Mary Beth Griggs
at 10:15 AM Mar 22 2016

Talk about a big bang. In the animation above, you can see a star exploding. Though the animation is an artist's interpretation of the event, it is based on real data collected by NASA's Kepler telescope, which has been scanning wide swaths of the sky looking for rare events like this one.

Sarah Fecht
at 10:13 AM Mar 22 2016

When it's finished being built, the European Extremely Large Telescope will be the world's largest optical telescope. The bad news is, it won't see the light of day (or stars, rather) until 2024 or later. But the good news is that you can build your own right now.

Sarah Fecht
at 22:55 PM Jan 27 2016

Scientists used to suspect a giant planet named "2MASS J2126-8140" was a rogue world, wandering the galaxy without a star to orbit. But it turns out the planet isn't homeless after all: its star is just very, very far away. Like, a trillion kilometers away.

Sarah Fecht
at 10:48 AM Sep 18 2015

For all intents and purposes, Pluto and Earth don't have a lot in common. One is a planet, one is not (or at least not officially). One is an ice world, while the other is mostly water. One is red, the other blue. But black and white photos can obscure a lot of those differences. In the latest batch of images returned from the New Horizons spacecraft, Pluto looks a lot like home.

Loren Grush
at 09:52 AM Oct 15 2014

Our cold, lifeless Moon just turned the corner into pretty hot and tempting. It turns out Earth’s satellite was once rife with volcanic activity, and some of its eruptions occurred within the past 100 million years – perhaps even within the past 50 million years. That’s about a billion years earlier than what researchers had originally assumed.

Francie Diep
at 07:30 AM Oct 14 2014

Want to turn your smartphone into a cosmic ray detector? Well there's an app for that. Cosmic Rays Found in Smartphones, or CRAYFIS, uses smartphones' and tablets' standard camera equipment to detect some of the super-rare particles that shower down on the Earth when a high-energy cosmic ray hits the atmosphere. CRAYFIS collects that data, then sends them onto physicists at the University of California's Irvine and Davis campuses for analysis.

Chandra Clarke
at 10:17 AM Jun 17 2014

We all know the dangers of getting too much sun: things like sunburn and heat stroke can really ruin a summer day. But did you realize that activity on the sun's roiling surface can also cause us a lot of grief? "Sunspots," which look like black holes in the sun's surface, are where bundles of magnetic fields cross the surface of the Sun from the solar interior to the solar atmosphere and back. Hot gas from below bubbles up to the surface (also called the photosphere); the sunspots look dark because they are cooler than their surrounding area. Eruptions from sunspots often shoot X-Rays and high-energy particles our way. Even though the sun is 150 million km (93 million miles) away, solar activity can endanger the International Space Station and the astronauts inside, as well as aircraft flying at high-altitude or high-latitude. X-Rays and high-energy particles can mess up GPS signals and our electrical grid.

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