Latest ScienceCast: Measuring the Rising Seas
The Jason-3 satellite, launched on January 17, 2016, is allowing scientists to continue a 23-year record of crucial ocean monitoring.
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|Historic Vegetable Moment on the Space Station|
Date: January 20, 2016
Astronauts recently experienced an historic vegetable moment when they ate a salad made from lettuce grown on board the International Space Station.
Date: December 31, 2015
Researchers have used NASA space telescopes to prove that space-time is much less "foamy" than some models predict. Understanding their result requires a trip into the world of quantum physics.
Date: December 28, 2015
NASA supported researchers are working on Synthetic Muscles that could be used to create humanoid robots for space exploration.
|Return of the Blue Marble|
Date: December 18, 2015
The Deep Space Climate Observatory, a NOAA mission that carries NASA instruments, is providing a "new and complementary" view of Earth that is amazing scientists and lay people alike.
Find DSCOVR's daily images at http://epic.gsfc.nasa.gov/
|Escape of the Destructive Electrons|
Date: December 14, 2015
Earth is surrounded by electrons that can be disruptive to our technology. NASA is using high-altitude balloons and spacecraft to monitor and understand these particles in the radiation belts surrounding our planet.
|Taking the Wild out of Wildfire|
Date: December 1, 2015
A new NASA-funded tool is taking some of the ‘wild’ out of wildfires by making it possible for U.S. fire managers to better spot dangerous blazes.
|In Search of Earth... 2.0|
Date: November 23, 2015
Astronomers have long hoped to find another planet in the cosmos similar to Earth--a blue dot in the distance that could harbor life akin to our own. NASA's Kepler spacecraft may have found the next best thing.
Date: November 17, 2015
Many astronauts report a blurring of their eyesight in microgravity. Researchers are trying to get to the bottom of this phenomenon before astronauts travel to Mars and beyond.
|The "Omics" of Space Travel|
Date: November 13, 2015
During an unprecedented 1-year mission to the International Space Station, scientists are studying how astronauts' bodies respond to long-duration space travel.
|Using a Tablet Computer in Space|
Date: October 30, 2015
The Fine Motor Skills experiment on the station is looking at how long-duration microgravity effects fine motor task performance.
|Close Encounter with Enceladus|
Date: October 27, 2015
NASA's Cassini Spacecraft is about to make a daring plunge through one of the plumes emerging from Saturn's moon Enceladus.
|Dawn Triangle of Planets|
Date: October 23, 2015
Look east before sunrise in late October for a beautiful conjunction of bright planets.
|Spacecraft Discovers Thousands of Doomed Comets|
Date: October 20, 2015
The ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory has discovered more than 3000 doomed comets that have passed close to the sun.
|Worlds within Worlds|
Date: September 30, 2015
Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an immense cloud of hydrogen evaporating from a Neptune-sized planet named GJ 436b. The planet’s atmosphere is evaporating because of extreme irradiation from its parent star.
|Total Eclipse of the Harvest Moon|
Date: September 22, 2015
On Sunday, Sep. 27th, the super Harvest Moon passed through the shadow of Earth, producing a lovely amber total lunar eclipse.
|NASA Spacecraft takes Space GPS to New Heights|
Date: September 11, 2015
NASA's MMS spacecraft are flying around Earth in a precise formation made possible by an out-of-this-world system of GPS navigators.
|The Hidden Meltdown of Greenland|
Date: August 28, 2015
NASA-supported researchers have found that ice covering Greenland is melting faster than previously thought. The action is happening out of sight, below the surface.
|A Good Year for Perseid Meteors|
Date: August 10, 2015
The second full Moon of July is just around the corner. According to modern folklore, it is a "Blue Moon."
|Summer Blue Moon|
Date: July 24, 2015
The second full Moon of July is just around the corner. According to modern folklore, it is a "Blue Moon."
Date: July 21, 2015
Predicting floods is notoriously tricky. Sponsored by NASA, a new computer tool known as the "Global Flood Monitoring System" is improving forecasts.
Date: July 10, 2015
Advances in the understanding of how fluids behave in low gravity is key to spacecraft operations. A long-awaited spin-off is an excellent cup of coffee in space.
|The Good, the Bad, and the Algae|
Date: June 25, 2015
With support from NASA, the EPA has developed an app to track algae that can threaten fresh water supplies.
|Amazing Sunset Sky Show|
Date: June 8, 2015
Venus and Jupiter are converging for a must-see close encounter at the end of June. It could be the best backyard sky show of 2015.
|Handprints on Hubble|
Date: May 26, 2015
As the Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 25th anniversary, scientists are reflecting on the key role astronauts played in allowing the telescope to continue making great discoveries.
|Roundworms Have the Right Stuff|
Date: May 22, 2015
The common roundworm shares a surprising amount of genetic material with humans - enough, in fact, to make them the good substitutes for astronauts in low-gravity medical studies.
|The First Martian Marathon|
Date: May 14, 2015
On Earth, a fast runner takes a few hours to complete a marathon. On Mars, it's taken 11 years. NASA's Opportunity rover crossed that finish line in 2015.
|Desert Dust Feeds Amazon Forests|
Date: April 28, 2015
The Amazon rainforest and the Sahara desert seem utterly different. Yet NASA satellites have discovered a surprising connection that intimately links these two disparate parts of our planet.
|Earth Day Meteor Shower|
Date: April 21, 2015
At the end of a day devoted to Earth, people can look to the heavens for a beautiful shower of Lyrid meteors.
|Citizen Scientists Discover Yellow Balls in Space|
Date: April 7, 2015
Citizen scientists scanning images from a NASA observatory have found "yellow balls" in space that may hold important clues to the mysteries of starbirth.
|Total Eclipse of the Moon|
Date: March 30, 2015
On Saturday morning, April 4th, sky watchers in the USA can see a brief but beautiful total eclipse of the Moon.
|The Mystery of Nanoflares|
Date: March 18, 2015
Tiny solar flares on the sun may be having an outsized effect on the temperature of the sun's atmosphere. To investigate, scientists will observe these "nanoflares" using a space telescope built for black holes.
|Studying Earth’s Magnetic Personality|
Date: March 10, 2015
NASA is about to launch a fleet of spacecraft to investigate the mystery of "magnetic reconnection," which is making things explode across the cosmos.
|Subtracting Gravity from Alzheimer's|
Date: March 4, 2015
The key to unraveling the mysterious cause of Alzheimer's disease may not lie in the recesses of the human brain, but rather in the weightless expanses of outer space.
