Astronomy and Society

Astronomy might be about the heavens, but it has effects right here on Earth, too. Some of these impacts are on the world scale — such as the meteoroid that detonated over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013. Others are less blockbuster, such as the growing race to mine asteroids or the successful launch of homemade satellites. And then there are the hoaxes that fill our inboxes from well-meaning friends and the hype over putative “supermoons“.

Here you’ll find the latest news and blogs on the things in astronomy that touch our lives. Whether it be NASA space policy or the facts behind Daylight Saving Time, we’ll keep you up to speed on how you can be involved in astronomy and how astronomy endeavors are affecting you and our society.

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 —...

Cosmos Studios logo

Dawn of a New Cosmos

A big-budget television series about astronomy — a much-anticipated sequel to the iconic 1980 original — debuts this weekend in 174 countries and 47 languages.

Path of Ceres in 1800

Why Do We Call Them “Asteroids”?

When astronomers discovered the first objects orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, at first they didn't know what to call them. Today we know them as asteroids, and the creator of that term has finally been identified.

NASA's asteroid-retrieval concept

NASA to Snag a Near-Earth Asteroid

Not content to let private companies have all the fun in asteroid exploration and exploitation, NASA managers have proposed a high-flying mission that would capture a small asteroid and dispatch astronauts to study it — all within the next decade.

Meteor trail over Chelyabinsk

Info on Russian Meteor Pours In

The fireball that exploded over Russia on February 15th left more than a million square feet of damaged windows, bringing home how fragile life on Earth can be. Here's what S&T's staff has managed to piece together about what happened.