How often are there 3 eclipses in a month?

In a calendar month, 3 eclipses are rare. But in a lunar month, 3 eclipses are more common. From 2000-2050, it happens 14 times.

A bluish comet near a distant galaxy.

2nd-known interstellar visitor rounds the sun

The 1st interstellar object – 1I/’Oumuamua – had already passed closest to our sun when astronomers first spotted it. So catching this 2nd one – 2I/Borisov – prior to perihelion was a big plus for astronomers! Before and after images here.

Two orange circles with black balls at their centers.

A second black hole at our galaxy’s center?

There’s a supermassive black hole – 4 million times our sun’s mass – in the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers who’ve measured star movements near this central black hole are now saying there might be a 2nd companion black hole near it.

A line of white dots, with a grid system laid over it. A faint, fuzzy line connects some of the dots.

Astronomers spy the Geminid meteors’ dust trail in space

Astronomers held a press conference this week to discuss the trail of dust left by 3200 Phaethon – the mysterious blue rock-comet that spawns the Geminid meteor shower each year. This object was one of the 1st to blur the distinction between asteroids and comets.

This weekend’s Geminid meteor shower

The Geminid meteor shower – one of the highlights of the stargazing year – will peak on the mornings of December 13, 14, and 15, 2019, though under the light of a bright moon. The Geminids are bright, too. You still might see some!

Bright icy moon with craters and fissures.

Explained! Enceladus’ enigmatic tiger stripes

How did the so-called tiger stripes – huge parallel cracks – form in the icy surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus? A new study from the Carnegie Institution for Science provides some answers.

Grey rock-like fragments on dark background.

Meet the microorganism that likes to eat meteorites

At least one type of microbe on Earth not only likes to eat meteorites but actually prefers them as a food source, according to a new international scientific study.

A black square dotted with light spots.

Hefty black hole holds new record for high mass

Astronomers have discovered a black hole with 40 billion solar masses in the heart of the Abell 85 cluster of galaxies.

Diagram of orbit and perihelion of 2nd interstellar object, Comet Borisov.

Interstellar object closest to the sun today

The fascinating object 2I/Borisov has been steadily brightening as it nears its encounter with our sun. It’ll pass closest to the sun on December 8, 2019, then flee again toward interstellar space.

Astronomers catch a comet outburst

Remember comet 46P/Wirtanen? It was a bright comet about this time last year. Around the time it swept near the Earth and sun, the comet entered the field of view NASA’s TESS planet-hunter. And boom! It underwent an outburst, caught by TESS.

Multi-colored gas swirling into a bright star with orbiting planet.

This white dwarf star has a giant, evaporating planet

White dwarf stars are typically more or less Earth-sized. The planet orbiting white dwarf WDJ0914+1914 appears to be at least twice as big as its star! High intensity radiation from its star is causing this planet to evaporate. Will the same thing happen in our solar system someday?

A spacecraft rushing along in what looks like a hot place!

Parker Solar Probe sheds light on our local star

Parker Solar Probe – now in its 4th orbit around the sun – can endure heat and radiation like no previous mission. This week, 4 new studies in Nature reveal new insights about the sun’s mysterious corona and solar wind.

How does the solar wind affect Earth?

Why should we care about the new findings – released this week – from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe? This new NASA video explains how the solar wind – a stream of charged particles from the sun – affects earthly astronauts and technologies.

Chennai engineer helped find India’s Vikram lander, which crashed on the moon

In September, India hoped to become the 4th nation to soft land on the moon successfully with its Chandrayaan 2 mission. Moments before touchdown, the mission’s Vikram lander crashed. Now the lander has been found again.

A shimmery pink circle against a black background with a faint ray of light through the center.

Did this black hole swallow a star?

We know of a couple of dozen so-called “stellar-mass” black holes in our Milky Way galaxy. They tend to be between about 5 and 20 times as heavy as our sun. This new black hole – in a distant spiral arm of the galaxy – is 70 times as heavy as the sun.

Two bright stars close to each other.

Does complex life exist elsewhere? Study of exoplanet-tilts boosts hopes

A new study focuses on the axial tilt of Earthlike exoplanets in binary or double star systems. It boosts hope for complex life elsewhere … although not, these astronomers say, within the star system closest to our sun.

Many planets in a cloud of dust and gas.

Thousands of exoplanets may orbit supermassive black holes

It sounds unbelievable, but a new study from Kagoshima University and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan says that exoplanets – thousands of them – could be orbiting supermassive black holes.

Long asteroid-like object in space.

Was ‘Oumuamua a cosmic dust bunny?

‘Oumuamua – the weird object that entered our solar system in 2017 and quickly fled back toward interstellar space – might not be an asteroid or comet from a distant solar system, as many believed. It might instead be a “cosmic dust bunny.”

Water vapor plume on a moon with large planet in the sky.

Scientists confirm Europa’s water vapor geysers … maybe

New observations appear to confirm the existence of water vapor geysers on Europa. The findings are tantalizing, but some scientists are not convinced yet.

Epic cosmic explosion detected via faster-than-light particles

Space-based observatories detected a violent explosion in a galaxy billions of light-years away. It became the brightest source of high-energy cosmic gamma rays seen so far. Specialized Earth-based telescopes detected it via faster-than-light particles cascading through Earth’s atmosphere.