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Supernova Fail: Giant Dying Star Collapses Straight into Black Hole

It appears the path to becoming a black hole is more complex than astronomers thought. Rather than exploding into a supernova before collapsing into a black hole, as expected, one giant star skipped the pyrotechnics and went straight to the collapse.  This so-called “massive fail,” spotted in a nearby galaxy, could explain why so few […]

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The Cosmic Scales: Spot Libra Constellation in the Night Sky

The constellation Libra, the Scales. Here’s a trivia question for you. Of the 12 zodiacal signs , only one is an inanimate object. Which is it?  The answer is the Balance, or Scales, known to horoscope readers everywhere as Libra. I still remember: When I gave my very first lecture at New York’s Hayden Planetarium […]

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More Jupiter Weirdness: Giant Planet May Have Huge, 'Fuzzy' Core

 Jupiter’s deep interior appears to be as strange and otherworldly as the gas giant’s storm-studded exterior, new observations by NASA’s Juno spacecraft suggest. Scientists have generally thought that Jupiter either harbors a relatively compact core 1 to 10 times as massive as Earth or no core at all, said Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton, who’s […]

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Jupiter's Rings from the Inside! First-Ever View Captured by Juno

Humanity now has a new perspective on Jupiter’s rings, thanks to NASA’s Juno spacecraft. During its initial data-collecting dive over Jupiter’s poles on Aug. 27, 2016, Juno captured the first-ever photo of the giant planet’s faint ring system from the inside, mission team members revealed Thursday (May 25). The photo, which Juno took with its […]

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'We Don't Planet' Episode 5: The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram

If you sampled the hundreds of billions of stars in any galaxy and plotted their luminosity (their brightness measured from a fixed distance — so, in other words, their “true” brightness) and their color, you might expect the points to be essentially scattered around randomly. But the work of Ejnar Hertzsprung and Henry Russell around […]

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Star's Comet-Like Icy Debris Ring Captured in New Video, Images

A ring of icy debris in a young, nearby planetary system resembles comets found in our own solar system, new images reveal. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) recently captured the images, which show the debris disk in unprecedented detail. The Fomalhaut system is located roughly 25 light-years from Earth, and is believed to be […]

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Spacecraft Galileo: To Jupiter and Its Moons

An artist’s conception of the Galileo spacecraft, which was launched in 1989 for a mission to Jupiter. Galileo was the first spacecraft to examine Jupiter and its moons for an extended period. It launched from the payload bay of space shuttle Atlantis in 1989, got some speed boosts by swinging past Earth twice and Venus […]

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Space, astronomy and science