Spacecraft and Space Missions

Streaking Snowballs in Saturn's F Ring

Self-destructing clumps of ice particles are changing the face of Saturn's bizarre F ring. No longer unseen ghosts, these theoretically predicted objects are putting on quite a show for NASA's Cassini spacecraft.


Colorful Cluster Transformation

Astronomers have spotted a unique galaxy cluster at a surprisingly far distance from Earth. The close mixing of lively and “red-and-dead” galaxies suggests an important transitional period in galaxy cluster evolution — when star formation shuts off.

Astronomy and Society

Great Heights Reached with Gaffer Tape

Spectacular photos of Earth’s curvature from the atmosphere are just one balloon and camera click away. Able to reach an altitude of more than 20 miles, so-called space balloons are an inexpensive hobby for those with an eye for the sky.

Stellar Science

Sunspots' Secrets Unraveling

For the first time, astronomers have detected an elusive molecule in the cool interiors of sunspots that might help them understand what causes the phenomena and better predict changes in space weather.


Heartbeat Suggests Smallest Black Hole

Strange, regular pulses from a black hole-star binary system suggest that the smallest black hole yet discovered lies behind the signals. Similarities between it and another known mystery object may mean the black holes are hiccuping as they eat.