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Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

NASA, SpaceX Launch Historic Mission to International Space Station

Crewed spaceflight returns to U.S. soil, with the successful launch of Crew Dragon Demo 2.

Comet SWAN heads north

Celestial News & Events

Comet SWAN's Final Song

Despite early expectations Comet SWAN appears to be fizzling, providing yet another opportunity to appreciate what makes these objects so unique.

Roman Space Telescope

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

NASA Renames WFIRST: The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

NASA is renaming its next flagship space observatory to honor pioneering NASA astronomer and "Mother of Hubble," Nancy Grace Roman.

Night Sky Sights

See Spring's Finest Spiral Galaxies

On Earth we find spirals in sunflowers and snails, but to see it expressed in something as enormous as a galaxy transforms this familiar pattern into something truly grand. That's what I feel when I point my scope at the Whirlpool Galaxy and see its billions of suns arranged in the whorls of a spiral. Grandeur.

Imaging Foundations with Richard Wright

Backyard Projects for At-home Astrophotographers

Can’t get to your favorite dark sky site? Do not despair, a great many targets and techniques are still available to the backyard imager.

Eclipse mosaic

Astronomy and Society

Medieval "Dark Eclipse" Helps Date Ice Cores — and Time Volcanic Eruptions

Scientists have used a famous "dark eclipse" of the Moon to help date ice cores collected in Greenland and the Antarctic.

Explore the Night with Bob King

Supernovae Light Up in M61 and NGC 3643

Two new supernovae for amateur telescopes are keeping things lively this month.

Comets

Comet SWAN Expected to Put on a Splendid Show

Comet SWAN will grace northern skies in the days to come.

illustration of triple system HR 6819

Black Holes

Closest Black Hole to Earth? Maybe

An international team of astronomers says that they’ve discovered the closest black hole to Earth — an invisible object dancing with two large, bright stars 1,000 light-years away.

Pluto atmosphere

Solar System

Did Pluto Harbor an Ancient Subsurface Ocean?

New studies shed light on the early years of Pluto's formation, and whether it ever hosted a subsurface ocean.

Asteroids

Chase a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid As It Flies by Earth

Break out your binoculars or a small telescope, we've got a busy week ahead! Watch as a bright asteroid approaches Earth, the Moon steals a star, and Comet ATLAS's last hurrah.

Illustration of black hole merger

Black Holes

Mismatched Black Holes Merge

For the first time, the LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave detectors have "heard" gravitational waves from an unequal pair of black holes.

star draws rosette around black hole

Black Holes

Black Hole Changes Star’s Orbit in Gravity Test

A long-awaited measurement indicates that a star whizzing around the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole has changed its trajectory.

Bob King blog post

Celestial Objects to Observe

Shadow-casting with Venus

Venus has a been powerful presence at dusk for months — bright enough to cast shadows. How would you like to put it to the test? The Moon won't spoil the darkness until at least April 24th — April 25th if you wait till after moonset — making it the perfect time to see your own shadow by the light of another celestial body.

Comet ISON

Astrophotography: Tips & Techniques

Astrophotography: Catching Comets

Photographing comets presents unique challenges to your astrophotography routine. A few straightforward techniques can help.

JWST

People, Places, and Events

Space and Astronomy in the Time of COVID-19

The ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on spaceflight, science, and professional and amateur astronomy.

BepiColombo Flyby

Spacecraft and Space Missions

BepiColombo's Flyby Past Earth

BepiColombo, the joint ESA/JAXA Mercury-bound mission, will swing by the Earth on Friday.

Celestial News & Events

Oh No! Comet ATLAS Is Fragmenting

Find out when and where to see Comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) — and stay tuned to see how bright (or not) this comet gets.

series of zooms on 3C 279's jet

Black Holes

Event Horizon Telescope Finds Bent Jet Near Black Hole

Observations from the worldwide network of radio telescopes show the fire hose of plasma shooting from a distant galaxy does something strange near its source.

particle storm

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

Sunrise CubeSats Will Study Giant Solar Storms

NASA has selected a unique new mission to study the Sun, targeting a 2023 launch date.

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