Development of Freeform Optics Technology May Revolutionize Space Telescopes

A young astronomer observes Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) during a public outreach program at the Seminole State College Planetarium in central Florida March 16, 2013. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / AmericaSpace

A young astronomer observes Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) during a public outreach program at the Seminole State College Planetarium in central Florida March 16, 2013. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / AmericaSpace

In the world of telescopes, light gathering power is dictated by the physical size of the first mirror or lens exposed to the […]

GJ 1132b: Nearest Earth-Sized Exoplanet Discovered So Far May Be a 'Venus Twin'

Artist's conception of GJ 1132b, an Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting a nearby star. Conditions on this world, however, are more like Venus than Earth. Image Credit: Dana Berry

Artist’s conception of GJ 1132b, an Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting a nearby star. Conditions on this world, however, are probably more like Venus than Earth. Image Credit: Dana Berry

Astronomers have discovered another Earth-sized exoplanet that is the closest one to our own Solar System found so far, but it might not be a nice place […]

New Study Suggests Cloudy Weather and Molten Metal Downpours on Rogue Exoplanet

An artist's concept of the free-floating planet PSO J318.5-22. Astronomers have found evidence that the planet is covered with clouds which rain down molten metals, even in the coldness of interstellar space. Image Credit: MPIA/V. Ch. Quetz

An artist’s concept of the free-floating planet PSO J318.5-22. Astronomers have found evidence that the planet is covered with clouds which rain down molten metals, even in the coldness of interstellar space. Image Credit: MPIA/V. Ch. Quetz

We tend to define planets as objects that need a star around which to revolve. Yet, as […]

Hubble Observes Largest Group of Faintest and Earliest Galaxies Ever Seen

Hubble view of a galaxy cluster containing some of the smallest and youngest galaxies ever observed. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/HST Frontier Fields team (STScI)

Hubble view of a galaxy cluster containing some of the smallest and youngest galaxies ever observed. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/HST Frontier Fields team (STScI)

Peering ever further back in space and time, the Hubble Space Telescope has glimpsed the largest known group of the faintest and youngest primordial galaxies ever—over 250—some of which are estimated […]

Astronomers Begin Worldwide Observations of 'Unusual' Star as SETI Listens for Alien Signals

Astronomers have begun a close-up study of the unusual star KIC 8462852 in the hopes of explaining Kepler's enigmatic observations. To that end, the American Association of Variable Star Observers recently issued a call to the astronomical community worldwide for more detailed observations, while the SETI Institute has began searching for possible radio signals of artificial origin in KIC 8462852's vicinity. Image Credit: Seth Shostak, SETI Institute.

Astronomers have begun a follow-up study of the unusual star KIC 8462852 in the hopes of explaining Kepler’s enigmatic observations. To that end, the American Association of Variable Star Observers recently issued a call to the astronomical community worldwide for more detailed observations, while the SETI Institute has began searching for possible radio signals […]

Unusual Fast-Moving 'Ripples' Discovered in Planetary Debris Disk Surrounding Nearby Star

Hubble and VLT images of the "ripples" within the debris disk surrounding the young star AU Microscopii. Image Credit: ESO/NASA/ESA

Hubble and VLT images of the “ripples” within the debris disk surrounding the young star AU Microscopii. Image Credit: ESO/NASA/ESA

Planetary debris disks, or protoplanetary disks, are some of the most interesting phenomena in astronomy – these giant clouds of dust and gas surrounding young stars are the birthplaces of new planets. Now, astronomers […]

Planets Around Red Dwarf Stars Could Be More Life-Friendly Than Previously Thought, According to New Study

An artist’s concept of a hypothetical terrestrial exoplanet with two moons orbiting inside the habitable zone of a red dwarf star. New research has shown that such planets could under the right conditions generate their own magnetic field, which could render them potentially habitable. Image Credit: D. Aguilar/Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The history of […]

On Course to the Stars: James Webb Space Telescope Shaping Up for 2018 Launch

From ESA: “This image shows two polished test mirror segments being inspected by an optical engineer: one segment with the gold coating already applied, the other without. In the meantime, the coating of all 18 mirrors has been completed.” Photo Credit: NASA/C. Gunn

While the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) recently celebrated 25 years in […]

Two Years From Today: Get Ready For the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017

A total eclipse of the Sun, showing the Sun's atmosphere, or corona, stretching out, which is not normally visible during daylight. Photo Credit: Fred Espenak/NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

A total eclipse of the Sun, showing the Sun’s atmosphere, or corona, stretching out into space, which is not normally visible during daylight. Photo Credit: Fred Espenak/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Exactly two years from today, on Aug. 21, 2017, a rare total solar eclipse will be seen again in the skies of the […]

The Early Solar System Could Have Hosted a Fifth Giant Planet, According to New Study

Artist's impression of a rogue gas giant planet, free-floating in interstellar space. According to a new study, the early Solar System hosted a fifth gas giant planet besides Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, which was eventually ejected into interstellar space through the gravitational interactions with the rest of the Solar System's giant planets. Image Credit: Southwest Research Institute

Artist’s impression of a rogue gas giant planet, free-floating in interstellar space. According to a new study, the early Solar System hosted a fifth gas giant planet besides Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, which was eventually ejected into interstellar space through the gravitational interactions with the rest of the Solar System’s giant planets. Image […]