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Astronomy

Astronomy is a broad discipline covering all facets of astrophysics. In this section you can learn about the origins of the universe, black holes and other astronomical phenomena.

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Why Is the North Star So Stellarly Important?

Polaris, also known as the North Star, is almost exactly over the celestial North Pole, making it extremely useful for navigation (and for making wishes on, as well).

Leonid Meteor Shower: What You Need to Know

The annual Leonid meteor shower is back, and peaks in the early-morning hours of November 18. It's made up of tiny bits of debris from the comet Tempel-Tuttle. Here's how to see it.

The Orionid Meteor Shower Is Back — Here's What You Need to Know

Every autumn, Earth passes through a stream of debris left by Halley's comet, resulting in nighttime meteor showers in mid-October. Best time this year is Oct. 21-22.

Venus: Earth's Blazing-hot and Bizarre Twin

The atmospheric pressure is crushingly extreme on Venus, and lead would melt into a puddle on its surface. But as hellish as this place sounds, it actually has a lot in common with Earth.

Jupiter: Anatomy of a Gas Giant

Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. Big as it is though, next to the sun, Jupiter looks puny.

Is Planet Nine Actually a Primordial Black Hole?

As the search for Planet Nine wears on, and astronomers have yet to get so much as a glimpse of it, researchers are pondering what else the object might be.

Confirmed: Comet Borisov Is Another Interstellar Visitor

The galaxy has sent another tumbling chunk of frozen interstellar material our way.

It's Only a Rolling Rock on Mars (But I Like It)

NASA just named a rolling rock on Mars after — who else — the Rolling Stones.

Ploonets: When Moons Become Planets

Did you know that a moon can leave its orbit around a large planet and go out on its own?

Rare Asteroid Discovered With Fastest Orbit Around the Sun

Researchers at the Zwicky Transient Facility have found an asteroid in Earth's orbit. And this one has the shortest year yet.

Why Does Jupiter Have 79 Moons When Earth Just Has One?

Scientists recently found 12 more moons revolving around Jupiter, bringing its total to 79. Why does Jupiter have so many darn moons? Is there any advantage to that?

Why Are Planets Almost Spherical?

Why not cylindrical? Or even cube-shaped?

Worm, Strawberry, Blue: Every Full Moon Has a Name

Everyone's heard of the blue moon and the harvest moon, but did you know every full moon of the year has a name? What are the names and when do the moons occur?

Want to Find Past Life on Mars? Dive Deep Into Earth First

The mysterious microbes living more than half a mile beneath the deepest ocean floors could have something to teach us about Martian life.

White Dwarfs Can Shred Planets to Pieces

So what does that mean for good ol' Earth someday?

The Truth Behind the Rogue Planet Nibiru

The idea of planet Nibiru has captivated doomsday prophets and conspiracy theorists for decades, but nobody has proven its existence. What's the deal?

NASA's InSight Mission Detects Its First Marsquake

The wait is over. NASA confirms Mars is seismically active.

The Lyrid Meteor Shower Is Back — Here's What You Need to Know

Every April, the Lyrid meteor shower fills the sky with 'shooting stars.' Here's how to see them.

The Superb Moon Quiz

In the darkness of space, we’re comforted by our moon, the circular inspirer of song lyrics, poetry, and wannabe astronauts. But what do you really know about the moon and its history? Take this quiz to find out.

Hunting for Martians in the Most Extreme Desert on Earth

Rovers are getting some practice hunting for microbes here on Earth before they head to Mars in 2020.

Our Milky Way Is Warped Like an Old Vinyl Record

It's tricky to see the true shape of the Milky Way when you're stuck inside it. So how did scientists figure it out?

Saturn's Rings Will Exist for Just a Blip in Time

No worries though. Jupiter, Neptune or Uranus could create their own beautiful, bright ring display in the distant future.

Does the Sun Rotate?

Like Earth, the sun does rotate, but in a different way.

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