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Dan Vergano

Name That Planet! Alien Worlds Looking for Winning Names

Tired of this planet? How about voting on a name for a newly-discovered one.

NASA Launches Carbon Observatory

NASA’s carbon dioxide monitor has reached orbit.

Hubble Telescope to Start Hunt for Icy World Beyond Pluto

Hubble is on the hunt for a world beyond Pluto.

“The Beast” Asteroid Blazes Path Past Earth

The Beast asteroid passed by high overhead last week, and now NASA has the pictures to prove it.

Hubble Telescope Unveils Most Colorful View of the Universe Yet

NASA’s Hubble space telescope has unveiled its latest, greatest, deepest view of galaxies.

NASA Unveils Selfie of Earth Created With Tens of Thousands of Individual Pictures

A stunning “Global Selfie” mosaic from NASA celebrates Earth and Earth Day.

NASA Puts Kepler Back On the Hunt For Distant Worlds

On the hunt for alien worlds, NASA has approved a new mission for the Kepler spacecraft, despite a crippling breakdown in 2013 that seemed to mark the end of its work forever. (See: “New Role for Disabled Kepler?”) Launched in 2009, the original $600 million Kepler mission discovered more than half of all known planets orbiting nearby…

Watch Stunning First Simulation of Universe’s 13-Billion-Year Evolution

Everyone loves cartoons, even cosmologists. They just call them simulations. Now, one of the great triumphs of modern cosmology—our understanding of how the universe evolved its kaleidoscope of stars, worlds, and galaxies—has been visualized in its first realistic simulation: “Until now, no single simulation was able to reproduce the universe on both large and small scales…

Space Shuttle 747 to Land in Museum

The jumbo jet that first carried a space shuttle coast to coast will land in a museum next month, scheduled to forever bear a copy of its most famous passenger. NASA 905 was the first of two Boeing 747 passenger jets modified by the space agency to wing space shuttles from landing runways back to…

Biggest Yellow “Hypergiant” Star Spotted

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…

Spacewalk Mishap Tied to Clogged Helmet Filter

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…

Sun Unleashes Monster Blast—Biggest in a Year

A powerful solar blast uncorked late Monday was the biggest one in a year, report space-weather officials.

Lopsided Supernova Blasts Uncovered

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…

Newly Discovered Planet Wobbles as It Spins

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 Reveals Saturn’s View Of Earth

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…