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Life imitates art? Astronomers find Star Trek planet Vulcan

In recent decades, astronomers and Trekkies have had fun speculating on what might serve as Spock’s home star. Many settled on 40 Eridani A, about 16 light-years away. Now they’ve found a Vulcan-esque planet for this star!

How leaves tell each other about a bug attack

“We often think of plants as being passive and at the mercy of their environment. My jaw literally dropped when I first saw these videos … They beautifully illustrate how active and complex plants really are.”

What is a waxing gibbous moon?

We’ve now passed first quarter moon, and the moon is waxing toward full. Full moon will come on September 24-25, 2018.

Elon Musk and SpaceX announce 1st tourist for ‘moon loop’

Musk said Monday from SpaceX headquarters in California that it will send Japanese billionaire and online fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa – with a group of artists – on a loop around the moon and back to Earth in 2023.

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Scientists discover earliest human drawing yet

This month, scientists published their discovery of 73,000-year-old cross-hatchings found in a South African cave. It’s now the earliest known drawing and evidence of early humans’ ability to store information outside the human brain.

Here’s the 1st-ever portrait of Earth and moon from a distance

On September 18, 1977, as it headed toward the outer solar system, Voyager 1 looked back and acquired a stunning image of our Earth and moon.

Dry ice frosts a Mars crater

The white markings here are bright residual carbon dioxide ice deposits – dry ice – on the south-facing rim of a pit crater on Mars.

TESS planet-hunter achieves 1st light

Launched last April, TESS is successor to the Kepler mission, which discovered a substantial fraction of all known exoplanets orbiting distant suns. This 1st-light image from TESS is cause for celebration. Ahoy! New worlds ahead!

All you need to know: September equinox

We have an equinox coming up on September 23 at 1:54 UTC. That’s September 22 for clocks in North America. Details here. Happy almost-autumn (or spring)!

Sunspot Solar Observatory will re-open this week

AURA said the decision was made to shut down the Sunspot Solar Observatory in New Mexico because of “criminal activity” and concern about a possible threat to the safety of local staff and residents.

Report calls for direct images of Earth-like exoplanets

A congressionally-mandated report recommends that NASA lead efforts to directly image possibly Earth-like exoplanets, using upcoming technologies. A major goal is finding habitable – maybe even inhabited – worlds.

Mars is closest to the sun today

On September 16, 2018, Mars reaches perihelion, its closest point to the sun in its 2-year orbit. Mars’ brightness in July and August – and a recent global dust storm on the planet – are both linked to this event.

10 years of Large Hadron Collider discoveries

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has generated mind-blowing science in the last decade – including the Higgs boson particle. How the LHC, one of the most complex machines ever created, is helping physicists decode the universe.