News

From mysteriously quiet solar cycles to the evidence for Big Bang inflation, important stuff happens in astronomy. When it does, you can depend on Sky & Telescope’s editors and bloggers to keep you up to speed. We pride ourselves on our accurate, in-depth reporting of current astronomy news — instead of sound bites, we want to give you what you need to really understand the latest space events, whether they be observations from orbiters around Mars or the discovery of what’s to blame for powerful cosmic explosions. We talk to the experts, and then we talk to you.

So if you’re looking for responsible science journalism, look no further: here you’ll find the facts behind the headlines.

This artist's concept illustrates two planetary systems - 55 Cancri (top) and our own. Blue lines show the orbits of planets, including the dwarf planet Pluto in our solar system. The 55 Cancri system is currently the closest known analogue to our solar system, yet there are some fundamental differences.
NASA / JPL-Caltech

Planets’ Wacky Orbits Solved

By combining nearly 1,500 observations with sophisticated computer models, astronomers have shed light on a nearby planetary system, proving that the planets' bizarre orbits will actually remain stable for the next 100 million years.

Milky Way from Arches National Park

It’s International Dark-Sky Week!

In 2002, high-school student Jennifer Barlow had a simple idea: let's take some time to appreciate the beauty of the cosmos and consider ways to reduce the spread of light pollution. Here's how you can join the celebration! Have you ever stepped outside to take in a view of the starry sky overhead —...

The Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of the Stingray Nebula, the youngest known planetary nebula. In this image, the bright central star is in the middle of the green ring of gas. Its companion star is diagonally above it at 10 o'clock. The red curved lines represent bright gas that is heated by a "shock" caused when the central star's wind hits the walls of the bubbles. The nebula is as large as 130 solar systems, but, at its distance of 18,000 light-years, it appears only as big as a dime viewed a mile away. The colors shown are actual colors emitted by nitrogen (red), oxygen (green) and hydrogen (blue).
NASA

Watch a Star Evolve in “Real Time”

The odd behavior of a star in the heart of the Stingray Nebula provides tantalizing evidence that we may be seeing, first-hand, its helium-shell flash: an explosive phase of nuclear burning at the end of a star’s life.

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Most “Earth-Like” Planet Found Yet

The newly discovered planet, Kepler-186f, is the first Earth-size exoplanet circling in its star’s habitable zone. The media worldwide is gleaming with fantastical headlines, but readers in the know may have an inkling the result is less than it seems.

Tony Flanders's biggest and smallest telescopes.

What to Know Before Buying a Telescope

Looking through a telescope introduces you to a whole new world of unexpected wonders. But telescopes come in a huge range of sizes and shapes. Here's a detailed, printable guide to the essential features that every good scope needs to have.

A supernova remnant about 24,000 light years from Earth.

Supernova Remnant in Technicolor

Take a look at this supernova remnant from radio waves to x-rays to see multiple features of its bubble-like expanding shock wave. Supernovae — the dramatic explosions of massive stars ending their lives — can outshine their host galaxies for weeks, allowing them to be seen across millions of light-years of empty space. On...

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An Asteroid to Rule Them All

Scientists have new insight into the damage caused by a Rhode Island–size asteroid that hit Earth more than 3 billion years ago, making the rock that wiped out the dinosaurs look like a lightweight.

LADEE over the Moon

LADEE Skims the Moon Before Crash

NASA has a fully functioning spacecraft orbiting the Moon, all science goals completed, and a lunar eclipse coming up. It's a perfect opportunity to make some risky but potentially rewarding swoops within 2 miles of the lunar surface.

AGN_Artists_Conception

A New Galactic Yardstick

Astronomers have developed a new method to measure distances to bright but faraway galaxies, a tool which will help better constrain the expansion rate of the universe.

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Dust in the Heart of Circinus

Infrared observations of the Circinus Galaxy may help reveal the shape of the dusty region fueling its active galactic nucleus and shed light on what governs dust structures in other galaxies.