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Star with two suns


How Amateurs Could Help Future Exoplanet Observations

Large observatories will require precise timing info to measure as many exoplanet atmospheres as possible. Backyard astronomers have the power to keep that intel fresh.

Space Missions

Amateurs Help Decide Juno's Path

Ahead of a decision on whether to fly the NASA spacecraft over Jupiter's Great Red Spot, hobbyists back on Earth provided crucial intel about the effects of an intruding disturbance.

Image of Bennu

Solar System

Osiris-REX Finds Hints of Past Water on Asteroid Bennu

The NASA spacecraft detected signs of hydrated minerals on Bennu's surface, suggesting that the asteroid's larger parent body once hosted liquid water.

Solar System

Voyager 2 Enters Interstellar Space

More than 18 billion kilometers from home, Voyager 2 has become the second probe to break through the heliopause, a tenuous boundary between the solar system and the rest of the Galaxy.

Illustration of helium escaping exoplanet HAT-P-11b

Astronomy & Observing News

60-Second Astro News: Helium Exoplanets and a Supernova Surprise

This week in astronomy news: Inflated helium atmospheres surround two exoplanets, and the Kepler Space Telescope captures the moments around a supernova that hint at a companion star triggering the explosion.

Gamma-ray map of sky


Starlight Tally Reveals Cosmic History of Star Formation

Nearly 11 billion years ago, the universe churned out stars at a rate 10 times greater than today. And yet all the starlight in the cosmos appears no brighter on the sky than a 60-watt light bulb seen from miles away.

ALMA image of quasar merger

Astronomy & Observing News

60-Second Astro News: A Carnivorous Quasar and a Galaxy Ghost

In astronomy news this week: The most luminous quasar known in the cosmos is devouring three galaxy companions, while a newly discovered ghostly satellite of the Milky Way hints at hordes more just waiting to be found.

Illustration of planet transit


Amateur Planet Hunters Have a New Online Resource

A database run by the American Association of Variable Star Observers will organize and archive data on transiting exoplanets collected by amateur astronomers.

Image showing location of 2MASS J18082002–5104378

Stellar Science

Puny Star Might Be Specimen from Early Universe

A low-mass sun with few elements heavier than helium provides hope that the Galaxy might contain survivors from the very first generation of stars. 

Picture of Hubble Space Telescope

Space Missions

After Brief Shutdown, Hubble Goes Back to Work

Following three weeks of downtime, engineers have cleared out a mechanical blockage in one of Hubble's gyroscopes and returned the observatory to full science operations.

Saturn's moons

Solar System

Saturn's Moon Dione Has Some Weird Stripes

Long straight parallel lines on the satellite's surface could be droppings from Saturn's rings, one of the moons, or a passing comet, researchers suggest.

Illustration of Jupiter Trojans

Solar System

Trojan Asteroids Are in a Class of Their Own

Hordes of debris trapped by Jupiter and Neptune have distinct colors that mark them as possibly the last remnants of the material that built the giant planets.

Composite image of dwarf spheroidal galaxy Donatiello I

Astronomy & Observing News

Dwarf Galaxy Found by Amateur

Donatiello I is a tiny galaxy about 10 million light-years away, and it was discovered by an Italian hobbyist with a homemade telescope.

Visualization of proto-supercluster Hyperion

Astronomy & Observing News

60-Second Astro News: Infant Superclusters and Wavering Gamma Rays

In astronomy news this week: A gargantuan supercluster of galaxies lurks in the early universe, while data from the Fermi telescope hint at two supermassive black holes locked in a gravitational dance.

Picture of ridge on Iapetus

Astronomy & Observing News

Some Moons Could Have Moons of Their Own

Four solar system satellites — and one putative exomoon — are big enough and far enough from their home worlds to hold onto tiny moons for billions of years.

Astronomy & Observing News

Low-key supernova marks possible birth of neutron star duo

A massive star lost most of its mass before exploding and creating a neutron star — and a second nearby neutron star might have been the thief.

Illustration of positions of Voyager 1 and 2

Space Missions

Voyager 2 Approaches Interstellar Space

An increase in cosmic rays indicates that Voyager 2 is approaching the heliopause, where the solar wind gives way to the interstellar medium.

Hubble Space Telescope in orbit, NASA

Space Missions

Hubble Hibernates After Minor Breakdown

A failure of a gyroscope used to point and stabilize the Hubble telescope caused the observatory to safely shut down while engineers determine a fix.

Illustration of Kepler-1625b and exomoon in transit


Hubble Boosts Case for Exomoon

Exoplanet Kepler-1625b might harbor a moon the size of Neptune—potentially the first confirmed exomoon—but researchers urge caution.

Illustration of Planet Nine

Solar System

New Object Found in Far Outer Solar System

Astronomers have discovered a object—2015 TG387—that could help in the hunt for a hypothesized Planet Nine in the distant reaches of the solar system.