A moon just past 1st quarter.

NASA to announce mysterious moon discovery on Monday

NASA’s upcoming news conference on October 26, 2020 promises “an exciting new discovery about the moon,” with references to the agency’s ambitious Artemis program, a plan to send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024.

Bright red-orange blob with white spot on it, on black background.

Betelgeuse is smaller, closer, and won’t explode any time soon

According to new research, the red supergiant star Betelgeuse – which began to dim dramatically in brightness in late 2019 – might not explode for another 100,000 years. The star is also smaller and closer to us than first thought.

Top 10 things to know about asteroid Bennu

Take a video tour of asteroid Bennu’s remarkable terrain and read a list of 10 cool things scientists know about this pristine remnant from the early days of our solar system.

Large striped planet and two smaller planets and star in distance.

Super-Earth exoplanets often have giant ‘Jupiter’ bodyguards

Planetary systems with both super-Earths and Jupiter-type planets may be common, according to a new study. As in our own solar system, the giant planets would act as “bodyguards” protecting the smaller planets from asteroid impacts.

Asteroid 2020 TF6 will come within 40% of moon’s distance on October 19

Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project captured an image of the asteroid last night.

Metal-poor globular cluster forces astronomers to rethink theories

The discovery of the most metal-poor globular cluster recorded to date has forced scientists to rethink how both galaxies and globular clusters form.

Pluto’s snowcapped mountains are unlike any on Earth

A new study shows how methane snow accumulates on Pluto’s mountain peaks. These snowcaps – first seen by New Horizons in 2015 – look a lot like ones on Earth, but form in a very alien environment.

Earth's night sky above a ridgeline, with a huge purple halo around the Andromeda galaxy.

Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are already merging

Billions of years from now, Earth’s night sky will change as the Andromeda galaxy rushes toward a merger with the Milky Way.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard completed its 7th launch and landing this week

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket successfully launched an uncrewed test flight on October 13, with both its capsule and booster later executing a flawless landing.

Earth-like planet with its star and other stars in background.

Astronomers identify 24 possible superhabitable worlds

Are there worlds out there – orbiting distant stars – even better suited for life than Earth? Might they be older, larger, warmer, wetter and with longer-living stars? Now astronomers have identified 24 possible superhabitable worlds.

Illustration of a black hole, with a disk around it and jets emanating from its poles, and with a bright flare escaping it.

Astronomers see a star ‘spaghettified’ by a black hole

Astronomers have spotted a rare blast of light from a star being ripped apart by a supermassive black hole. The phenomenon – known as a tidal disruption event – is the closest such flare recorded to date at just over 215 million light-years from Earth.

The James Webb Space Telescope displays its large and striking yellow sunshield with foldable structures surrounding it.

James Webb Space Telescope passes environmental testing

The James Webb Space Telescope – successor to the Hubble – just passed a series of environmental testing trials, designed to simulate the rigors of its anticipated launch in 2021.

A graceful ripple of dust in space.

What is interstellar space?

You might be surprised to learn that interstellar space isn’t just vacuum. It’s full of gases, elements, and dust – very thinly spread, to be sure – but the building blocks of stars and planets.

Contour lines around four bluish-colored patches.

Radar reveals 3 more subsurface polar lakes on Mars

Scientists with the European Space Agency say that the Mars Express orbiter has found evidence of three more salty lakes below Mars’ south pole. The discovery comes two years after the first lake was detected in 2018.

Long curving line of planets with stars in background.

NASA’s Planet Patrol wants you to join the search for exoplanets

Do you want to be a planet-hunter? NASA has launched a new citizen science website called Planet Patrol where volunteers can help search for exoplanets in data from the TESS space telescope.

SpaceX launched 60 more Starlink satellites this week

After 2 weeks of scrubs, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket blasted off October 6, 2020, carrying 60 more Starlink satellites to orbit. The rocket successfully landed at sea 9 minutes later. Video of the launch and landing here, plus steps taken to reduce the bright satellites’ effect on astronomy.

Detailed new image of famous stellar nursery

Gorgeous, detailed image of the Carina Nebula, a star nursery approximately 8,500 light-years away, as observed with the Gemini South telescope in Chile.

Image from HiRISE showing solidified sand dunes on Martian surface

Billion-year-old Martian dunes reveal planet’s history

The discovery of near-perfectly preserved billion-year-old Martian dunes is helping scientists to unravel the geologic and climatic history of the red planet.

Two long bright streaks with two small dots between them, with text annotations on black background.

Astronomers capture 1st direct image of young giant exoplanet

For the first time, astronomers have obtained an image of the very young gas giant exoplanet Beta Pictoris c, 63 light-years away. Its sibling, Beta Pictoris b, was discovered and photographed in 2008.

Orbital diagram showing inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and asteroid 2000 WO107 on November 14, 2020.

Large asteroid will pass safely November 29, closer in subsequent flybys

A large asteroid will pass Earth at more than 11 times the moon’s distance on November 29, 2020, and will approach more closely in later flybys. Charts here for telescope users.