space

This artist’s conception shows a supermassive black hole, with millions of times the mass of our sun, buried at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. Credit: NASA Astronomers around the world are on a cosmic stakeout, closely watching the supermassive black hole—lurking at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy—that is about to gobble…

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Hurricanes as large as planets may sweep across the face of brown dwarfs—failed stars bigger than planets but smaller than real stars. A new study looks at 44 brown dwarfs using the infrared camera of NASA’s Spitzer space telescope. The astronomers report that they recorded periodic changes in brightness and saw the largest variations ever…

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NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has snapped an image of both the Chinese lander and the hibernating Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, rover sitting among the craters on the surface of the moon. (Related: “Cool Video: Watch HD Footage of China’s Historic Moon Rover Landing.”) Although the six-wheeled robotic geologist is only a scant 5 feet…

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  The New Year promises a pair of lunar disappearing acts and a potential surprise meteor shower, among other celestial delights. While scores of amazing astronomical phenomena are in the offing, here are our picks for sky-watching events worth circling on your calendar for 2014. 1. Total Eclipse of the Moon This year sky-watchers will…

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As festivities kick off the New Year, sky-watchers will revel in nights filled with shooting stars, the king of planets shining like a beacon, and grand planetary spectacles blooming in the heavens. Great Orion Nebula. With the moon reaching a new phase for New Year’s Eve, December 31, the dark skies are perfect for hunting…

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Every week, embark with host Boyd Matson on an exploration of the latest discoveries and interviews with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, on National Geographic Weekend. Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend on radio, or listen below! Hour 1 – A dozen years ago, Pete Athans, nicknamed “Mr….

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No place like home for the holidays? Two American astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will be floating outside their orbiting home on Christmas Eve.   While a Saturday space walk to repair the orbiting laboratory’s faulty cooling pump was completed ahead of schedule, water leaks still plague one space-walk spacesuit. As a result,…

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Tensions are high as the astronauts aboard the International Space Station ready themselves to conduct a series of emergency spacewalks that start this weekend, ones intended to correct a critical cooling system failure. Acting much like a car’s radiator, the malfunctioning cooling pump prevents overheating of electronics and science experiments aboard the ISS. With one…

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The Hubble Space Telescope sends along the spirit of the season, spying a cosmic holiday wreath. Just like your favorite seasonal ornament, the giant cloud of gas and dust lights up from within. Only in this case, the holiday glow comes from a massive variable star. Located some 6,500 light years away from Earth, the super-giant star at…

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Filled with shooting stars and Jovian moons playing tag, some of the most sparkling gifts of this holiday season can be found  this week in the night sky. Full Moon with Stellar Beacons. As the sun sets on Monday, December 16, a full moon rises in the east – the smallest of 2013. Despite the bright glare,…

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China’s Chang’e-3 spacecraft performed a  nerve-wracking 12 minute descent and touched down safely on the lunar surface on Saturday, December 14 at 8:11 am EST. Several hours later, a 140-kilogram (300-pound) six-wheeled rover named Jade-Rabbit rolled down a ramp to begin its 3-month mission exploring the lunar rocks and soil. China joins an elite club of nations–just…

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Sky-watchers this week can follow Earth’s lone natural satellite as it glides across the sky and poses with some of the most well known celestial treasures. Moon and Pisces.  After nightfall on Monday, December 9,  look for the first quarter moon to hang just below the “Circlet,” the most easily recognizable part of the constellation…

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The waxing crescent moon appears to play peek-a-boo with the planet Venus through a natural rock arch in this dramatic snapshot taken in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. Sky-watchers this week got to see Earth’s lone natural satellite glide past the second planet from the sun in the southwestern skies. The two worlds…

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The Hubble Space Telescope has spied five alien worlds around distant stars that show clear signs of water vapor filling their atmospheres, according to a new study. The find represents the first conclusive detection and comparison of water vapor in the atmosphere of planets orbiting nearby stars. While they all have unromantic names like WASP-17b,…

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