Latest Astronomy Stories
European experts have spotted one of the faintest asteroids ever found – a chunk of space rock thought to be about 100 m in diameter beyond the orbit of Mars.
At a recent meeting ESO’s main governing body, the Council, gave the green light  for the construction of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) in two phases.
Samples of moon rocks brought back by the Apollo astronauts are a gift that just keeps on giving, and a new study has shed more light on the fact that the moon once had its own magnetic field, just like the Earth has today.
On Dec. 4, 2014, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 1:25 p.m. EST. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event.
Among the billions and billions of stars in the sky, where should astronomers look for infant Earths where life might develop?
The intermittent light emitted by pulsars, the most precise timekeepers in the universe, allows scientists to verify Einstein's theory of relativity, especially when these objects are paired up with another neutron star or white dwarf that interferes with their gravity.
Planets orbiting close to low-mass stars — easily the most common stars in the universe — are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life.
With the help of citizen scientists, a team of astronomers has found an important new example of a very rare type of galaxy that may yield valuable insight on how galaxies developed in the early Universe.
Research geochemist Alan Rubin elaborates on the fine science of telling real space rocks from fakes.
Planet hunters received some good news recently. A new study concluded that, on average, sun-like stars aren't all that dusty. Less dust means better odds of snapping clear pictures of the stars' planets in the future.
The prominent feature that allows for the existence of life on Earth is the Sun. Radiation from our closest star provides heat and energy to our planet, driving biological processes and providing the necessary conditions for liquid water to naturally exist. But our Sun is only but one star in this vast Universe. And as it turns out, most stars are quite different than the one that illuminates our day. For this reason, scientists have, for hundreds of years, attempted to study the other...
Image Caption: Artistic concept of a planetary system. Credit: Wikipedia/NASA/JPL-Caltech The term Astronomy encompasses a broad range of topics, including the study of stars, galaxies, and planets. In order to focus on the different areas of study, many subfields of astronomy emerge. One such area is the study of planets known, appropriately, as Planetary Astronomy. Observational Planetary Astronomy Even within the field of Planetary Astronomy, there are several divisions to...
Image Caption: The Hubble Extreme Deep Field (XDF) was completed in September 2012 and shows the farthest galaxies ever photographed by humans. Each speck of light in the photo is an individual galaxy, some of them as old as 13.2 billion years; the observable universe is estimated to contain more than 200 billion galaxies. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia What is Cosmology? I once commented to an acquaintance that I was fascinated by the field of Cosmology, and mused that if I had more time, I...
Image Caption: NGC 4414, a typical spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices, is about 56,000 light-years in diameter and approximately 60 million light-years distant. Credit: NASA/ESA/Wikipedia What is Astrophysics? For much of the modern age the term Astrophysics has been used synonymously with Astronomy. This interchange is so common that many textbooks even offer the two as having the same meaning. However, from a strictly historical perspective there are differences...
The Tropic of Capricorn, alternately called the Southern Tropic, is a marker of the most southerly latitude on the Earth at which the Sun can be directly overhead. This occurs at the December solstice, when the southern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun at its maximum degree. It is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. It presently lies 23 degrees 26’ 16’’ south of the Equator. Currently, the Tropic of Capricorn is drifting towards the north at...
- A pivoted catch designed to fall into a notch on a ratchet wheel so as to allow movement in only one direction (e.g. on a windlass or in a clock mechanism), or alternatively to move the wheel in one direction.