A model of the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft ( R) docking with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module (L). © Jason Lee / Reuters

See China’s Tiangong-1 Space Station Before It’s No More

China’s first space station, Tiangong-1 or Heavenly Palace, is out of control and doomed to fall to Earth in the second half of 2017. Should you worry? Not really. Two-thirds of the planet is covered in water and much of the remainder is either uninhabited or thinly so, making the chance of any one individual being…
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ALMA surveyed the Hubble Ultra Deep Field in the southern constellation Fornax the furnace, uncovering new details of the star-forming history of the universe. This close-up image reveals one such galaxy (orange), rich in carbon monoxide, showing it's primed for star formation. The blue blobs and spirals are galaxies photographed by Hubble. Credit: B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF); ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); NASA/ESA Hubble

ALMA Goes Fossil Hunting With Hubble, Discovers Gassy Past

Back in 2004 the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UDF) images blew our minds. 10,000 galaxies visible in an otherwise empty region of sky 1/10th the diameter of the full moon. How’s that? If every fly-speck of sky is similarly jammed with stellar pinwheels, there must be billions of galaxies above us. And there are! These spectacular…
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Credit: Bob King

It’s Fall Again! Time For A Trip To The Celestial Equator

Cool breezes are back, and the outdoors color palette is shifting toward the red end of the spectrum. Spring begins Thursday morning (Sept. 22) at 9:21 a.m. Central Daylight time. Nice to know things will be warming up again so soon. Wait a sec. That’s the southern hemisphere. Here in the north, it’s the first…
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Aurora Sept. 19, 2016. Credit: Bob King

Aurora Right On Schedule Tonight

I’m always tickled and amazed when an aurora is forecast, and it happens exactly at the predicted time. So it was earlier tonight and may still be now. Although the waning gibbous moon is finally climbing above the horizon, I could still see a foggy greenish rainbow splayed across the northern sky in despite moonlight. This aurora,…
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Credit: ESO / L. Calcada

How Big Are Black Holes?

It’s hard to visualize a black hole because you can’t see one directly. A black hole’s gravity is so strong not even light can escape. Without light to let us know it’s there, we see only darkness, hence the name. Luckily, there are several ways to know they’re there. Black holes can be “seen” by calculating how…
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