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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Aldebaran is not just the brightest star in the constellation Taurus, it's also the 14th brightest star in the sky.

By Valerie Stimac

If you imagine the eight major planets in a single line stretching out from the sun, this alignment occurs roughly every 13.4 trillion years. And our solar system is 4.5 billion years old.

By Valerie Stimac

Many people dream of climbing Mount Everest, but what if it were possible to scale the highest mountain in the solar system? That mountain is more than twice as tall as Everest! So, where is it?

By Valerie Stimac

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Not sure what you're seeing in the night sky? Astronomy software such as Stellarium makes stargazing easier by helping to explain what you're seeing when you look at the stars.

By Valerie Stimac

Astronomers at Haleakalā Observatory in Hawaii noted a bright X-ray emission in 2018, which persisted for three weeks and glowed ten times more brightly than previously studied supernovas, but are just now beginning to understand it.

By Valerie Stimac

The gegenschein, "faint light" in German, occurs under very specific astronomical conditions when the sun reaches the exact opposite of Earth from wherever you're stargazing.

By Valerie Stimac

Early dark energy, a form of dark energy that may have existed a few hundred thousand years after the big bang, could help clarify the universe's rate of expansion. But its existence hasn't been proven.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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The Mars solar conjunction occurs every two years and forces NASA to stop communicating with assets on the Red Planet. So what's the deal?

By Sharise Cunningham

Scientists have observed flashes of X-rays coming from behind a supermassive black hole, consistent with Albert Einstein's prediction that extremely large objects can bend light.

By Patrick J. Kiger

In recent years, Saturn has overtaken Jupiter as the planet with the most moons in our solar system. How many does it have and could it have even more?

By Valerie Stimac

You know Saturn and Venus and Mars and ... some others. Can you put the eight planets of the solar system in the correct order? There are several ways to do this.

By Valerie Stimac

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Scientists at Yale are using "quantum squeezing" to reduce "noise" in their search for dark matter.

By Benjamin Brubaker

Surely you've watched tons of sunsets in your lifetime. But have you ever seen the sunset and the moonrise simultaneously? Is that even possible?

By Sharise Cunningham

Arcturus is 113 times brighter than our sun, even though it's only a little bigger. What else should we know about this red giant?

By Valerie Stimac

Everyone's heard of the blue moon and the harvest moon, but every other full moon of the year has a name, too. What are their names, and when do these moons occur?

By Nathan Chandler

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Stars are giant nuclear fusion reactors, and we wouldn't exist without them. Find out how much you know about these twinkling lights with our quiz.

By David Warmflash, M.D.

Whether it's a solar eclipse, a meteor shower or the launch of the long-awaited James Webb Space Telescope, 2021 has a lot to offer.

By Valerie Stimac

All of the planets in the solar system are named for Greek gods, except Earth. So where did the name come from?

By Mark Mancini

The Quadrantids are a short but powerful meteor shower that shows up in early January. How can you glimpse it?

By Valerie Stimac

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A magnetar is a neutron star with a super-strong magnetic field. Astronomers consider them among the scariest objects in the universe, but why?

By Valerie Stimac

You might call it a Christmas miracle. Jupiter and Saturn will align so closely they may look like a double planet. The last time we saw this was in 1226.

By Valerie Stimac

Winter is the perfect time to look for Orion's Belt in the Northern Hemisphere. If you're new to stargazing, we'll show you how to find it.

By Valerie Stimac

The annual Leonid meteor shower is back, and peaks in the early-morning hours of November 17. It's made up of tiny bits of debris from the comet Tempel-Tuttle. Here's how to see it.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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Even if you've never looked through a telescope, you've probably seen Vega, one of the brightest stars in our galaxy. In fact, thousands of years ago, Vega was our North Pole star, and will be again in the future.

By Valerie Stimac

Every autumn, Earth passes through a stream of debris left by Halley's comet, resulting in nighttime meteor showers in mid-October. The best time this year is Oct. 20-21.

By Patrick J. Kiger