Saturn's moon Enceladus

Astrobiology

Potential Trouble for Life on Icy Moons

A lack of dry land on moons such as Europa and Enceladus might make it difficult to seed oceans with phosphorus, an element essential for life as we know it.

Alpha, Beta, and Proxima Centauri

Astronomy Questions & Answers

What date were the two principal stars of the Alpha Centauri system last known to be closest to each other?

On what terrestrial date were the two principal stars of the Alpha Centauri system last known to be closest to each other in space? According to the orbit recently published by Belgian astronomer Dimitri Pourbaix, α1 and α2 Centauri were closest in space (at periastron) in early August 1955, and…

Hobby-based Q&A

How do you pronounce “Vega” and “Canis Major”?

How do you pronounce “Vega”? “Canis Major”? In 1941 the American Astronomical Society formed a committee of Samuel G. Barton, George A. Davis Jr., and Daniel J. McHugh to consult with astronomers, educators, Arabic scholars, and planetarium lecturers and come up with a list of preferred pronunciations for common star…

Stand-out star on the rise in December

Science-based Q&A

Why are the stars so far away?

Why are the stars so far away? That question has a real answer: Because if the stars were much closer, Earth wouldn’t exist, and we wouldn’t be here to ask.

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