astronomy

Why The Length Of Saturn's Day Is So Hard To Measure 

The length of a planet’s day seems like such a simple number, a basic piece of information that should accompany any solar system diagram. But probes flying past Saturn have turned up oddly conflicting numbers.


An Amazing View Of ISS Crossing The Sun During An Eclipse 

Photographer Thierry Legault shot what may be the coolest view yet of the today’s solar eclipse: the International Space Station’s weird little silhouette flying across a thin sliver of visible sun.



This Supernova Looks Like Four Exploding Stars

It’s not every day we get to see a supernova, but a single exploding star split into four images is an absolute first.


Listening To This Guy Talking About The Universe Gave Me Goosebumps

Remember that time when you first realised that the universe was an incredibly gigantic place, when you felt humbled and fortunate at the mere thought of existing in this vast cosmic arena? Listen to Professor Tom Burns, of Ohio Wesleyan University and Director of Perkins Observatory. He still feels that way.


Astronomers Discover Mysterious Black Hole As Massive As 12 Billion Suns

In a galaxy far, far away — 12.8 billion light-years away to be more exact — is a newly-discovered supermassive black hole that weighs as much as 12 billion of our suns. The most surprising thing about the black hole, though, is not its size but its age.


Six Busy Days (And Nights) With Some Of The World's Largest Telescopes 

Night falls in the Atacama Desert, but the day is far from over. In this wonderful little timelapse, sent along to us by the photographer Enrico Sacchetti, we get a sense for the constant work being done at the European Southern Observatory.


We're Looking For Alien Life On Bizarre 'Eyeball Planets'

It’s easy for us Earthlings to imagine life evolving on planets like ours. But there are exoplanets out there that strain the imagination. Take “eyeball planets”, which are half frozen, half broiling with the heat of their suns. Earthlike planet Zarmina, in the Gliese system, is one of these. We shouldn’t rule these bizarre planets out from our search for life.


The Origin Of Joy Division's Most Famous Album Cover, Finally Revealed

The cover of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures is famously graced with the radio pulses of a dying star. Its origins, however, have always been unclear. But now, Scientific American‘s Jen Christiansen has followed the rabbit hole to the very end — to an obscure 1970 PhD astronomy thesis and the guy who wrote it.


This Is What A Gravitational Lens Looks Like

NASA’s just taken the best accidental smiley photo ever. It’s galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849, and it’s got one hell of a creepy grin.