Date: February 5, 2015
NASA has launched SMAP, a new satellite to study water, not in oceans or lakes but in the soil beneath our feet. This often overlooked repository of water can have big effects on weather, climate, drought and agriculture.
|The Strange Way Fluids Slosh on the International Space Station|
Date: January 27, 2015
Researchers are using a pair of robots to examine the strange way fluids slosh and bubble on the International Space Station
|Embers from a Rock Comet: The 2014 Geminid Meteor Shower|
Date: December 12, 2014
Earth is passing through a stream of debris from "rock comet" 3200 Phaethon, source of the annual Geminid meteor shower. Forecasters expect as many as 120 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Dec. 13-14.
|Climate Change and the Yin-Yang of Polar Sea Ice|
Date: December 2, 2014
Arctic and Antarctic sea ice are both affected by climate change, but the two poles of Earth are behaving in intriguingly different ways.
|Young Volcanoes on the Moon|
Date: November 24, 2014
The Moon might not be as dead as it looks. Researchers using NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have found signs of geologically-recent volcanic eruptions on Earth's natural satellite.
|How to Land on a Comet|
Date: November 3, 2014
The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is about to attempt something "ridiculously difficult" - landing a probe on the surface of a speeding comet.
|Sunset Solar Eclipse|
Date: October 17, 2014
On October 23rd, the Moon will pass in front of the sun, off-center, producing a partial solar eclipse visible in most of the United States.
|The Cloudy Future of Arctic Sea Ice|
Date: October 14, 2014
As climate change continues to hammer Arctic sea ice, pushing back its summertime boundaries to record-high latitudes, NASA is flying an innovative airborne mission to find out how these developments will affect worldwide weather.
|First Light for MAVEN|
Date: October 8, 2014
NASA's MAVEN spacecraft has reached Mars and it is beaming back "First Light" images of the Red Planet's upper atmosphere. The data could help researchers understand what transformed Mars from a hospitable planet billions of years ago into a desiccated wasteland today.
|A Giant Among Earth Satellites|
Date: September 24, 2014
The weekend launch of ISS-RapidScat onboard SpaceX-4 has kickstarted a new era for the International Space Station as a giant Earth-observing satellite.
|A Colorful Lunar Eclipse|
Date: September 17, 2014
Mark your calendar: On Oct. 8th, the Moon will pass through the shadow of Earth for a total lunar eclipse. Sky watchers in the USA will see the Moon turn a beautiful shade of celestial red and maybe turquoise, too.
|Jellyfish Flame on the International Space Station|
Date: September 9, 2014
Astronauts onboard the International Space Station report seeing flames that behave like jellyfish. Video of the microgravity phenomenon is a must-see.
|Mystery in the Ozone Layer|
Date: September 4, 2014
Almost 30 years after the Montreal Protocol put the brakes on ozone-depleting chemicals, one compound remains stubbornly and mysteriously abundant in the atmosphere. NASA scientists are tracking down the source and studying its effect on the ozone layer.
|Evidence for Supernovas Near Earth|
Date: August 25, 2014
A NASA sounding rocket has confirmed that the solar system is inside an ancient supernova remnant. Life on Earth survived despite the nearby blasts.
|Sizing up an Exoplanet|
Date: August 18, 2014
Astronomers are not only discovering planets around distant suns, they are also starting to measure those worlds with astonishing precision. The diameter of a super-Earth named Kepler 93B is now known to within an accuracy of 148 miles.
Date: August 15, 2014
Wake up early in mid-August to see Venus and Jupiter shining side-by-side.
|Mars vs Comet Siding Spring|
Date: August 6, 2014
Comet Siding Spring is about to fly historically close to Mars. The encounter could spark Martian auroras, a meteor shower, and other unpredictable effects. Whatever happens, NASA's fleet of Mars satellites will have a ringside seat.
|Perseid Meteors vs the Supermoon|
Date: July 28, 2014
Which is brighter--a flurry of Perseid fireballs or a supermoon? Sky watchers will find out this August when the biggest and brightest full Moon of 2014 arrives just in time for the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower.
|Big Mystery in the Perseus Cluster|
Date: July 21, 2014
A mysterious X-ray signal from the Perseus cluster of galaxies, which researchers say cannot be explained by known physics, could be a key clue to the nature of Dark Matter.
|One Year to Pluto|
Date: July 14, 2014
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is only a year away from Pluto. Researchers are buzzing with anticipation as NASA prepares to encounter a new world for the first time in decades.
|A Summer of Super Moons|
Date: July 8, 2014
The summer of 2014 will be bathed in moonlight as three perigee "supermoons" occur in consecutive months: July, August, September.
|Fruit Flies on the International Space Station|
Date: July 1, 2014
A new species is about to join astronauts on the International Space Station: Drosophila melanogaster, also known as the "fruit fly." Genetically speaking, the bug-eyed insects have a lot in common with human beings, and they are poised to teach researchers a great deal about voyaging into deep space.
|NASA to Launch Carbon Observatory|
Date: June 23, 2014
NASA is about to launch a satellite dedicated to the study of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) will quantify global CO2 sources and sinks, and help researchers predict the future of climate change.
|A Laser Message from Space: "Hello World"|
Date: June 17, 2014
In early June, a laser beam lanced out of the night sky over California, heralding a breakthrough in space communications. The message it carried was "Hello, World."
