matter

A new and tantalizing hint of mysterious dark matter has been found by the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer particle detector aboard the International Space Station.

Artist's concept Dawn near Ceres in 2015
Science Wire | Sep 18, 2014

Dawn spacecraft to Ceres recovers after malfunctions

A collision with a high-energy radiation particle may have corrupted software running in Dawn’s main computer, and sent the spacecraft into safe mode.

The sun in extreme ultraviolet, false color green
Blogs | Sep 18, 2014

Top 10 things you might not know 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!

spacecraft voyager 1
This Date in Science | Sep 18, 2014

A first glimpse of Earth and moon as worlds in space

As Voyager 1 left Earth on September 18, 1977, it looked back and acquired a stunning image.

Science Wire | Sep 17, 2014

Racing toward Pluto, spacecraft spies tiny moon Hydra

The New Horizons spacecraft – due to encounter Pluto in July 2015 – has spotted Pluto’s small, faint, outermost known moon, called Hydra.

The sculptor galaxy - also known as NGC 253 - is an example of a disk galaxy.  It has a flat, circular disk containing gas, dusk and most of the galaxy's stars.  Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Science Wire | Sep 17, 2014

Merging galaxies can produce disk galaxies

Astronomers thought mergers formed giant elliptical galaxies. Now, for at least 24 observed galaxies, mergers have formed flattened, circular disks of dust and gas.

Science Wire | Sep 16, 2014

New catalog of visible Milky Way charts 219 million stars

Astronomers spent 10 years charting stars brighter than 20th magnitude – that’s about 1 million times fainter than can be seen with the human eye.

Closeup on Site J, the landing site for the Philae lander in ESA's exciting Rosetta comet mission.
Science Wire | Sep 15, 2014

ESA announces landing site on Rosetta’s comet

Rosetta spacecraft has been moving in tandem with its comet since August. On Monday, ESA announced the site of a November landing.

This artist's conception shows the object named WISE J085510.83-071442.5. Imabe courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Penn State University
Science Wire | Sep 12, 2014

First evidence for water-ice clouds outside our solar system

The first evidence for water-ice clouds on an object beyond our solar system. It’s a brown dwarf, one of our closest neighbors, only 7 light-years away.

Aurora borealis by FairbanksMike
Science Wire | Sep 12, 2014

Significant auroras predicted for tonight

Reports from NOAA and elsewhere predict a chance of significant auroras, possibly observable as far south as the northern U.S. and maybe even farther south.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.37.05 AM
Science Wire | Sep 11, 2014

Video: Jellyfish flame on the ISS

Fire in space doesn’t act like fire here on Earth. Untethered by gravity, flames in space curl themselves into tiny balls.

Science Wire | Sep 11, 2014

Rosetta spacecraft selfie with comet

An otherworldly take take on an earthly trend, as Rosetta poses with its comet, 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

This is an artist's concept of a quasar: a supermasive black hole at the center of a faraway galaxy.  Image via European Southern Observatory
Science Wire | Sep 11, 2014

Astronomers solve 20-year-old quasar mystery

New works suggests most observed quasar phenomena depend on two things: how efficiently a central black hole is being fed and the astronomer’s viewing orientation.

Dark matter models, via Durham University
Science Wire | Sep 09, 2014

Why our Milky Way galaxy has fewer satellites than expected

European cosmologists and particle physicists come together to tweak an accepted model of how cold dark matter helps build galaxies in our universe.

Several morphologically different regions are indicated in this preliminary map, which is oriented with the comet’s ‘body’ in the foreground and the ‘head’ in the background.  Image via ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Science Wire | Sep 09, 2014

A preliminary map of different regions on Rosetta’s comet

The comet turns out to be a unique, multifaceted world. We now know comets can have cliffs, depressions, craters, boulders or even parallel grooves.