Dan Vergano

A jumbo star 1,300 times wider than the sun has surprised astronomers, who report it is the biggest yellow “hypergiant” star ever spotted. Dubbed HR 5171, the star is also surprising because a companion star was discovered orbiting it. “The two stars are so close that they touch, and the whole system resembles a gigantic...

A jumbo star 1,300 times wider than the sun has surprised astronomers, who report it is the biggest yellow “hypergiant” star ever spotted. Dubbed HR 5171, the star is also surprising because a companion star was discovered orbiting it. “The two stars are so close that they touch, and the whole system resembles a gigantic...

An International Space Station mishap that nearly killed an astronaut last year happened because of a clogged spacesuit filter, a NASA investigation board said on Wednesday. The report also pointed to mission controllers not adequately investigating earlier signs of the problem. On July 16, 2013, during a two-man spacewalk, Italy’s Luca Parmitano reported that water was...

The sun looks plenty angry, now that it’s at the peak of its 11-year solar cycle. A powerful solar blast uncorked late Monday was the biggest one in more than a year, report space-weather officials. Erupting from an already active sunspot region, the outburst is classified as an X4.9-class flare: “X” in that designation stands for “extreme.”...

The sun looks plenty angry, now that it’s at the peak of its 11-year solar cycle. A powerful solar blast uncorked late Monday was the biggest one in more than a year, report space-weather officials. Erupting from an already active sunspot region, the outburst is classified as an X4.9-class flare: “X” in that designation stands for “extreme.”...

Some jumbo stars commit stellar suicide in surprisingly lumpy explosions, according to a new study in Nature. Scientists led by Caltech’s Brian Grefenstette looked at Cassiopeia A, a supernova that first appeared in nighttime skies around the year 1670. The supernova’s wispy remnants rest some 11,000 light-years away from Earth, stretched across some 59 trillion miles (95 trillion...

Some jumbo stars commit stellar suicide in surprisingly lumpy explosions, according to a new study in Nature. Scientists led by Caltech’s Brian Grefenstette looked at Cassiopeia A, a supernova that first appeared in nighttime skies around the year 1670. The supernova’s wispy remnants rest some 11,000 light-years away from Earth, stretched across some 59 trillion miles (95 trillion...

A newly discovered planet wobbles as it spins, astronomers say, though it’s in no danger of falling down. The planet, dubbed Kepler-413b, wobbles as it spins around on its north-south axis circling its stars. The wobbles have altered the planet’s tilt by as much as 30 degrees (the angle between the 12 o’clock and the 1...

A newly discovered planet wobbles as it spins, astronomers say, though it’s in no danger of falling down. The planet, dubbed Kepler-413b, wobbles as it spins around on its north-south axis circling its stars. The wobbles have altered the planet’s tilt by as much as 30 degrees (the angle between the 12 o’clock and the 1...

NASA has unveiled a gorgeous Cassini spacecraft look at the Earth, Mars and Venus, as seen from behind Saturn. In orbit around the ringed planet since 2004, Cassini set up the image when it passed into Saturn’s shadow on July 19, 2013. That allowed the spacecraft to capture the arrangement of rings, moons and worlds seen...

NASA has unveiled a gorgeous Cassini spacecraft look at the Earth, Mars and Venus, as seen from behind Saturn. In orbit around the ringed planet since 2004, Cassini set up the image when it passed into Saturn’s shadow on July 19, 2013. That allowed the spacecraft to capture the arrangement of rings, moons and worlds seen...

An explorer in space and in the ocean, Mercury 7 astronaut Scott Carpenter, died Thursday, of complications related to a recent stroke. He was 88. A U.S. Navy reconnaissance pilot during the Korean War, Carpenter was selected as one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, making him an instant celebrity. The astronauts were chosen by...

An explorer in space and in the ocean, Mercury 7 astronaut Scott Carpenter, died Thursday, of complications related to a recent stroke. He was 88. A U.S. Navy reconnaissance pilot during the Korean War, Carpenter was selected as one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, making him an instant celebrity. The astronauts were chosen by...

What’s powerful enough to stop Tyrannosaurus rex in its tracks? The U.S. government shutdown, which halted the start of a trip for the “Wankel” T. rex from a Montana museum to its new home at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,...

What’s powerful enough to stop Tyrannosaurus rex in its tracks? The U.S. government shutdown, which halted the start of a trip for the “Wankel” T. rex from a Montana museum to its new home at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,...