Date: June 9, 2014
NASA and NOAA agree: Solar Max has arrived, but this "mini Max" is not like any other solar maximum of the Space Age.
|Rosetta Comet Comes Alive|
Date: June 2, 2014
Later this year, Europe's Rosetta probe will orbit and land on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. New images of the comet show that it will be a lively place when Rosetta arrives.
|The Milky Way is Not Just a Refrigerator Magnet|
Date: May 27, 2014
A new map of the galaxy by ESA's Planck spacecraft has revealed gigantic loops of magnetism and other structures that point to a magnetic dynamo at work in the Milky Way.
|El Niño - Is 2014 the New 1997?|
Date: May 19, 2014
The Jason-2 satellite sees something brewing in the Pacific. Researchers say it could be a significant El Niño with implications for global weather and climate.
|No Turning Back - West Antarctic Glaciers in Irreversible Decline|
Date: May 12, 2014
A new study led by NASA researchers shows that half-a-dozen key glaciers in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are in irreversible decline. The melting of these sprawling icy giants will affect global sea levels in the centuries ahead.
|NASA on the Lookout for a New Meteor Shower|
Date: May 5, 2014
Sky watchers in North America could witness a new meteor shower on May 24th when, for the first time, Earth passes through a cloud of dust from periodic comet 209P/LINEAR.
|Carrington-class CME Narrowly Misses Earth|
Date: Apr 28, 2014
Two years ago, an intense solar storm narrowly missed Earth. If it had hit, researchers say, we could still be picking up the pieces.
|Lettuce Orbit Earth - A New Form of Life Takes Root on the ISS|
Date: Apr 25, 2014
A new life form is taking root on the ISS, and its name is "Outregeous." The space-faring lettuce was delivered to the space station by a SpaceX Dragon capsule on April 20th.
|Unexpected Teleconnections in Noctilucent Clouds|
Date: Apr 11, 2014
NASA's AIM spacecraft is discovering unexpected "teleconnections" in Earth's atmosphere that link weather and climate across vast distances.
|Separated at Launch|
Date: Apr 07, 2014
Next year, with the assistance of the world's only twin astronauts, NASA will conduct an unprecedented experiment in human biology. While one twin remains on the ground, the other will circle Earth onboard the International Space Station for a full year. Will the twins still be identical when they are re-united? The answer could help NASA make space travel safer for generations of astronauts to come.
|The Opposition of Mars|
Date: Mar 27, 2014
Earth and Mars are converging for a close encounter in April, an event astronomers call "the opposition of Mars."
|A Tetrad of Lunar Eclipses|
Date: Mar 20, 2014
A total lunar eclipse on April 15th marks the beginning of a remarkable series of eclipses all visible from North America.
|A Telescope Bigger than a Galaxy|
Date: Mar 06, 2014
Astronomers have figured out how to use the gravity of distant galaxies to bend light and magnify images, allowing them to see deeper into the cosmos than ever before.
|A Sudden Multiplication of Planets|
Date: Feb 26, 2014
NASA announced a breakthrough addition to the catalog of new planets. Researchers using Kepler have confirmed 715 new worlds, almost quadrupling the number of planets previously confirmed by the planet-hunting spacecraft. Some of the new worlds are similar in size to Earth and orbit in the habitable zone of their parent stars.
|Follow the Water|
Date: Feb 21, 2014
NASA and JAXA are about to launch a new satellite that can see through storms, tracking rain and snow around the globe better than any previous observatory. The Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory is scheduled to lift off from Japan on Feb. 27th.
|10 More Years|
Date: Feb 13, 2014
With the space station no longer "under construction," the world's most advanced orbital laboratory is open for business. The station has just received a 10-year extension from NASA, giving researchers the time they need to take full advantage of its unique capabilities.
Date: Feb 6, 2014
California is experiencing a historic drought--by some measures the deepest in more than 100 years. NASA researchers are investigating a number of explanations for what the underlying cause may be.
|The Coolest Spot in the Universe|
Date: Jan 30, 2014
NASA researchers plan to create the coldest spot in the known Universe--inside the International Space Station. The device, known as the Cold Atom Lab, could discover new forms of matter and novel quantum phenomena.
|New Year's Asteroid Strike|
Date: Jan 17, 2014
The New Year started off with a bang when a small asteroid hit Earth. Infrasound records indicate that the space rock exploded in the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean like 500 tons of TNT.
|Countdown to Pluto|
Date: Jan 13, 2014
Eight years after it left Earth, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is approaching Pluto. The encounter begins less than a year from now.
|Starting Fire in Water|
Date: Jan 3, 2014
Astronauts on the ISS are experimenting with a form of water that has a strange property: it can help start fire. This fundamental physics investigation could have down-to-Earth benefits such as clean-burning municipal waste disposal and improved saltwater purification.
|Electric-Blue Clouds Appear Over Antarctica|
Date: Dec 19, 2013
A vast bank of electric-blue clouds has appeared over Antarctica, signaling the start of the season for southern hemisphere noctilucent clouds.
|Geminid Meteors at Dawn|
Date: Dec 12, 2013
The Geminid meteor shower is underway. Forecasters say the best time to look is during the dark hours before sunrise on Saturday morning, Dec. 14th. Dark-sky observers could see dozens of bright shooting stars.
