About 450 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Taurus, a dense, dark, interstellar cloud has slowly started to reveal its secrets. The addition of new high-resolution data like that for the star HL Tau is at long last allowing astronomers to see the hidden details of planet and disk formation and, from this, create the next-generation physics-based models for how planets form.
Can comets hit Earth? As a scientist who helped launch vehicles into Space, I wondered the answer to this question too. Recently the comet named Si...
Thinking about whether a particular set of religious practices or beliefs would make sense on a different planet might be a valuable exercise in understanding ourselves.
Robotic telescopes constantly collect astronomical data and generate enormous astronomical databases. But these huge databases are of almost no value unless there are tools that can analyze them and turn them into knowledge.
When the Moon is totally in the Earth's shadow, called totality, the Moon will turn an eerie shade of red as sunlight bends through the Earth's atmosphere to reach it. After totality, the Earth's shadow will slowly wipe off the Moon and return it to its normal, full self.
It will be fun to see what turns up in the Rosetta and Philae images and data from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko! Astronomy is always full of surprises when you see something at high resolution for the first time.
Four hundred five years ago this week, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his new telescope to members of the Venetian senate in the Plaza San Marco. This presentation on Aug. 25, 1609, marks the birth of the astronomical telescope and the launching of a scientific revolution.
The sun (Helios) was the divine king of the sky for the Greeks. According to the "Homeric Hymn" of Helios: The sun shines his light on both men and im...
An ambitious campaign by the space fundraising group Uwingu starts today that will allow participants to beam a message to Mars.
Do you want conspiracy theorists to create the nation's scientific research agenda? Does it make sense to take their bizarre views seriously?
In 2006 the IAU "demoted" Pluto to dwarf-planet status, setting off an outcry of public disappointment, first among schoolchildren but later among all classes of astronomy enthusiasts, and even planetary scientists, who disagree with the IAU's logic.
For decades, at least, astronomers will be unable to know that an Earth twin's spectrum that shows signs of both oxygen and methane comes entirely from a single object. In other words, even if we find such a tantalizing signal, we might not know that we've found life on the Earth twin.
In 2009 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) held its general assembly in Rio de Janeiro. Of the 2,109 participants, 667 (or 31.6 percent) were women. Indeed, in recent years, the fraction of women among astronomers has been growing continuously. But who is considered to have been the first female astronomer?
On August 21, 2017 the first total solar eclipse in decades visible from the continental United States will appear in state near you.
Before we can jump straight into writing code and seeing what it does, we need a place to write code, and a way to run it.
The work involved in creating the largest telescope in human history, the Giant Magellan Telescope, must be matched by the energy invested in inspiring and preparing future astronomers to use it.