Reddish rocks with haze and hills in background.

What’s cool about Curiosity’s discovery of organic molecules on Mars

The Curiosity rover has found organic molecules called thiophenes, which, on Earth, are associated with biological systems. Are they evidence for once-living microbes on Mars?

Dark gray rock with lighter-colored spots.

Have the first proteins been found in meteorites?

Researchers say they’ve discovered the first complete proteins inside 2 meteorites. It’s tantalizing, since proteins play a key role in the cells of living creatures. But will the results hold up to scrutiny?

Bright white and yellow globe with small dark oval in front of it.

What if super-puff planets have rings?

All 4 of the gas giant planets in our solar system – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune – are known to have rings. Could many of the so-called super-puff or cotton candy exoplanets have rings instead of super low densities?

What is the gegenschein?

The sun’s counterglow – or gegenschein – is kind of a stargazers’ legend. What is it, and how can you see it? Erwin Matys and Karoline Mrazek of Project Nightflight explain.

Large space rock passing near Earth.

Here’s how to see that huge asteroid that’ll safely pass Earth in April

The huge asteroid known as (52768) 1998 OR2 will pass closest on April 29, 2020. Observers peering through telescopes will see it as a slow-moving “star.” Charts, tips – plus how to watch online – here.

Happy birthday, Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin was a Russian pilot who became the first human to travel to space, in 1961. His story … plus links to a Yuri’s Night celebration near you.

Blue ball with white swirls.

And now, a word from Juno at Jupiter

Juno arrived at Jupiter in 2016. It’s in a 53-day orbit around the planet. Close sweeps past the planet are called “perijoves” (peri means “near”). Here are some spectacular images from the most recent sweep, Perijove 25, in February.

A ball of stars: globular cluster M13

What is a globular cluster?

Globular clusters are spherical collections of up to perhaps a million stars, orbiting mostly in the star halo of spiral galaxies, containing some of a galaxy’s oldest stars.

Curiosity rover on Mars snags highest-resolution panorama yet

This just in … a new super-cool composite from Curiosity on Mars. The panorama contains more than 1,000 images taken last Thanksgiving and assembled over the past few months … 1.8 billion new pixels of Martian landscape!

The misty heart of a nebula, showing a pair of bright stars.

The force is strong in neutron stars

Physicists at MIT analyzed data from earlier experiments in particle accelerators, in order to probe the workings of the strong nuclear force that operates inside atoms. Their work sheds light on this force – one of the 4 fundamental forces of nature – and also illuminates the structure of a neutron star’s core.