Whoa. It’s been 30 years since our 1st and last visit to Neptune

On today’s date – August 25, 1989 – Voyager 2 passed only 4,950 kilometers (3,000 miles) above Neptune’s north pole. It was its closest approach to any planet in its Grand Tour of the outer solar system.

India’s Chandrayaan-2 is 2 weeks away from its moon landing

The spacecraft is slowing down for its final orbit, with its next maneuver scheduled for August 28. It’s due to land September 7. Details about the mission, plus Chandrayaan-2’s first image of the moon, here.

Would you have believed the Great Moon Hoax?

It sounds preposterous today. But – beginning on today’s date in 1835 – a newspaper claimed a famous astronomer had found life on the moon, including bat-men and unicorns. The Great Moon Hoax was widely read and believed.

The sun is between us and Mars now

So we can’t see Mars in our night sky. But, more importantly for NASA, beginning this week, space engineers won’t be able to risk sending commands to our fleet of spacecraft at Mars. What happens instead? Watch this video.

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How did Pluto become a dwarf planet?

It’s been 13 years since astronomers announced Pluto would no longer be considered a major planet in our solar system. When it happened, in 2006, the decision caused a shock wave around the world.

Wow! What if 1 in 4 sunlike stars has an Earth?

According to a new study by astronomers, based on data from the Kepler Space Telescope, 1 in 4 sunlike stars should have a planet that’s approximately Earth-sized, orbiting in the star’s habitable zone.

In 1966, 1st photo of Earth from the moon

NASA released this 1st moon photo of Earth on August 23, 1966, via its spacecraft Lunar Orbiter 1. Years later, it used digital technology to restore the photo and reveal more detail.

Where does Mars’ methane come from? Not wind

On Earth, methane gas is often associated with microbial life. Scientists find methane in Mars’ atmosphere, too. Could it be life-related? We still don’t know, but a new study shows wind erosion is likely not the cause.

Scientists detect a black hole swallowing a neutron star

On August 14, gravitational wave detectors in the US and Italy sensed ripples in space-time. Data analysis suggests they came from a black hole engulfing a neutron star, 900 million light-years from Earth. If so … it’s a first-ever detection by earthly scientists.

Snow algae thrives in extreme conditions

On tall ice structures high in the Chilean Andes, researchers found algae growing on snow. They don’t entirely understand how the algae are able to bloom.

A brief history of Saturn’s amazing rings

New analyses of Saturn’s rings reveal how and when they were made, from what, and whether they’ll last.

Find the Teapot, and look toward the galaxy’s center

With the moon waning now, it’s time to go out in the country to witness the glorious Milky Way. Want to locate the direction to the galaxy’s center? This post points the way.

See Messier 8, the Lagoon Nebula

The Lagoon – aka M8 – is the largest and brightest nebula, or cloud in space, in the vicinity of the Teapot asterism in the constellation Sagittarius.