How Japanese astronomers discovered the most distant object in the Kuiper Belt with a $3,000 telescope

This is a real victory for little projects.

Mercury is the planet closest to Earth — contrary to popular belief

There’s also a whirly-dirly corollary associated with this new method.

Steam Power Might Help in Space Exploration

NASA is funding a steam-powered spacecraft.

Saturn’s moon Titan has rainfall and seasons

It’s raining hydrocarbon on Titan.

Ancient cave paintings may be sign of prehistoric astronomy

These ancient people were much more savvy than we suspected.

How many galaxies are there?

Talk about a big count!

Astronomers discover a clump of black holes around our galaxy’s center

For the first time, astronomers have managed to confirm the existence of a black hole population surrounding the core of our galaxy.

Scientists use astronomy software to protect endangered creatures from poachers

Drones are hot on the poachers’ hot traces.

Neptune’s Great Dark Spot is also shrinking

Another one bites the dust.

Mayans may have been better at math and astronomy than we thought

Anthropologists have shown that Mayan tablets of math and astronomy have been greatly underestimated.

Observing Alien Armageddon could be our first sign of advanced civilizations in space.

It may be possible to observe the presence of an advanced alien civilization by the effects produced if that civilization were to self-destruct through nuclear war, biological warfare, nanotechnological annihilation, or stellar pollution. Each case would generate unique detectable signs that could be identified by earth-based telescopes.

Something is blocking light from a distant star, and one of the possibilities is an alien structure

It’s likely not aliens, but it could be – and it’s really, really strange.

NASA wants to take a piece of an asteroid and make it a moon of the Moon

It almost sounds too cheesy to be true: NASA wants to send a shuttle to an asteroid, pluck a piece of it, then make it return to the Moon and orbit it. Then, brave astronauts will go and retrieve the sample, bringing it back to Earth for study. But that’s exactly what astronomers and engineers at the space agency want to do.

Mind-Blowing $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope begins construction in Hawaii

After years of planning and engineering schemes, the construction of the $1.4 billion telescope in Hawaii has finally begun. The unimaginatively named Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will provide astronomers with unparalleled power to observe the stars – it will have a resolution 10 times better than Hubble. The telescope is designed for observations from near-ultraviolet to mid-infrared (0.31 to 28 μm

Scientist Interviews: Marie-Eve Naud [Astrobiology]

A while ago, we were telling you about the discovery of a huge exoplanet – a gas giant, found just 155 light years away from Earth. The head researcher behind that study was Marie-Eve Naud. Her main research field is the detection and characterization of exoplanets, with a focus on astrobiology. She was kind enough to talk to us and shed some

Planet that shouldn’t exist baffles scientists

It’s a big, bad, lava world – and according to what we know about astronomy, it simply shouldn’t exist. Kepler-78b circles its star every 8 and 1/2 hours, featuring one of the tightest known orbtits. According to currently accepted theories on planetary formation, it couldn’t have formed so close to its star, nor could it have migrated there. “This planet

NASA discovers surprise energy belt surrounding Earth

A ring of radiation that scientists knew nothing about fleetingly surrounded our planet last year, before being blown away by a powerful interplanetary shock, researchers say. Astronomic intuition Usually, whenever NASA launches a spacecraft, they wait weeks or even months to finely tune all its instruments. It’s a rite of passage that all shuttles (and rovers) have to pass through;

This week in space pictures

It’s been quite a week for space exploration and some truly remarkable pictures were taken, here’s the best ones. The solar flare in 3D Earth was struck by a major solar flare, the biggest one in years, and this fantastic 3D image shows sunspots and “wonderful active regions in exquisite detail,” according to NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Despite the fact