|Rock Comet Sprouts a Tail|
Date: Nov 27, 2013
"Rock Comet" 3200 Phaethon has sprouted a tail, proving that the mysterious object is the source of the annual Geminid meteor shower.
|Genius Materials on the ISS|
Date: Nov 25, 2013
Researchers working with magnetic fluids on the International Space Station are taking "smart materials" to the next level. With proper coaxing, molecules can assemble themselves into "genius materials" with surprising properties. This is opening a new frontier in material science.
|Two Comets to Fly By Mercury on Nov 18 & 19|
Date: Nov 14, 2013
Consider it a cosmic coincidence: On Nov. 18-19, two comets (ISON and Encke) are going to fly by the planet Mercury in quick succession. NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft will have a front-row seat for the rare double flyby.
|What Happened to Mars? A Planetary Mystery|
Date: Nov 08, 2013
Mars was once on track to become a thriving Earth-like planet, yet today it is an apparently lifeless wasteland. A NASA spacecraft named MAVEN will soon journey to Mars to find out what went wrong on the Red Planet.
|The Sounds of Interstellar Space|
Date: Oct 31, 2013
As Voyager 1 recedes from the solar system, researchers are listening for "interstellar music" (a.k.a. plasma waves) to learn more about conditions outside the heliosphere.
|The Effects of Space Weather on Aviation|
Date: Oct 24, 2013
Astronauts aren't the only ones who need to worry about solar flares. Ordinary air travelers can also be exposed to significant doses of radiation during solar storms. A new computer model developed by NASA aims to help protect the public by predicting space weather hazards to aviation.
|Amateur Astonomers See Comet ISON Approaching the Sun|
Date: Sep 23, 2013
Comet ISON is still more than two months away from its spectacular close encounter with the sun. Already, the brightening comet has become a good target for backyard telescopes in the pre-dawn sky.
|The Harvest Moon|
Date: Sep 15, 2013
The full Moon closest to the northern autumnal equinox is coming this week. Don't miss the Harvest Moon.
|ISS "Firestation" to Explore the Tops of Thunderstorms|
Date: Sep 9, 2013
Sometimes, Earth mimics a supernova, producing a Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flash from the tops of thunderstorms. A new lightning sensor on the International Space Station could solve the mystery of these energetic bursts.
|NASA Mission Seeks Lunar Air|
Date: Aug 29, 2013
A NASA spacecraft slated for launch in September will fly to the Moon to investigate the tenuous lunar atmosphere. Researchers hope "LADEE" will solve a mystery that has been puzzling them since the days of Apollo.
|Comet ISON to Fly By Mars|
Date: Aug 15, 2013
Comet ISON is heading for a Thanksgiving Day brush with the sun, but first it's going to pay a visit to Mars. In this week's ScienceCast, researchers discuss what might happen when Comet ISON meets the Red Planet.
|The Strange Attraction of Hot Jupiters|
Date: Aug 8, 2013
An exotic class of exoplanets called "hot Jupiters" are even weirder than astronomers imagined. While these worlds may have Earth-like blue skies, new data show that they are anything but Earth-like.
|The Sun's Magnetic Field is About to Flip|
Date: Aug 5, 2013
Something big is happening on the sun. The sun's global magnetic field is about to flip, a sign that Solar Max has arrived.
Date: Jul 25, 2013
New research from NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office identifies the Perseids as the "fireball champion" of annual meteor showers. This year's Perseid display peaks on August 12th and 13th.
|The Mystery of the Missing Waves on Titan|
Date: Jul 19, 2013
Saturn's giant moon Titan is dotted with hydrocarbon lakes and seas that bear an uncanny resemblance to bodies of water on Earth. Strangely, though, Titan's lakes and seas have no waves.
|The Zero Gravity Coffee Cup|
Date: Jul 12, 2013
Drinking coffee in space is surprisingly tricky. Physicists researching the strange behavior of fluids onboard the International Space Station have invented a zero-g coffee cup to make the morning "cuppa Joe" a little easier to swallow.
|Opporunity's Improbable Anniversary|
Date: Jun 27, 2013
When Opportunity left Earth in 2003, many observers expected the rover to survive no more than a few months on the hostile surface of Mars. 10 years later, Opportunity is still going strong and could be poised to make its biggest discoveries yet at a place named Solander Point.
|The "Sleeping Giant" in Arctic Permafrost|
Date: Jun 21, 2013
Arctic permafrost soils contain more accumulated carbon than all the human fossil-fuel emissions since 1850 combined. Warming Arctic permafrost, poised to release its own gases into the atmosphere, could be the "sleeping giant" of climate change.
|Strange Flames on the International Space Station|
Date: Jun 17, 2013
Researchers experimenting with flames onboard the International Space Station have produced a strange, cool-burning form of fire that could help improve the efficiency of auto engines.
|An Early Start for Noctilucent Clouds|
Date: Jun 07, 2013
Glowing electric-blue at the edge of space, noctilucent clouds have surprised researchers by appearing early this year. The unexpected apparition hints at a change in the "teleconnections" of Earth's atmosphere.
|Big Asteroid Flyby|
Date: May 30, 2013
NASA is tracking a large near-Earth asteroid as it passes by the Earth-Moon system on May 31st. Amateur astronomers in the northern hemisphere may be able to see the space rock for themselves during the 1st week of June.
|Big Weather on Hot Jupiters|
Date: May 24, 2013
Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope are making weather maps of an exotic class of exoplanets called "hot Jupiters." What they're finding is wilder than anything we experience here in our own solar system.
|Bright Explosion on the Moon|
Date: May 16, 2013
NASA researchers who monitor the Moon for meteoroid impacts have detected the brightest explosion in the history of their program.
