Astronomy

Hundreds of critical events must execute perfectly and exactly on time for the Perseverance rover to land safely on Mars.

Exploring Mars

What to Know Before You Watch Perseverance's February 18 Landing on Mars

Experts describe how they plan to land the rover, what could go wrong and what they hope to learn

An artist's rendering of the five-planet system that orbits star HD 108236, or TOI-1233. In the foreground is a hot, rocky planet that resembles Earth.

Balancing Homework and A.P. Classes, These High Schoolers Discovered Four Exoplanets

Thanks to a Harvard-Smithsonian mentoring program, high school students Kartik Pinglé and Jasmine Wright helped discover new worlds

This telescope located in Cerro Tololo, Chile is just one of many within the MicroObservatory Robotic Telescope Network.

Smithsonian Voices

With This New Digital Telescope Tool, Anyone Can Access the Heavens

This freely available technology tool provides a unique learning experience for budding astronomers and artists alike

Astronomers have discovered the oldest and most distant quasar in the universe. The quasar, named J0313-1806, formed just 670 million years after the Big Bang some 13 billion light years away.

New Research

This 13-Billion-Year-Old Supermassive Black Hole Is the Oldest Ever Found

Huge black hole is so old it offers a glimpse into the early universe, and so big it challenges ideas of how black holes form

In theory, the wood would burn up upon re-entering Earth's atmosphere. But wooden space junk is still space junk.

Japan Hopes to Send a Wooden Satellite to Space in 2023

The group hopes the cube-shaped wood orbiter will help reduce space waste

A Perseid meteor burns up against the night sky over Big Bend National Park.

Ten Celestial Events to Look Forward to in 2021

Eclipses, meteor showers and dazzling views of planets will excite amateur and professional astronomers alike in North America

An RN administers the Covid-19 vaccine to a nurse at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia.

The Ten Most Significant Science Stories of 2020

From the rapid development of vaccines for Covid-19 to the stunning collection of an asteroid sample, these were the biggest science moments of the year

The photograph shows an area about 10,000 miles wide, a small portion of the Sun which is 864,000 miles wide

Brilliant Sunspot Photo Captures the Beginning of a New Solar Cycle

The Inouye Solar Telescope captured the unprecedentedly detailed image of a 3,700-mile-wide sunspot on January 28

This is the all-sky map created by the eROSITA X-ray telescope, represented in false color  (red for energies 0.3-0.6 keV, green for 0.6-1.0 keV, blue for 1.0-2.3 keV). The original image was smoothed in order to generate the above picture.

New Research

An X-Ray Hourglass Is Emerging From the Middle of the Milky Way

Astronomers spotted the two gargantuan bubbles of charged particles ballooning out from the middle of our home galaxy

Our favorite books this year are ones with messages that help kids understand the world around them.

The Ten Best Children's Books of 2020

These top titles deliver history lessons, wordplay and a musical romp through the animal kingdom

The telescope collapsed ahead of its scheduled demolition.

Massive Arecibo Telescope Collapses in Puerto Rico

The radio telescope was once the largest in the world, and played a key role in many major astronomical discoveries over the last 50 years

This year's top ten titles explore the cosmos, fear and cleanliness alongside narratives about owls, fish and eels.

The Ten Best Science Books of 2020

New titles explore the mysterious lives of eels, the science of fear and our connections to the stars

The Blue Ring Nebula is invisible to the human eye, but telescopes can measure the ultraviolet light, which is shown here in blue.

New Research

Astronomers Crack the Case of the Blue Ring Nebula

The source of the dazzling display puzzled scientists for more than a decade

Teams of engineers looked for remedies to help save the telescope, but repairs would be too risky for a construction team to safely undertake.

After Suffering Irreparable Damage, It's Lights Out for the Arecibo Observatory's Iconic Telescope

The 1,000-foot telescope has been a pillar for astronomical research, leading to some of the cosmos' most exciting discoveries

The spinning magnetar transferred a remarkable amount of energy to the debris created by the collision, heating the material up and generating a bright glow.

In a First, Astronomers Witnessed the Birth of a Supermassive Magnetar Following a Glorious Kilonova

The scientists originally thought that the cosmic crash would create a black hole

This illustration depicts a star (in the foreground) experiencing spaghettification as it's sucked in by a supermassive black hole (in the background) during a 'tidal disruption event'.

New Research

Astronomers Capture Best View Yet of a Black Hole Spaghettifying a Star

The star was compressed and stretched out like a long noodle and when the ends collided, half of its mass ejected into space

The contributions of the three Nobel laureates proved that black holes exist and unveiled the nature of these supermassive objects.

Trending Today

Three Scientists Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for Breakthrough Black Hole Discoveries

These Nobel laureates helped discover and describe the mysterious cosmic voids in our universe

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is name after NASA's first chief of astronomy.

How NASA’s New Telescope Will Help Astronomers Discover Free-Floating Worlds

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will be able to detect small, distant planets without stars

On Earth, most people are familiar with ultraviolet radiation’s harmful effects on our skin, but in space, astronauts are also subjected to galactic cosmic rays, accelerated solar particles, neutrons and gamma rays.

New Research

Moonwalking Humans Get Blasted With 200 Times the Radiation Experienced on Earth

The new findings will inform how much shielding future astronauts will need to safely explore the moon

European authorities recovered 200 rare books, including valuable first editions of works by Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton, last week.

Stolen First Editions by Galileo, Newton Discovered Beneath Floor in Romania

Authorities have recovered 200 rare books pilfered in a 2017 London heist