Astronomers have serious concerns about satellite constellations

Picture the space around Earth filled with tens of thousands of communications satellites. That scenario is slowly coming into being, and it has astronomers concerned. Now, a group of astronomers has written a paper outlining ...

How historic Jupiter comet impact led to planetary defense

Twenty-five years ago, humanity first witnessed a collision between a comet and a planet. From July 16 to 22, 1994, enormous pieces of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (SL9), discovered just a year prior, crashed into Jupiter over ...

RAS statement on Starlink satellite constellation

The Royal Astronomical Society notes with concern the launch of the new SpaceX Starlink constellation of satellites into low-Earth orbit, and the potential impact of this and other programmes on views of the night sky and ...

A new view of exoplanets with NASA's upcoming Webb Telescope

While we now know of thousands of exoplanets—planets around other stars—the vast majority of our knowledge is indirect. That is, scientists have not actually taken many pictures of exoplanets, and because of the limits ...

What makes a planet habitable

Which of Earth's features were essential for the origin and sustenance of life? And how do scientists identify those features on other worlds?

Kepler telescope bids 'goodnight' with final commands

On the evening of Thursday, Nov. 15, NASA's Kepler space telescope received its final set of commands to disconnect communications with Earth. The "goodnight" commands finalize the spacecraft's transition into retirement, ...

IAU formally approves 227 star names

The creation of a specialised IAU Working Group, the Working Group on Star Names (WGSN), was approved by the IAU Executive Committee in May 2016 to formalise star names that have been used colloquially for centuries. WGSN ...

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