astronomy Archive

'Voyage of Time,' Terrence Malick IMAX film with Brad Pitt narration, is an awesome cosmic meditation

You know what America needs right now? A little perspective. For that, I recommend you head to your local IMAX theater and see Terrence Malick’s “Voyage of Time: The Imax Experience.” It’s a psychedelic meditation on the history of the cosmos that’s very kid-friendly, and a wonderful reminder of the big, big picture. Image from ‘Voyage of Time,’ courtesy IMAX/Broad Green …

NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover Views Spectacular Layered Rock Formations of “Murray Buttes”

Reports NASA today, “The layered geologic past of Mars is revealed in stunning detail in new color images returned by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, which is currently exploring the ‘Murray Buttes’ region of lower Mount Sharp. The new images arguably rival photos taken in U.S. National Parks.” This view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) in NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows sloping buttes and layered outcrops …

Recreating Our Galaxy in a Supercomputer

Astronomers at Caltech have created the most detailed computer simulation yet of how our Milky Way galaxy was formed, from inception billions of years ago as a loose collection of matter to its modern state as a massive, spiral disk of stars. The simulation solves a decades-old mystery surrounding the tiny galaxies that swarm around the outside of our much larger Milky …

NASA: 35 Years On, Voyager's Legacy Continues at Saturn

An update on the Voyager exploration program of Saturn from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Saturn, with its alluring rings and numerous moons, has long fascinated stargazers and scientists. After an initial flyby of Pioneer 11 in 1979, humanity got a second, much closer look at this complex planetary system in the early 1980s through the eyes of NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft. …

The 2016 Perseid meteor shower peaks August 11-12. Here's how to watch!

The Perseid meteor shower originates from the Swift-Tuttle comet, and is visible now through until August 24, 2016. The show is seen viewed from a northeastern direction in the northern hemisphere. “Either set your alarm clock for the very early morning or just stay up all night August 11-12 to see the Perseid meteor shower, a cosmic display of shooting stars that will light …

Alien "megastructure" mystery deepens, but probably isn't a Dyson sphere

KIC 8462862, a distant star, flickers erratically. Among the possibilities: occlusion by an alien “megastructure” surrounding it in space. Though it sounds far-fetched, and there’s no other evidence of intelligence emanating from the system, the flickering’s gotten weirder. The star’s total output has diminished continuously over the course of four years. Jason Wright, the Penn State astronomer who first suggested that Tabby’s …