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.
Scientists estimate that there are over 100,000 intelligent alien civilizations in our galaxy alone -- but we've never heard anything from any of them. Here are 13 possible explanations for why.
Much of modern physics has been about exploring inherently invisible things, which seem to be far more common than the obvious things we experience with our senses. Yet these invisible things follow rigorous laws that allow us to test their existence in many ways. Here is a very short list of some of the "invisible" things that we routinely work with.
While it may be disappointing, I have to confess to people who ask for my insights on the meaning of it all that astronomy doesn't provide any clearly useful data on matters of sin and souls. But it does offer some humbling insight into the scale of the problem.
We may actually be of the utmost significance to the universe, because after nearly 14 billion years of cosmic evolution, it is through our brain power that the universe has finally achieved self-awareness.
This week the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), astronomy clubs, and a host of U.S. national parks across the country celebrate International Dark Sky Week to raise awareness of light pollution.
It is time and then some to move on to the pleasures of spring.
The center of the universe might be closer than you think -- in fact, it might be right under your feet. A conservative Catholic crank, Robert Sungenis, is now resurrecting the long-discredited geocentric model in a bizarre movie called The Principle.
What does the lunar eclipse do for us? It unites us -- that's what! It reminds us that we are all under the same beautiful full moon, shining bright...
Wow, where did the past year go? It's once again time to dust off your space helmets and dancing shoes and get ready to celebrate the anniversary of t...
The plagues are a parable. Those who build empires on oppression, who defy divine directives of righteousness, will ultimately find their own lives unlivable. Nature is the agent of this cosmic comeuppance.