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Astronomers Discover a New Planet Orbiting the Closest Star to the Sun!

There’s no other way to phrase it. This is HUGE news: Astronomers have found a planet orbiting the Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun! Holy wow. Seriously. Wow. Before I get into details, let me sum up what we know: The planet,...Show More Summary

Super Slow Motion Beauty of SpaceX Rockets

Every now and again, I think, everyone can use a little eye candy. In this case, though, it’s more than that: It’s also hope for the future. Watch this high-speed footage of SpaceX rocket launches and landings, and see what the future...Show More Summary

Global Warming Has Now Made the Northwest Passage a Thing

Over a century ago, explorers dreamed of a Northwest Passage, a route from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic by plying the waterways north of Canada, threading through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, huge icy islands north of Canada. Show More Summary

So What Exactly Is an “Alien Megastructure”?

Last week, I wrote another article about KIC 8462852, aka Tabby’s Star, which is behaving very oddly indeed. It shows sharp dips in brightness that last for hours, as well as much longer ones that last for days (or longer) that indicate...Show More Summary

Trump’s VP Mike Pence Wants to Teach That Old Time Religion in Public Schools

I’ve written a word or two about Donald Trump, as you might imagine, but not much on his vice presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (except to say, unshockingly, that he is a climate change denier). You know anyone picked by Trump...Show More Summary

March … I Mean April … I Mean May … I Mean June … I mean July 2016 Is the 6th … I Mean 7th… I Mean 8th … I Mean 9th… I Mean 10th Temperature Record-Breaking Month in a Row

N.B. If this article sounds familiar, it should. This has been happening so frequently I just copied the post for March April May June and updated it. October. November. December. January. February. March. April. May. June. And now July. For...Show More Summary

When the Sun Never Sets

One of the funny things about living on a big spinning ball of rock and metal in space is that what you see depends on where you are. Where I live, in Colorado, the Sun rises every day, makes an arc in the sky, then sets some time later. Show More Summary

NASA High Definition Camera Creates Stunning Slo-Mo Rocket Booster Footage

On June 28, 2016, NASA test-fired a solid rocket booster being built for its Space Launch System rocket. The test went well… but it wasn’t the only thing being tested. A sophisticated new type of camera was also getting a shakedown run: It can record very bright and very faint objects all at the same time. Show More Summary

Blue Origin Test Flight Was a Successful Failure. Literally, in Fact.

Some good news from Blue Origin: Jeff Bezos, the CEO of the rocket company, reports that the last test flight, where one of the three crew capsule parachutes was intentionally undeployed, was a success. This was the fourth flight ofShow More Summary

Re-Entering Chinese Rocket Booster Lights Up Western United States Skies

On Wednesday night, at around 9:30 p.m. Pacific time, a huge fireball lit up the sky from California to Utah. Moving eerily slowly, bits of it were seen to fall off like sparks as it made its way across the sky. Twitter lit up like the fireball itself at the time, and I was flooded with replies and queries. Show More Summary

Time-Lapse: The Skies Over Dry Tortugas

How have I never heard of Dry Tortugas National Park until now? It’s a little over 100 km west of Key West, Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s pretty remote, accessible only by boat or seaplane, and has an interesting history. It’s...Show More Summary

EPIC Earth: A Year of Days from Space

NASA has released a pretty amazing video: It consists of over 3000 images of Earth taken by the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) on the DSCOVR spacecraft. DSCOVR is in a special orbit, 1.5 million kilometers closer to the Sun than Earth, that keeps it more or less between the Earth and Sun. Show More Summary

These Are the Anti-Heroes We Don't Deserve

So you’re anti-reality and anti-human-driven climate change, but you can’t find any way to get your kids to listen to you about it? I have just what you need: Anti-heroes for the age of anti-science. Presenting Climate Inaction Figures!...Show More Summary

March … I Mean April… I Mean May… I Mean June 2016 Is the 6th … I Mean 7th… I Mean 8th … I Mean 9th Temperature Record-Breaking Month in a Row

N.B. If this article sounds familiar, it should. This has been happening so frequently I just copied the post for March April May and updated it. October. November. December. January. February. March. April. May And now June. For the...Show More Summary

Time-Lapse: Vorticity

Mike Olbinksi is a wedding photographer based out of Arizona. He’s also a storm chaser, and creates jaw-dropping time-lapse animations of weather systems that have to be seen to be believed (like “Monsoon II”, and one of a Texas supercell...Show More Summary

I’m a Loner, Dottie. A Dwarf Galaxy.

Poor UGC 4879. Doomed to wander the Universe forever, alone. Or is it? Dun dun dunnnn. UGC 4879 is a dwarf galaxy, a small collection of stars, gas, and dust located about 4.5 million light years away from us. The Milky Way, our galaxy, is part of a small clutch of galaxies called the Local Group, which is a few million light years across. Show More Summary

Follow-Up: Jupiter’s Moons Dance As Juno Approached

Last night, for the first time in nearly two decades, humanity added a new moon to Jupiter: The spacecraft Juno successfully entered orbit around the giant planet, beginning a nearly two-year-long mission to study Jupiter’s interior and determine its origin story. You can read all about that in my post from last night. Show More Summary

Jupiter Looms Ahead for Juno

On July 5, 2016, at 03:18 UTC (July 4 at 11:18 p.m. Eastern US time), the Juno spacecraft will ignite its main engine. It will burn for 35 minutes, and when it’s done the spacecraft will be doing something a NASA mission hasn’t doneShow More Summary

Small Meteorite Punches Through Roof of House in Thailand

In the early morning of Tuesday, June 28, 2016, a small rock that is very likely a meteorite fell onto a house in Phitsanulok's Muang district, punching a hole in the roof and doing some minor damage inside. Apparently many people in...Show More Summary

A Sunday Morning Brain Teaser For You

Hey, I know just you want on a Sunday morning! A physics problem! If it helps, think of it as a brain teaser. Like many such, it’s deceptively simple, but when you start to think about it a lot of concepts collide and it’s not as obvious as you might suppose at first glance. Here’s my friend Dianna Cowern, aka Physics Girl, with the brain-stumper. Show More Summary

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