Date: May 09, 2013
The three brightest planets in this month's night sky are lining up for a beautiful sunset conjunction at the end of May.
|Glow-in-the-Dark Plants on the ISS|
Date: May 02, 2013
Can plants adapt to the novelty of climate change? Researchers seeking to answer this question have sent genetically engineered plants to the ISS for exposure to extreme conditions. To report their condition, the plants have learned to glow in the dark.
|Saturn Close Up|
Date: Apr 24, 2013
Saturn and Earth are lining up for a beautiful view of the ringed planet. Saturn will be at its best and brightest on April 28th.
|Comet ISON Meteor Shower|
Date: Apr 19, 2013
Sungrazing Comet ISON, expected to become a bright naked-eye object later this year, might dust the Earth with meteoroids in early 2014. Researchers discuss the possibilities in this week's ScienceCast.
|A Whiff of Dark Matter on the ISS|
Date: Apr 12, 2013
An advanced particle detector onboard the International Space Station may have recorded its first whiff of Dark Matter. Researchers are excited about the possibility of finally understanding what this mysterious substance is made of.
|Don't Let This Happen to Your Planet|
Date: Mar 29, 2013
Life as we know it doesn't thrive on planets without ozone layers. A new instrument slated for launch to the ISS will monitor Earth's protective ozone shell with greater depth and precision than ever before.
|Collision Course? A Comet Heads for Mars|
Date: Mar 25, 2013
A comet is heading for Mars, and there is a chance that it might hit the Red Planet in October 2014. An impact wouldn't necessarily mean the end of NASA's Mars program. But it would transform the program along with Mars itself.
Date: Mar 14, 2013
Comet Pan-STARRS has survived its encounter with the sun and is now emerging from twilight in the sunset skies of the northern hemisphere. A NASA spacecraft monitoring the comet has beamed back pictures of a wild and ragged tail.
|Stormy Space Weather|
Date: Mar 07, 2013
Forecasters say solar maximum is due in 2013. To prepare, the UN is organizing an international response to stormy space weather.
|Solar Max Double Peaked|
Date: Mar 01, 2013
Something unexpected is happening on the sun. 2013 is supposed to be the year of Solar Max, but solar activity is much lower than expected. At least one leading forecaster expects the sun to rebound with a double-peaked maximum later this year.
|What Exploded Over Russia?|
Date: Feb 25, 2013
Two weeks after an asteroid exploded over Russia's Ural mountains, scientists are making progress understanding the origin and make-up of the unexpected space rock. This week's ScienceCast presents their latest results.
|Pink Planet at Sunset|
Date: Feb 08, 2013
The planet Mercury is about to make its best apparition of the year for backyard sky watchers. Look west at sunset for a piercing pink planet surrounded by twilight blue.
|A Naked-Eye Comet in March 2013|
Date: Feb 01, 2013
A comet falling in from the distant reaches of the solar system could become a naked-eye object in early March. This is Comet Pan-STARRS's first visit to the inner solar system, so surprises are possible as its virgin ices are exposed to intense solar heating.
|Record-Setting Asteroid Flyby|
Date: Jan 28, 2013
On Feb. 15th an asteroid about half the size of a football field will fly past Earth closer than many man-made satellites. Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, astronomers have never seen an object so big come so close to our planet.
|Comet of the Century|
Date: Jan 18, 2013
Astronomers are keeping a close eye on a newly-discovered Comet ISON, which could become visible in broad daylight later this year when it skims through the atmosphere of the sun.
Date: Jan 07, 2013
Researchers studying thunderstorms have made a surprising discovery: The lightning we see with our eyes has a dark competitor that discharges storm clouds and flings antimatter into space. Astrophysicists and meteorologists are scrambling to understand "dark lightning."
|Christmas Sky Show|
Date: Dec 20, 2012
The Moon and Jupiter are converging for a heavenly sky show on Christmas 2012. Got a telescope? Something extra-special is happening on Jupiter that makes it an appealing target for backyard optics.
|Why the World Didn't End Yesterday|
Date: Dec 11, 2012
NASA is so sure the world won't come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, that they already released a video for the day after.
|Rock Comet Meteor Shower|
Date: Nov 29, 2012
The Geminid meteor shower peaks on Dec. 13th and 14th when Earth runs through a stream of debris from a strange object that some astronomers are calling a "rock comet."
|The Diner at the Center of the Galaxy|
Date: Nov 15, 2012
The Milky Way's supermassive black hole is generally a picky eater, but NASA's NuSTAR spacecraft recently caught it in the act of having a snack!
|NASA's Cure for a Common Phobia|
Date: Nov 08, 2012
NASA has an unusual candidate for the astronaut corps--a rubber chicken. Seriously. Beloved by schoolchildren around the country, Camilla the rubber chicken has been training in fighter jets, flying to the edge of space, and visiting classrooms around the country as she prepares to go where no chicken has gone before.
|Total Eclipse of the Sun|
Date: Nov 07, 2012
Scientists and sky watchers are converging on the northeast coast of Australia, near the Great Barrier Reef, for a total eclipse of the sun.
Date: Oct 25, 2012
Astronomers have caught a red giant star in the act of devouring one of its planets. It could be a preview of what will happen to Earth five billion years from now.
|A Meteor Shower from Halley's Comet|
Date: Oct 11, 2012
Soon, Earth will pass through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower. Forecasters expect 25 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Oct. 21st.
|The Sound of Earthsong|
Date: Sep 27, 2012
A NASA spacecraft has recorded eerie-sounding radio emissions coming from our own planet. These beautiful "songs of Earth" could, ironically, be responsible for the proliferation of deadly electrons in the Van Allen Belts.
|Why Curiosity Matters|
Date: Sep 20, 2012
A former rock-n-roller turned NASA engineer explains why he thinks Curiosity--both the Mars rover and the human desire to learn new things--matters to ordinary people on Earth.
Date: Sep 06, 2012
Once, astronomers thought planets couldn't form around binary stars. Now Kepler has found a whole system of planets orbiting a double star. This finding shows that planetary systems are weirder and more abundant than previously thought.
|The Radiation Belt Storm Probes|
Date: Aug 30, 2012
Most spacecraft try to avoid the Van Allen Belts, two doughnut-shaped regions around Earth filled with "killer electrons." This morning NASA launched two heavily-shielded spacecraft directly into the belts. The Radiation Belt Storm Probes are on a two-year mission to study the Van Allen Belts and to unravel the mystery of their unpredictability.
|Watch Out For The Blue Moon|
Date: Aug 29, 2012
The second full Moon of August--a "Blue Moon"--is just around the corner. It will probably look just like any other full Moon but, on rare occasions, the Moon really does turn blue. Could it happen this month?
|Where Will Curiosity Go First?|
Date: Aug 17, 2012
Curiosity is safe on Mars and ready to roll. In this video from Science@NASA, project scientist John Grotzinger discusses where the rover might go first.
|2012 Perseid Meteor Shower|
Date: Aug 09, 2012
The Perseid meteor shower is underway. There's more to see than meteors, however, when the shower peaks on August 11th through 13th. The brightest planets in the solar system are lining up in the middle of the display.
|Meteor Smoke Makes Strange Clouds|
Date: Aug 02, 2012
A key ingredient of Earth's strangest clouds does not come from Earth. New data from NASA's AIM spacecraft proves that "meteor smoke" is essential to the formation of noctilucent clouds.
|Mars Landing Sky Show|
Date: Jul 27, 2012
On the same night Curiosity lands on Mars, a "Martian Triangle" will appear in sunset skies of Earth. The first-magnitude apparition on August 5th gives space fans something to do while they wait for news from the Red Planet.
|A Taste of Solar Maximum|
Date: Jul 19, 2012
Solar maximum is still a year away. This month sky watchers got a taste of things to come when a powerful flare sparked Northern Lights over the United States as far south as Arkansas, Colorado and California.
|The First Extraterrestrial Marathon|
Date: Jul 12, 2012
More than 8 years after landing on the Red Planet, Mars rover Opportunity is still running. Indeed, mission planners say the tireless robot is poised to complete a full marathon--the first ever long-distance race on an alien planet.
|A Good Reason to Wake Up at Dawn|
Date: Jul 03, 2012
The brightest planets in the solar system are converging for a beautiful sunrise sky show in early July.
|Hidden Magnetic Portals Around Earth|
Date: Jun 28, 2012
A NASA-sponsored researcher at the University of Iowa has developed a way for spacecraft to hunt down hidden magnetic portals in the vicinity of Earth. These portals link the magnetic field of our planet to that of the sun.
|Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier|
Date: Jun 21, 2012
At the edge of the solar system, Voyager 1 is reporting a sharp increase in cosmic rays that could herald the spacecraft's long-awaited entry into interstellar space.
|Why Won't the Supernova Explode?|
Date: Jun 15, 2012
A question has been troubling astronomers: Why won't the supernova explode? Although real stars blow up, the best computer models of dying stars do not result in much of a bang. NASA has launched a new observatory named "NuSTAR" to seek out the missing physics of exploding stars.
|Andromeda vs. the Milky Way: Astronomers Predict a Titanic Collision|
Date: Jun 08, 2012
Astronomers no longer have any doubt: Our Milky Way Galaxy will have a head-on collision with Andromeda. Fortunately, they say, Earth will survive when the two great star systems meet 4 billions years from now.
|ISS Transit of Venus|
Date: May 31, 2012
High above Earth, astronaut Don Pettit is about to become the first human to witness and photograph a transit of Venus from space. His images and commentary will be streamed to Earth during the crossing.
|Partial Eclipse of the Strawberry Moon|
Date: May 24, 2012
On Monday, June 4th, the Moon will pass through the shadow of Earth, producing a partial lunar eclipse visible across the Pacific from China to the United States.
|The 2012 Transit of Venus|
Date: May 17, 2012
It won't happen again until December 2117. On June 5th, 2012, Venus will transit the face of the sun in an event of both historical and observational importance. The best places to watch are in the south Pacific, but travel is not required. The event will also be visible around sunset from the USA.
|Don't Judge a Moon by its Cover|
Date: May 10, 2012
Superficially, Saturn's moon Phoebe doesn't look much like a planet, but on the inside, the little gray moon has a lot in common with worlds like Earth.
|A Star Turns Inside Out|
Date: May 03, 2012
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has mapped the debris of a supernova and discovered that the explosion may have turned the original star inside out. Peering into the heart of the inverted star, astronomers have found the atoms of life itself.
|Amateur Scientists Discover Galactic Bubbles|
Date: Apr 27, 2012
Amateur scientists have made a effervescent discovery: The Milky Way Galaxy is bubbling like a glass of champagne.
|Here Comes Solar Maximum|
Date: Apr 19, 2012
Solar storms and Northern Lights are in the offing as the sun approaches Solar Max, expected in mid-to-late 2013. Recently, Earth's defenses were tested by a volley of strong eruptions. Find out what happened in this week's explosive ScienceCast.
|April is the Cruelest Month|
Date: Apr 12, 2012
One year after the historic tornado outbreak of April 27-28, 2011, researchers say they've learned a few things about deadly twisters. This week's ScienceCast presents some of the scientific findings that emerged from the swath of destruction.
|A Wonderful Night in April|
Date: Apr 05, 2012
If you have to chose just one night in April to go out and look at the stars, NASA scientists say it should be April 21st. This week's ScienceCast explains what makes that one night so special.
|Getting to Know the Goldilocks Planet|
Date: Mar 29, 2012
NASA's Kepler spacecraft is discovering a veritable avalanche of alien worlds. As the numbers mount, it seems to be just a matter of time before Kepler finds what astronomers are really looking for: an Earth-like planet orbiting its star in the "Goldilocks zone".
|The Surprising Power of a Solar Storm|
Date: Mar 22, 2012
A flurry of solar activity in early March dumped enough heat in Earth's upper atmosphere to power every residence in New York City for two years. The heat has since dissipated, but there's more to come as the solar cycle intensifies.
|Mysterious Objects at the Edge of the Electromagnetic Spectrum|
Date: Mar 15, 2012
NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Telescope is finding hundreds of new objects at the very edge of the electromagnetic spectrum. Many of them have one thing in common: Astronomers have no idea what they are.
|The Super Moon of May 2012|
Date: Mar 09, 2012
Another "super-Moon" is in the offing. The perigee full Moon in May will be as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons of 2012.
Date: Mar 01, 2012
Lately, the International Space Station has been flying through geomagnetic storms, giving astronauts an close-up view of the aurora borealis just outside their windows.
|Curiosity, The Stunt Double|
Date: Feb 23, 2012
En route to the Red Planet, Mars rover Curiosity has experienced the strongest solar radiation storm since 2005. No need to be alarmed: Researchers say it's all part of Curiosity's job as a 'stunt double' for human astronauts.
|An Alignment of Planets|
Date: Feb 16, 2012
The brightest planets in the night sky are aligning for a must-see show in late February and March 2012. Start looking tonight!
|Alien Matter in the Solar System|
Date: Feb 09, 2012
"Alien matter" detected by a NASA spacecraft orbiting Earth shows that the chemical make-up of our solar system differs from that of the surrounding galaxy. Researchers discuss the possible meaning of this mismatch in this week's ScienceCast video.
|Mission to Land on a Comet|
Date: Feb 02, 2012
Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft is en route to intercept a comet– and to make history. In 2014, Rosetta will enter orbit around 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and land a probe on it for a front row seat as the comet heads toward the sun.
|Solar Eclipse in the USA|
Date: Jan 26, 2012
A "ring of fire" solar eclipse is coming to the USA this spring. It's the first annular eclipse visible from the contiguous United States in almost 18 years.
|What Happened to all the Snow?|
Date: Jan 19, 2012
Winter seems to have been on hold this year in some parts of the United States. Snowfall has been scarce in places that were overwhelmed with the white stuff at the same time last year. In this ScienceCast, JPL climatologist Bill Patzert explains what's going on.
|Some Comets Like It Hot|
Date: Jan 12, 2012
Astronomers are still scratching their heads over Comet Lovejoy, which plunged through the atmosphere of the sun in December and, against all odds, survived. The comet is now receding into the outer solar system leaving many mysteries behind.
|Re-thinking an Alien World|
Date: Jan 05, 2012
A distant super-Earth named "55 Cancri e" is wetter and weirder than astronomers thought possible. The discovery has researchers re-thinking the nature of alien worlds.
Date: Dec 13, 2011
A new iPhone app just released by NASA harnesses the power of citizen scientists to track space debris around Earth.
|Smallest Terrestrial Planet?|
Date: Dec 09, 2011
NASA's Dawn probe, now orbiting Vesta in the asteroid belt, has found some surprising things on the giant asteroid--things that have prompted one researcher to declare Vesta "the smallest terrestrial planet."
|A Super-Sized Lunar Eclipse|
Date: Dec 01, 2011
On Dec 10th, sky watchers in the western United States will witness a total lunar eclipse swollen to super-sized proportions by the Moon illusion.
|The Great Lakes of Europa|
Date: Nov 23, 2011
Scientists studying data from NASA's Galileo probe have discovered what appears to be a body of liquid water the volume of the North American Great Lakes locked inside the icy shell of Jupiter's moon Europa. This improves the odds that Europa is a habitat for extraterrestrial life.
Date: Nov 23, 2011
A distant world is being hit by solar storms so ferocious, the entire planet is probably enveloped in auroras. Researchers speculate that the display is probably as beautiful as it is terrifying.
|Mystery of the Lunar Ionosphere|
Date: Nov 10, 2011
How can a world without air have an ionosphere? Somehow the Moon has done it. Lunar researchers have been struggling with this mystery for years, and they may have finally found a solution.
Date: Nov 03, 2011
A NASA space telescope named "GALEX" has found stars forming in extreme galactic environments, places where researchers thought stars should not be. The finding could affect astronomy much as the discovery of microbial extremophiles affected biology in the 1970s.
|A Star with Spiral Arms|
Date: Oct 28, 2011
Using a Japanese telescope, NASA-supported researchers have found the first clear case of a star with spiral arms.
|The Sleepy Hollows of Mercury|
Date: Oct 20, 2011
NASA's MESSENGER probe has discovered a surprise on Mercury: Something is digging "hollows" in the surface of the innermost planet.
|600 Mysteries in the Night Sky|
Date: Oct 14, 2011
The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope recently produced a map of the night sky. Out of 1873 new sources, nearly 600 were complete mysteries. In this week's ScienceCast, researchers speculate on the nature of the mystery objects - including the possibility that they are made of dark matter.
|Draconid Meteor Outburst|
Date: Oct 05, 2011
Forecasters say Earth is heading for a stream of dust from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. A close encounter with the comet's fragile debris could spark a meteor outburst over parts of our planet on October 8th.
|The Strange Attraction of Gale Crater|
Date: Sep 29, 2011
NASA's newest rover Curiosity is getting ready to leave Earth. It's destination: Gale crater on Mars. Today's story from Science@NASA explains the attraction of this Martian crater with a strangely-sculpted mountain the middle.
|Did Earth Have Two Moons?|
Date: Sep 22, 2011
Did our planet once have two moons? Some researchers say so. Moreover, the missing satellite might still be up there--splattered across the far side of the Moon. NASA's GRAIL mission could help confirm or refute the "two moon" hypothesis.
|Secret Lives of Solar Flares|
Date: Sep 15, 2011
Researchers have just discovered that solar flares have been keeping a secret--and it's a big one.
Date: Sep 09, 2011
Stars as cold as the human body? Believe it. A NASA spacecraft has discovered a half-dozen "Y Dwarfs" with atmospheric temperatures as low as 80 F.
|Visit To Pluto|
Date: Sep 02, 2011
Dwarf planet Pluto is a world of mystery waiting to be visited for the first time. NASA's New Horizons probe is racing across the solar system for a ground breaking close encounter that could dramatically alter what researchers "know" about Pluto and other small worlds.
|Breath of Fresh Air|
Date: Aug 25, 2011
The same kind of oxygen humans breath on Earth has been found in deep space. It's a breath of fresh air for astronomers who have been searching for cosmic "O2" until now without success.
|Bright Perseids Photographed|
Date: Aug 18, 2011
On August 13th, space station astronaut Ron Garan photographed a centimeter-sized chunk of comet debris disintegrating in Earth's atmosphere. His rare photo of a meteor from Earth orbit is a must-see.
|Dawn's Smooth Move|
Date: Aug 04, 2011
NASA's Dawn spacecraft doesn't do things like other missions. In July it slipped into orbit around asteroid Vesta using a smooth move that made mission planners want to get up and dance.
|What Lies Inside Jupiter|
Date: Jul 28, 2011
For four long centuries the gas giant's vast interior has remained hidden from view. NASA's Juno probe, scheduled to launch on August 5th, could change all that.
|Sun Grazing Comet|
Date: Jul 27, 2001
On July 5th, a comet dove into the sun and disintegrated. New footage just released by NASA shows the final stages of the comet's death plunge.
|Summer Meteor Shower|
Date: Jul 21, 2011
If you're camping out and can't sleep, maybe your slumber is being interrupted by the flash of meteors. The summer Perseid meteor shower is getting underway as Earth enters the debris stream from comet Swift-Tuttle.
Date: Jul 14, 2011
NASA has just released new movies of an "inky-dark" solar explosion that continues to puzzle experts more than a month after it happened.
|An Astronomer's Dilemma|
Date: Jul 07, 2011
Stars are bright, but their planets are not, which makes planet hunting difficult. However, NASA's ultraviolet telescope GALEX may be providing a solution.
Date: Jun 30, 2011
Record snowfall, killer tornadoes, devastating floods: There's no doubt about it. Since Dec. 2010, the weather in the USA has been positively wild. But why?
|Power of Sea Salt|
Date: Jun 16, 2011
Aquarius is the first NASA sensor to track ocean salinity from space, and aims to help uncover how the salinity of Earth's oceans are effecting our climate.
Date: Jun 09, 2011
NASA's Voyager probes have reached the edge of the solar system and found something surprising there--a froth of magnetic bubbles separating us from the rest of the galaxy.
|Salute to Spirit|
Date: Jun 02, 2011
It's been more than a year since NASA has heard from Mars rover Spirit. The agency says it may be time to say "thanks and farewell."
Date: May 19, 2011
Something is exploding in the Crab Nebula ten billion times more powerful than a solar flare. These "superflares" are baffling astronomers who haven't yet figured out the source of the blasts.
Date: May 12, 2011
NASA has announced the results of an epic physics experiment which confirms the reality of a space-time vortex around our planet.
|Morning Planet Show|
Date: May 05, 2011
The Great Morning Planet Show of May 2011 is underway. Wake up before sunrise any day this month to see a shape-shifting alignment of heavenly lights.
Date: Apr 28, 2011
More than 30 years after they were launched, NASA's two Voyager probes have traveled to the edge of the solar system and are on the doorstep of interstellar space.
|Meteors from Halley's Comet|
Date: Apr 20, 2011
Earth is about to pass through a stream of dust from Halley's Comet, source of the annual eta Aquarid meteor shower. The show begins before sunrise on May 6th.
Date: Apr 13, 2011
With a burst of solar flares and Northern Lights, the sun is waking up from a three-year slumber.
Date: Apr 06, 2011
For reasons researchers do not understand, the rate of midnight fireballs increases during the weeks around the vernal equinox. It's a beautiful display, but where do they come from? NASA's growing network of fireball cameras is scanning the heavens for answers.
Date: Mar 31, 2011
Strange quantum fluids that love to sneak out of cups have been found trapped inside the core of a dead neutron star.
Date: Mar 23, 2011
When solar activity recently plunged into a century-class minimum, many experts were puzzled. Now a group of researchers say they have cracked the mystery of the missing sunspots.
Date: Mar 16, 2011
Mark your calendar. On March 19th, a full Moon of rare size and beauty will rise in the east at sunset. It's a super "perigee moon"--the biggest in almost 20 years.
Date: Mar 09, 2011
Last month, NASA scientists got a rare chance to study "thundersnow" first-hand when a freak winter storm rolled right over their research center.
Date: Feb 18, 2011
High overhead, out of the darkness, a bright light surges into view. For 5 to 10 seconds it outshines the brightest stars in the sky, mimicking a supernova, perhaps even casting faint shadows at your feet. The silence is broken by your own excited shouts. Could this happen to you? It could, if you happen to be outside when NanoSail-D flies by.