Though the exoplanets found to date are in our galaxy, most are about 100 light-years away.

The Planet Hunters

Astronomers have found about 200 planets orbiting other stars, and they say it's only a matter of time before they discover another Earth


Last Page: Moonstruck

You can't believe everything you think

The View From the Center of the Universe: Discovering Our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos

Finding a Home in the Cosmos

In a new book written with his wife, Nancy Abrams, cosmologist Joel Primack argues that the universe was meant for us. Sort of

On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space as a mission specialist on STS-7.

35 Who Made a Difference: Sally Ride

A generation later, the first female astronaut is still on a mission

35 Who Made a Difference: John Dobson

Come one, come all. Share the sky with the father of sidewalk astronomy

Dubbed the "human satellite," McCandless (bottom center, with the 1984 Challenger crew, including pilot-photographer Gibson, upper left) now works on space robots.


The image of Bruce McCandless' spacewalk two decades ago still amazes. It was the first untethered walk ever—and was among the last


The Year Of Albert Einstein

His discoveries in 1905 would forever change our understanding of the universe. Amid the centennial hoopla, the trick is to separate the man from the math


Science Matters

The Institution decides to focus on four basic questions

Artist depiction of the MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit around Mercury

Being There

Robotic spacecraft allow geologists to explore other planets as if they were on-site

A Bumpy Road to Mars

The president envisions a future human mission to Mars, but medical researchers say surviving the journey is no spacewalk

This image of the Sun's outermost layer, or corona, was taken June 10, 1998, by TRACE (Transition Region and Coronal Explorer). The Earth-orbiting NASA spacecraft, launched two months earlier, has an unobstructed view of the Sun eight months of the year. It is helping to solve the mystery of why the Sun's corona is so much hotter (3.6 million degrees Farenheit) than its surface (11,000 degrees Farenheit). TRACE is also shedding light on solar storms, which damage satellites and disrupt power transmissions.

Celestial Sightseeing

From Triton's active geysers to the Sun's seething flares, newly enhanced images from U.S. and foreign space probes depict the solar system as never before


To Touch the Heavens

Noreen Grice has given the visually impaired a feel for the universe


Lighthouse of the Skies

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory probes the universe for the unimaginable


Just Looking: Sweet Sorrow

9-planet solar system

Caution, Planets Ahead

The world's largest (maybe) 9-planet solar system model goes up along Route 1 in northern Maine


Look! Up in the Sky! It's a Bird! It's a Planet. It's a Very Large Ball of Ice!

It's Pluto, with its moon, Charon


Stars in Their Eyes

The exquisite telescopes crafted by Alvan Clark and his sons helped make the last half of the 19th century a golden age of astronomy


Mapping Galactic Foam

Smithsonian astronomer Margaret Geller plotted the bubble structure of the universe. Now she's working to find out how it got that way


Painted Ladies in Space

High schoolers ask: would metamorphosis aboard a space shuttle mission yield normal butterflies?

Chandra X-ray space observatory of the NASA

A Stellar Imagemaker

Smithsonian and NASA's Chandra x-ray observatory sheds new light on the mysteries of the universe

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