The Ant planetary nebula. Ejecting gas from the dying central star shows symmetrical patterns unlike the chaotic patterns of ordinary explosions.

A Celestial News Bureau

Three Smithsonian astronomers run a worldwide news service about what is happening overhead

Jack Dailey

A New Man at Air and Space


Space Art Blasts Off Around the World


NASA Goes Ballistic

The space agency crashed a satellite on the moon in a search for water. It wants to "shoot" a comet.


Putting the Brakes on Light

Light travels 186,000 miles per second in a vacuum; in Lene Hau's lab, it ambles at 38 miles an hour


Mining for Meteorites

As prices skyrocket, gonzo collectors are combing the globe for these celestial fragments—and riling researchers

A computer-generated image representing space debris

Casting a High-Tech Net for Space Trash

A cloud of spacecraft parts and debris envelops the earth. Keeping track of it takes the best we have


Scoping Out the Sky

For everyday folks and presidents, too, the Naval Observatory is a fascinating place to study the stars


A Space Invader Is Here

An intergalactic war is going on, but not the kind we used to read about in science fiction magazines


More Violence Overhead

Bursts of gamma rays have been a mystery for 30 years; Now, with new satellites, we have some clues


Star Wars on the Mall


Planets Around Other Stars Are Hot Hot Hot

Suddenly we find that lots of nearby stars have their own planets, even though so far we can "see" only the giants


The Great Martian Fossil Hunt

If bacterial life did arise on an Earth-like early Mars, we should be able to find its fossil remains preserved in those red rocks


It's in the Air: Skin, Stardust, Radio Waves, Vitamins, Spider Legs

We seldom notice air, but there's more going on in that cubic foot of the ether in front of our faces than most of us would ever guess


Phenomena, Comment & Notes

While Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 is history, space scientists are beginning to piece together the details of its pyrotechnic encounter with Jupiter last July

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