Solar SystemThe Earth's solar system, including the sun, moon, planets and satellites
NASA's Voyager spacecraft have found a foamy layer at the edge of the heliosphere
June 14, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
A new study provides insight into how convection creates sunspots
June 03, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
I have to say, when I think about the end of the Space Shuttle program, I'm really not that sorry to see it come to a close
May 16, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
Outer space has many mysteries, among them are these fables about NASA that have permeated the public’s memory
April 15, 2011 | By Mark Strauss
1 ) Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was launched into space in Vostok 1 on the morning of April 12, 1961, 50 years ago today.2 ) He was a 27-year-old military pilot.3 ) He and his family were thrown out of their house by the Germans during World War II.4 ) They had to live in a dugout in the garden.5 ) Gaga...
April 12, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
Name? 2010 SO16Discovered? In images from the WISE infrared survey satellite, launched in 2009.Orbit? Very Earth-like, say it's discoverers, Apostolos Christou and David Asher, of Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, who report their finding in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Socie...
April 07, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
Scientists are probing deep beneath the surface of our nearest star to calculate its profound effect on Earth
April 2011 | By Robert Irion
Our Sun goes through cycles of activity on average every 11 years. At the height of a cycle, the Sun is a busy place, with flares, eruptions and sunspots. At its lowest point, the Sun is quiet. That quiet period usually lasts for about 300 days, but the last solar minimum stretched for 780 days fro...
March 03, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
Two unsung space telescopes create eye-opening images of the universe from light we can't see
February 2011 | By Abigail Tucker
Saturn's moon Iapetus is just weird. When Giovanni Cassini discovered the moon in 1671, he found that he could see Iapetus only when it was on the west side of the planet; the moon, it turns out, is much darker on one side than the other and is tidally locked with Saturn so that one side always fac...
December 14, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
I was looking at images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, the latest satellite to study our star, and was struck by their beauty. SDO records the Sun in several wavelengths, producing gorgeous images of its ever-changing surface. And then I had a great idea: wouldn't these make fabulous ornam...
December 10, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
Here's something to ponder over Thanksgiving dinner: who among your fellow diners would you send on a one-way trip to Mars? Or would you choose to go yourself and leave all you know behind for an uncertain future as a bold explorer?Two scientists, astrobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington St...
November 23, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
On March 31, 1781, William Herschel, a German musician and composer, looked through a homemade 7-foot-long telescope in his back garden in Bath, England and saw something odd. He thought it was a comet, but it didn't act quite like other comets. And when scientists of the time calculated the object...
October 26, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
NASA and other space agencies have a host of satellites aimed at the Sun, taking pictures and gathering data that scientists are using to better understand how the star we depend on works. None have ever gotten close to the Sun, though. A 1958 National Academy of Science panel recommended that NASA...
September 07, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
Probes and landers sent into the final frontier will bring us closer to answering cosmic mysteries
August 2010 | By Mark Strauss
Solar technologies being pioneered in Spain show even greater promise for the United States
August 2010 | By Richard Covington
The National Air and Space Museum is holding its annual Mars Day today. Visitors can learn about current and upcoming Mars missions from NASA scientists, compete in a Red Planet Quiz Show and view a Martian meteorite. (Check out Around the Mall's Five Reasons Why You Need to be at Mars Day.)For tho...
July 16, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
Apollo with his famous lyre is the Greek god of music. This son of Zeus was also closely associated with the Sun and is often assumed to be the Sun god Helios by a different name. In other polytheistic circles, none of the gods of music in Hindu, Norse, Japanese or Egyptian mythologies were associa...
June 23, 2010 | By Brandon Springer
From time immemorial, humans have looked in wonder at the cosmos and attempted to express their awe through art. Astronomers, from Ptolemy to Kepler, commented on the great dance of the heavenly spheres and the harmonies of the celestial bodies of Sun, Moon and Earth. Musicians and composers have s...
June 22, 2010 | By Brandon Springer
In "Dark Energy: The Biggest Mystery in the Universe" from the April issue of Smithsonian, writer Richard Panek describes an experiment that measures the distance between the Earth and the Moon:Twenty times a second, a laser high in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico aims a pulse of light at t...
April 28, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski