Solar System, Sky Watching, Meteor Showers
Dec 30, 2016
Earth will pass through a stream of debris from comet 2003 EH1 on January 3, 2017, producing a shower of meteors known as the Quadrantids.
Jan 14, 2014
Jan. 14, 2014: Are we there yet? One of the fastest spacecraft ever built -- NASA's New Horizons -- is hurtling through the void at nearly one million miles per day. Launched in 2006, it has been in flight longer than some missions last, and it is nearing its destination: Pluto... Read More
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.
Jan 10, 2014
Jan 10, 2014
Jan. 10, 2014: When firefighters want to extinguish a blaze, they often douse it with water. Astronauts on board the ISS, however, are experimenting with a form of water that does the opposite. Instead of stopping fire, this water helps start it. "We call it ‘supercritical water,’"... Read More
Jan 8, 2014
Jan. 8, 2014: A new NASA satellite that will peer into the topmost layer of Earth's soils to measure the hidden waters that influence our weather and climate is in final preparations for a Jan. 29 dawn launch from California.
Jan 5, 2014
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.
Dec 23, 2013
Dec. 23, 2013: Data from NASA's AIM spacecraft show that noctilucent clouds are like a great "geophysical light bulb." They turn on every year in late spring, reaching almost full intensity over a period of no more than 5 to 10 days. News flash: The bulb is glowing.
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.
Sun, Solar System
Dec 13, 2013
Dec. 13, 2013: As arctic air and record cold sweeps across the USA, amateur astronomers are looking at their calendars with a degree of trepidation. A date is circled: Dec. 14th. And below it says: "Wake up at 4 AM for the Geminid meteor shower." "It's going to be cold," says Bill... Read More
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.
Dec 10, 2013
Dec. 10, 2013: What is the coldest place on Earth? It is a high ridge in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau where temperatures in several hollows can dip below minus 133.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 92 degrees Celsius) on a clear winter night.
Dec 4, 2013
Dec. 4, 2013: Astronomers have long known that some comets like it hot. Several of the greatest comets in history have flown close to the sun, puffing themselves up with solar heat, before they became naked-eye wonders in the night sky. Some comets like it hot, but Comet ISON was not... Read More
Nov 27, 2013
Nov. 27, 2013: If you have a smartphone, take it out and run your fingers along the glass surface. It's cool to the touch, incredibly thin and strong, and almost impervious to scratching. You're now in contact with a "smart material."