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Hot Jupiters may form close to their stars

Astronomy Magazine - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 05:00
Giant planets circling their suns in a matter of days could form in place, rather than migrating inward, as previously thought.
Categories: Astronomy

The plants that China sprouted on the Moon have died

Astronomy Magazine - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 05:00
Dead plants Earlier this month, an experiment on China’s Chang’e 4 lander got cotton plants to sprout on the Moon, a historic first. Well, they’re already dead. On Jan. 7, China’s space agency released pictures of cotton seeds beginning to grow on the Chang’e 4 lander. But, as reported by GBTimes on Jan. 16, the new sprouts haven’t survived the freezing temperatures on the lunar surface, even in their protective capsule. The cotton seeds sprouted inside of a c
Categories: Astronomy

Ancient lunar craters reveal Earth’s own impact history

Astronomy Magazine - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 05:00
Can studying pockmarks on the Moon teach us about the hits Earth has taken?
Categories: Astronomy

Get outside and see this weekend's total lunar eclipse

Astronomy Magazine - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 05:00

On January 20, a total eclipse of the Moon will be visible in its entirety across North and South America.

Categories: Astronomy

The Sky This Week from January 18 to January 27

Astronomy Magazine - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 05:00

A total eclipse of the Moon Sunday night highlights a week that also boasts a stunning predawn conjunction between Venus and Jupiter.

Categories: Astronomy

Saturn's rings are surprisingly young

Astronomy Magazine - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 05:00
The first dinosaurs and mammals appeared long before the planet's stunning rings.
Categories: Astronomy

Our solar system's formation was a lot messier than you think

Astronomy Magazine - Wed, 01/16/2019 - 05:00
When most of us learn about the solar system, it seems like a pretty well-ordered place. Our Sun formed first, about five billion years ago, and the planets appeared a little later. As a very general trend, these planets grew larger and less dense the farther from the Sun they formed. But this story leaves out the chaotic dynamics and frenetic reshuffling that occurred when our solar system was young. Nature may like order eventually, but that order evolves out of pure chance. Our solar system
Categories: Astronomy

Tonight, asteroid Eros will make its closest approach to Earth until 2056

Astronomy Magazine - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 05:00
Near-Earth asteroid 433 Eros makes its closest approach to Earth since 2012 today, when it comes within 19.4 million miles (31.2 million kilometers) of our planet. Throughout the week, asteroid Eros glows at 9th magnitude, making it bright enough to glimpse through small telescopes. The elongated asteroid has an average diameter of just over 10.5 miles (17 km), making it about 1/50th the diameter of dwarf Planet Ceres, which is the largest body in the asteroid belt. Asteroid 433 Eros resides
Categories: Astronomy

Plants have been grown on the Moon for the very first time

Astronomy Magazine - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 05:00
Nearly 40 years after the last human left the lunar surface, the Moon is no longer devoid of life.
Categories: Astronomy

To track greenhouse gases, this nonprofit wants to launch its own satellite

Astronomy Magazine - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 05:00
An environmental nonprofit has granted two companies contracts to develop a methane-tracking satellite known as MethaneSAT.
Categories: Astronomy

Chang'e 4 sends another trove of images from the Moon's far side

Astronomy Magazine - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 05:00
Success for Chang’e 4 The far side of the moon is finally coming into focus. China’s Chang’e 4 mission became the first to land on the far side of the Moon earlier this month, and it sent back an initial, though blurry, picture. Now, Chinese officials have released new high quality images from the craft’s first days on the Moon.These images, captured by a camera aboard the Chang’e 4 lander, reveal never-before-seen details of the far side of the Moon. Among the imag
Categories: Astronomy

This Russian startup wants to put billboards in space. Astronomers aren’t impressed

Astronomy Magazine - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 05:00
Orbital Display is shooting for the stars ... with advertising.
Categories: Astronomy

A third of all galaxy clusters have gone unnoticed until now

Astronomy Magazine - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 05:00
Not all galaxy clusters are created equal. Now, astronomers think they've found a new way to search for the dim ones.
Categories: Astronomy

The Sky This Week from January 11 to January 20

Astronomy Magazine - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 05:00

A total eclipse of the Moon dominates a week that also features great views of Venus and Jupiter before dawn.

Categories: Astronomy

Hunt the Lion Cub tonight

Astronomy Magazine - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 05:00
It may be difficult, but tonight is a great opportunity to seek on the dim constellation Leo Minor.
Categories: Astronomy

Hubble takes second-most detailed image ever

Astronomy Magazine - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 05:00
Hubble just released its second-largest image ever: the Triangulum Galaxy, and it’s a stunner. While Andromeda has been holding the top spot since being imaged back in 2015, this zoomable, roughly 665 million-pixel composite is nothing to sneeze at, clocking in at a staggering 34,372 x 19,345 pixels. All told that adds up to 665 million pixels. Also known as Messier 33, 40 billion stars make up this spiral galaxy, which is faintly visible by naked eye under a dark sky as a small smudge in
Categories: Astronomy

In a first, astronomers witness the birth of black hole or neutron star

Astronomy Magazine - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 21:15
Astronomers targeted the aftermath of a fiery supernova explosion and discovered a mysterious black hole or neutron star they've since dubbed "The Cow."
Categories: Astronomy

TESS discovers a dense sub-Neptune exoplanet, plus an Earth-sized world to boot

Astronomy Magazine - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 05:00

Two intriguing and newfound planets orbit a small star some 50 light-years away. One is denser than diamond, and the other is the first Earth-sized TESS planet discovered to date.

Categories: Astronomy

SpaceX's Crew Dragon might launch next month

Astronomy Magazine - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 05:00
Crew Dragon Launch In just about a month, SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon spacecraft might launch for the first time on an uncrewed orbital test flight to the International Space Station, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stated on Jan 5 on Twitter. Previously, SpaceX had suggested that the launch would take place Jan 17. After Musk said that the launch was about a month away, NASA confirmed in a statement today that an uncrewed test flight will take place no sooner than February. Still, no official new lau
Categories: Astronomy

Life might exist on the new planet discovered around Barnard's star

Astronomy Magazine - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 05:00
Late last year, astronomers announced that they’d found a super-Earth around Barnard’s star – one of the closest suns to our own. The discovery of a planet just six light-years away was enough to excite astronomers and the public alike. However, the researchers who found the planet said that they suspected the icy world couldn’t support life. But now, a group of astronomers are saying such pessimism may be premature. On Earth, geothermal vents produce heat and create uniq
Categories: Astronomy

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