Heads up! Lunar occultation of Mars February 18

Thinking of beefing up your stargazing optics? Now would be a good time. Given clear skies, all of the U.S. (except Alaska and Hawaii) can watch the red planet Mars disappear behind the moon – or reappear, or both – one month from today, on the morning of February 18, 2020.

Watch ISS spacewalk January 20

Two astronauts will exit the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday for the 2nd of 3 spacewalks scheduled in January.

A new way to detect oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres

In recent years, astronomers have pondered the search for biosignatures, or signs of life, in the atmospheres of distant exoplanets. Will the James Webb Space Telescope – due to launch in 2021 – be able to detect them? A new technique says yes.

Did phosphorus-rich lakes help kickstart life on Earth?

The building blocks of life as we know it require chemical reactions involving phosphorus. But phosphorus is scarce on Earth. Where did enough of it come from to fuel life’s start? Carbonate-rich lakes, like Mono Lake in California, might hold a clue.

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Could invisible aliens exist among us?

The Earth might be crawling with undiscovered alien creatures whose biochemistry is very different from life as we know it. An astrobiologist explains.

2019 was Earth’s 2nd-hottest year on record

According to independent analyses by both NASA and NOAA, Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2019 ranked 2nd-warmest since 1880.

2010 to 2019 was the hottest decade on record

According to the UK’s Met Office, each decade from the 1980s has been successively warmer than all the decades that came before. 2019 concludes the warmest ‘cardinal’ decade (those spanning years ending 0-9) in records that stretch back to the mid-19th century.

How far is Betelgeuse?

Recent speculation that Betelgeuse might be on the verge of going supernova prompted many to ask: how far away is it? But getting a distance measurement for this star has been no easy task.

It’s probably nothing: Gravitational wave burst detected near Betelgeuse

Betelgeuse has dimmed recently, prompting some to wonder if it’s about to explode. An explosion might trigger a gravitational wave burst. Betelgeuse is still there. The nearby gravitational wave burst probably means nothing for this star. Still … 

Meet 2020 AV2, the 1st asteroid entirely within the orbit of Venus

It’s difficult to see objects whose orbits are within that of Venus, because those objects always stay near the sun in our sky. Now, though, astronomers have spotted one!

Team builds the 1st living robots

The scientists call them “xenobots.” They are tiny living robots assembled from the cells of frogs. Their creators promise advances from drug delivery to toxic waste clean-up.

Crab Nebula: Visualize an exploded star

A new NASA video combines visible, infrared and X-ray views of the famous Crab Nebula, a star that exploded into view in our sky 1,000 years ago.

$1 billion weather/climate disasters: 14 for US in 2019

NOAA reports that 2019 was the 5th consecutive year in which the United States experienced 10 or more $1 billion weather and climate disasters, including fires, hurricanes and flooding.