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.

View of Saturn through a large backyard telescope

See Splendid Saturn at Its Best

Your first view of Saturn with a telescope can introduce you to the riches of stargazing — and now is the perfect time to observe it. Saturn is entering the early evening sky this spring just as Jupiter begins its exit in the west. Here's a quick guide to spotting the ringed planet by...

Path of April 29th's annular solar eclipse

April 29th’s “No Show” Annular Solar Eclipse

The first and only annular solar eclipse of 2014 has a path that just clips Antarctica, at a location so remote that no one on Earth will get to see the event. Update: Partial phases of April 29th's solar eclipse were widely seen across the southern part of Australia. See the bottom of this...

Why is Jupiter's Great Red Spot shrinking?

Jupiter’s Not-So-Great Red Spot

Astronomers don't know why Jupiter's iconic Great Red Spot has been gradually shrinking since the 1800s — or why the downsizing has accelerated during the past two years. Update: On May 15th, NASA released newly taken images of the Great Red Spot (at bottom below) to show its declining size since 1995. Thanks to...

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Mysteriously Bright Supernova Explained

In 2010, a mysteriously bright supernova appeared, later sparking a debate within the astronomy community. But new images of the now-faded supernova reveal an intervening — and until now invisible — cosmic lens, which magnified its light.

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.

kepler186f_artists_1000

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.