Astronomers

This false-colored image of Mercury reflects the varying age and mineral composition of the surface.

The Seven Most Amazing Discoveries We’ve Made by Exploring Mercury

Only two robotic missions have made it to the Swift Planet, but they were crucial for upending many false assumptions of that sun-scorched world

Tens of millions of people watched Monday's total solar eclipse.

When Are the Next Solar Eclipses? 2026 Promises Totality in Europe, While Much of America Has a Decades-Long Wait

The next total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous U.S. won’t take place until August 23, 2044—but eclipse chasers will have other opportunities to experience totality before that

Furnished with permission from the British to cross into their waters, Samuel Williams set sail for Penobscot Bay in south-central Maine, which he thought was within a solar eclipse's path of totality.

The Eclipse Chaser Who Led an Expedition Behind Enemy Lines During the Revolutionary War

In 1780, astronomer Samuel Williams journeyed to British-controlled territory to view a total solar eclipse

Traffic backed up on Interstate 57 near Johnston City, Illinois, after the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.

Planning a Road Trip for the Total Solar Eclipse? Here's Why You Should Drive Extra Carefully

Scientists found a 31 percent increase in fatal car crashes around the 2017 total solar eclipse, akin to spikes in traffic risk on busy holiday weekends

Roughly every 71 years, the bright periodic comet 12P/Pons-Brooks passes by the sun and Earth. At its brightest, it can be seen with the naked eye in fairly dark skies.

You Can See a Rare, Bright Comet This Month. Will It Be Visible During the Solar Eclipse?

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is a frigid, volcanic ice ball that won’t pass near Earth again until 2095

A total solar eclipse as seen from Kentucky in 2017

How Ancient Civilizations Reacted to Eclipses

Communities may have thought the celestial events were messages from the gods, a reason to abandon a settlement or a cue to end a war

The Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as M51), located 31 million light-years from Earth, is a particularly radiant object seen during the Messier marathon. This image was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope—skywatchers looking through a backyard telescope or binoculars would see the galaxy in far less detail.

What It Takes to Complete the Ultimate Skywatching Endurance Challenge

The "Messier marathon" prompts space hobbyists to spot 110 celestial objects in one night, and the best time to try it is in March

A drawing of the aurora observed from Nagoya, Japan, on September 17, 1770. The written description also notes its intensity: “as bright as a night with a full moon.”

How Ancient Texts Can Shed Light on Auroras

Documenting episodes of the phenomenon thousands of years ago may help us predict damaging solar storms in the future

Math historian Glen Van Brummelen came across decimal points in Giovanni Bianchini's manuscript, Tabulae primi mobilis B.

The Decimal Point Is 150 Years Older Than Previously Thought, Medieval Manuscript Reveals

A Venetian merchant used the mathematical symbol while calculating the positions of planets between 1441 and 1450

NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft captured this view of Venus. The world has blistering surface temperatures, crushing atmospheric pressure and clouds of corrosive acid.

The Six Most Amazing Discoveries We’ve Made by Exploring Venus

Our sister planet’s cloudy exterior gave it an aura of mystery—until humanity developed the technology to probe past the veil

The last total solar eclipse visible from the United States took place on August 21, 2017.

How to Watch the Spectacular Total Solar Eclipse in April 2024

The moon will appear to completely block the sun's light across parts of Mexico, the United States and Canada on April 8—here's how to make the most of this rare celestial phenomenon

An artist’s rendering of a pantheon of planets similar to Earth

This Planned NASA Telescope May Help Us Identify Worlds Like Our Own

The innovative Habitable Worlds Observatory will offer ways to detect signs of life on other planets

Solar eclipse viewers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on October 14, 2023

Nine Dazzling Celestial Events to Watch in 2024

Skywatchers can expect spectacular meteor showers, a comet soaring past Earth and a long-anticipated total solar eclipse

Data from the Hubble Space Telescope produced this new image of the galaxy UGC 8091.

See the 'Sparkling Snow Globe' Galaxy Captured by the Hubble Space Telescope

The new, holiday-inspired image features UGC 8091, an "irregular" dwarf galaxy in the constellation Virgo

The consellation Orion and other stars in the sky in Alberta, Canada, in 2019.

An Asteroid Will Eclipse a Red Star in the Constellation Orion Monday Night

In the U.S., the rare event will only be visible from southern Florida, but it will be livestreamed from Italy for viewers everywhere

The Geminids appear to originate from the Gemini constellation, but you can see them throughout the night sky.

How to Watch the Geminid Meteor Shower This Week

The celestial spectacle will peak on December 13 and 14, lighting up the night sky with as many as 120 shooting stars per hour

Half a century on, Kohoutek may be due a little more respect. Though it disappointed the media and the public, it proved to be a bonanza for serious scientists.

The 'Comet of the Century' Failed to Impress, but It Wasn't Such a Disaster After All

Highly anticipated before its arrival in late 1973, Kohoutek became an interplanetary punchline. But astronomers may have gotten the last laugh

The Orionid meteor shower over the Songhua River in Daqing City, China, in October 2020. 

Here’s How to Watch The Orionid Meteor Shower This Weekend

The celestial show will peak on the night of October 21 to 22, with around 23 meteors expected per hour

In 1980, the Viking Orbiter took 102 individual images of Mars that scientists eventually assembled into this stunning composite photo. The dark gash across the planet’s face is the Valles Marineris, a canyon that’s up to 6 miles deep and over 2,500 miles long.

The Seven Most Amazing Discoveries We’ve Made by Exploring Mars

Scientists have learned a lot since they started sending crafts and rovers to our red neighbor

Shooting stars travel across the sky during the Draconid meteor shower.

How to Watch the Draconid Meteor Shower This Weekend

Though it’s usually a smaller display, the Draconids have historically produced breathtaking outbursts of shooting stars known as "meteor storms"

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