Light trails left in the sky (photographed with a long exposure time), by Starlink satellites, seen from New Mexico, USA.
By 2025 Elon Musk wants to launch 12,000 satellites and corner the global Internet market. What will be lost is earth-based astronomy, the idea that space belongs to us all and the beauty of a starry sky.
Woodcut from Camille Flammarion’s 1888 book
L'Atmosphère : météorologie populaire. The caption reads: ‘A missionary of the Middle Ages tells that he had found the point where the sky and the Earth touch’ and continues, ‘What is there, then, in this blue sky, which certainly exists, and which veils the stars during the day?’
Albert Einstein may have been the ultimate example of a visionary genius, but that did not stop him from twice losing his way due to beliefs that were perhaps not so scientific.
The sun emitting a sudden flash of light—a solar flare.
Has the Sun entered a stage of old age?
This artist’s impression shows the blast from a heatwave detected in a massive, forming star.
This observation means astronomers can now develop and test theories that explain how high-mass stars gain their mass.
The Parkes radio telescope can detect extremely weak signals coming from the most distant parts of the Universe.
The Dish in Parkes is scanning the southern Milky Way, searching for alien signals.
The Conversation 50.7 MB (download)
Today we hear about the Parkes radio telescope's role in the search for alien life. Our guide is the irrepressible John Sarkissian, the scientist who's had his eye on The Dish since childhood.
Betelguese is the red star in the top right quarter of the picture.
If Betelgeuse explodes, it will become as bright as the full moon in a matter of days and be visible during day time.
An artist’s impression of an exoplanet in the habitable zone around a star.
ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser
NASA scientists have discovered a new planet orbiting around a nearby star that is in a habitable zone. But does this planet have liquid oceans that can support life?
Dark sky sites can inspire new generations of stargazers, but a better long-term solution would be connecting people with the night sky where they live.
Stars come into existence because of a powerful force of nature called gravity.
ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
Stars begin their life inside very large, fluffy clouds of space dust and gas called nebulae.
The Milky Way: a pattern of stars, or a pattern of gaps?
Luke Busellato/Wikimedia Commons
Around the world and throughout history, we find remarkably similar constellations defined by disparate cultures, as well as strikingly similar narratives describing the relationships between them.
Dr. Burbidge is presented with the “Woman of the Year” award in 1976, while professor at UC San Diego.
In an age when women were rarely allowed in observatories, Margaret Burbidge changed how we saw the stars.
Another reason you don’t want to get too close to a black hole is because of something we call ‘spaghettification’. If this happened to Earth it would be… unpleasant.
If you got too close to a black hole, it would suck you in and you'd never be able to escape, even if you were travelling at the speed of light.
This point of no return is called the event horizon.
When it was young, the Sun spun fast – very fast. It would do one rotation in a just one or two Earth days.
Yes, the Sun absolutely spins. In fact, everything in the universe spins. Some things spin faster than the Sun, some are slower and some things spin 'backwards'.
‘Unknown Pleasures’ as you’ve never seen it before…
When you look at the squiggly lines on Joy Division's famous album cover, you're seeing a record of lightning in outer space.
The Milky Way stretches across the sky near the Hungarian border village of Tachty in Slovakia.
The diameter of the Milky Way is a billion billion kilometres.
Searching for planets around nearby stars is like searching for a needle in a field of haystacks.
Science is full of surprises. While searching for planets orbiting nearby stars, researchers stumbled across the remains of a star that once outshone the Sun.
What’s left after a star explodes.
NASA/ESA/JHU/R.Sankrit & W.Blair via Wikimedia Commons.
By studying old and dead stars, we can discover what will happen to our sun in the far, far future. And it won't end with a big explosion.
Make a wish!
Shooting stars are not stars at all. They are tiny space adventurers who accidentally wander into our sky and get sucked toward us by Earth's gravity. Here's the story of a shooting star's journey.
The warped spiral galaxy ESO 510-G13 seen edge-on.
The Milky Way’s disc of stars becomes increasingly warped and twisted the further away they are from the galaxy’s centre.
Distant stars above the ruins of Sherborne Old Castle, in the UK.
When you look up at the vastness of space you can see hundreds, thousands and even millions of years into the past.