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Celestial Objects to Observe

New Satellite "Mayak" Might Light Up the Sky

Russia's first crowd-funded satellite, named Mayak (Russian for "beacon of light"), promises to be the “brightest object in the night sky next to the Moon.”

Star-forming region RCW 38

Stellar Science

100 Billion Brown Dwarfs in the Milky Way?

A new study of a nearby cluster of newly formed stars reveals that brown dwarfs may rival stars in the Milky Way in number, with one brown dwarf for every two bona fide stars.

Diamond Ring

People, Places, and Events

Top 10 Places to View the Total Solar Eclipse

The celestial event of this young century — the great American total solar eclipse of 2017 — is now just weeks away. The biggest remaining question is, where will you be when the Moon’s shadow arrives?

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

"Gecko Gripper" Tech to Clean Up Space Junk

Researchers are figuring out how to use a nature-inspired "gecko gripper" technology to solve the mounting problem of space debris.

Voyager 2 approaches Neptune in 1989

Spacecraft and Space Missions

NASA Eyes "Ice Giant" Missions in the 2030s

A recent NASA study outlines possible dedicated missions to the "ice giant" planets Uranus and Neptune that might leave Earth as early as 2030.

NASA's boulder-retrieval mission

Science and Space Policy

NASA Closes Out Its Asteroid Redirect Mission

Following the release of the 2018 budget, the space agency has ordered an “orderly closeout” for the Asteroid Redirect program.

Planet Nine orbital plot

Solar System

New Wrinkles in the Search for “Planet X”

Are astronomers being misled about a possible ninth planet by the quirky alignment of orbits that they’re finding in the distant Kuiper Belt?

Large-scale structure


Does the Milky Way Live in a Void?

A sparse galactic neighborhood could clear up certain problems with our understanding of the universe.

Exoplanet Family Tree


Kepler Team Releases Final Exoplanet Catalog

The most comprehensive and detailed exoplanet catalog released yet marks the end of an era for Kepler, the planet-hunting telescope.

Wind flowing out of a barred spiral galaxy


Ring Found Around a Galaxy’s “Hidden” Black Hole

A team of astronomers has taken a close look at a nearby galaxy — and discovered an unusual structure that sheds light on supermassive black holes’ relationships with their host galaxies.

Red dwarf star with exoplanet

Stellar Science

Mini-Flares Might Threaten Life Around Red Dwarf Stars

A new study of data archived from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) spacecraft is revealing just how hard life might be on planets like those in the TRAPPIST-1 system.

Hottest Jupiter

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

KELT-9b: Hottest Hot Jupiter Exoplanet Yet

Astronomers announce the discovery of bloated gas giant KELT-9b, the hottest "hot Jupiter" exoplanet known orbiting a short-lived massive star.

Parker Solar Probe

Solar System

NASA's Parker Solar Probe to Touch the Sun

NASA's Parker Solar Probe, set to launch in 2018, will be humanity's first effort to "touch the Sun," revolutionizing our understanding of the Sun's corona, the solar wind, and the greater heliosphere.

merging black holes

Black Holes

LIGO Detects Third Black Hole Merger

Scientists with the gravitational-wave observatory announce another discovery, this time of a black hole merger twice as far away as previous detections.

Hubble observations of failed supernova

Stellar Science

Potential “Failed Supernova” Black Hole Discovered

Astronomers may have watched a star collapse directly into a black hole — minus the supernova. The failed supernova could help understand how stars die.

ESA ExoMars 2016

Spacecraft and Space Missions

New Clues on Fate of Schiaparelli Mars Lander

The European Space Agency has released its investigation into the crash of the Schiaparelli Mars lander in October 2016.

The Milky Way's Gamma-ray excess


The Origin of the Milky Way's Mysterious Gamma Rays

Our galaxy's center region is producing gamma rays, but astronomers are still debating whether pulsars or dark matter are the source. Three recent studies tackle the debate head-on.

Comet Swarm

Stellar Science

Finally! The Galaxy’s Most Mysterious Star Is Dimming

Tabby's star, otherwise known as the most mysterious star in the galaxy, is dipping drastically in brightness, giving astronomers an opportunity to figure out what has been causing this star's weird behavior.

Fireball over ALMA

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

A New Take on the Audible Meteor Mystery

A recent study suggests a plausible mechanism to explain why observers sometimes hear superbright meteors at the same time that they see them.