Space Missions

Is Mercury Alive After All?

The Messenger spacecraft has discovered unusual hollow formations on Mercury's surface. No one knows what causes them, but volatile-spewing volcanoes are candidates.


Citizen Scientists Track Down New Planets

Using data gathered by the Kepler Space Telescope, a legion of amateur planet-hunting volunteers have perhaps uncovered the existence of two alien worlds.

Astronomy & Observing News

Sky & Telescope November 2011

Sky & Telescope's November 2011 issue is now available to digital subscribers.


SETI Projects Weather Recession

Although funding has eroded for SETI@home and the Allen Telescope Array in the past few years, both alien-hunting projects have survived, thanks to donors and volunteers.


50 New Worlds and a Big, Pleasant Earth?

The HARPS planet-hunting spectrograph of the European Southern Observatory has just produced 50 more worlds — one of which may be not too hot, and not too cold by Earth-creatures' standards.

This photo was taken on August 20, 2011, at Observatory Park's dedication ceremony.  The image depicts a sundial in the park's plaza.

People, Places, and Events

Dark Skies in Ohio

Where can you go in the Midwest to view the night sky unimpeded by light pollution? Ohio has a spot for you.

Science and Space Policy

Webb Telescope: Progress and Problems

Despite threats by the House of Representatives to cut funding, the James Webb Space Telescope plans move ahead.


The Darkest Exoplanet Yet

Think you know all the kinds of alien worlds? Think again. Two astronomers have just added another weirdo to the list: an exoplanet darker than powdered charcoal.

Stellar Science

Hunt for Supernova Origins

New observations are beginning to uncover the origins of some Type Ia supernovae.

Solar System

Best Evidence Yet for Martian Water

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found perplexing dark streaks that form seasonally and strongly suggest that liquid water flows on the Martian surface.

Pro-Am Collaboration

Amateur Search for White-Dwarf Planets

Arizona amateur Bruce Gary is assembling a pro-am team to look for planets orbiting dead stars.

Astronomy & Observing News

A Promising White-Dwarf Binary

A team of scientists has found two white dwarfs locked in a close mutual orbit, providing an excellent chance to test Einstein's general theory of relativity.


From Stars to Stardust

Astronomers have determined that a recent supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud created a half-Sun's worth of dust — hinting that such stellar explosions might be an unexpectedly rich source of dust throughout the universe.

Solar System

Hubble Spots New Moon Orbiting Pluto

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered a new moon orbiting the icy planet Pluto.

Solar System

Does Air Pollution Alter Lunar Eclipses?

Observations of June 15th’s total lunar eclipse suggest that smoggy skies over China created unusual patterns in the umbral glow on the Moon.

Stellar Science

Neutron Star Gobbles Gas, Burps X-rays

Astronomers have observed a neutron star flaring to 10,000 times its original brightness.

Solar System

Saltwater Ocean on Enceladus

Recent findings hint at the possibility of a saltwater ocean beneath Enceladus's icy surface.