Articles on Astronomy

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Saturn and its rings backlit by the sun, which is blocked by the planet in this view. Encircling the planet and inner rings is the much more extended E-ring. NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Water, weather, new worlds: Cassini mission revealed Saturn’s secrets

As the probe starts its 'Grand Finale,' a Cassini team member describes the amazing discoveries it made about the ringed planet and its many moons.
Pluto is a dwarf planet but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of our attention. NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Planet or dwarf planet: all worlds are worth investigating

A group of astronomers are trying to reclassify Pluto as full 'planet'. But there are good reasons to leave our classification system alone, and this doesn't mean Pluto is any less interesting.
An artist’s concept of what it could look like on the surface of one of the exoplanets of TRAPPIST-1. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Seven Earth-sized planets discovered orbiting a nearby star

Several of the newly-discovered exoplanets orbiting a small star appear to be locked in an intricate dance that hints at how such planetary systems can form.
An artist’s impression of a Sun-like star close to a rapidly spinning supermassive black hole, with a mass of about 100 million times the mass of our Sun. ESA/Hubble, ESO, M. Kornmesser

Black holes are even stranger than you can imagine

The discovery of a new black hole adds to our understanding of these celestial objects that fascinate in both fact and fiction.
Have we really discovered other “Earth-like” planets orbiting around other stars? Understanding what we do and do not know about exoplanets is the key to answering this question. ESO/L. Calcada/N. Risinger/Reuters

Until we get better tools, excited reports of ‘habitable planets’ need to come back down to Earth

Over the last 20 years, advances in the field of exoplanet discovery have excited the imaginations of scientists and enthusiasts alike. But we're in position to know yet whether a planet is habitable.
Patience can be rewarded as with this composite of the 2016 Geminids meteor shower, seen over Mt Teide volcano on the Canary Islands, off Spain. Flickr/StarryEarth

Look up! Your guide to some of the best meteor showers for 2017

2017 is looking to be a spectacular year for meteor showers. So here's what to look out for in both the northern and southern skies.
Old sky map depicting boreal and austral hemispheres with constellations and zodiac signs. Marzolino/Shutterstock

What would the ancient astrologers have told us about 2017?

Up until the seventeenth century, astrology was seen as a scholarly tradition, and it is credited as influencing the development of many modern day subjects.
The discovery of the year was the first detection of gravitational waves. LIGO/T. Pyle

2016: the year in space and astronomy

Colliding black holes to exploding spacecraft, 2016 was an incredible year for astrophysics.

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