What’s That Bright Star At Dawn?

Several people have asked me in recent days what that bright “star” is shining near the sun at dawn. It’s Venus, brightest of the planets. Venus was in inferior conjunction with the sun on March 25, the date it wrapped up its evening sky run. During inferior conjunction, a planet passes between the Earth and sun…
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Global Telescope Seeks First Black Hole Photo

Astronomers have been busy this week using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) to make the first-ever pictures of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The project began on April 5 and will finish on the 14th. Rather than a single telescope, the EVT will link eight radio telescopes around…
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Heavenly Ho Ho Ho! From A Cosmic Santa Claus

If you look closely, you might be able to picture the face of Santa Claus in these festive pink clouds. You’re seeing two overlapping glowing nebulas called NGC 248 in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), a small galaxy that orbits the Milky Way like a planet orbit the sun. Intense radiation from hot young stars in the center…
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Astronomers Plan To Take First Picture Of A Black Hole Next April

On two nights in April 2017, eight observatories around the planet will function together as one Earth-size telescope to simultaneously observe Sagittarius A* (Sagittarius A star), the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Collectively known as the Event Horizon Telescope, this will be humanity’s first attempt to get an image of a black hole.…
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Astronomers Discover ‘Ghost Galaxy’ Made Of 99.99% Dark Matter

Dark matter is infuriating. It’s everywhere, outnumbering regular matter by 5 to 1. Yet it doesn’t reveal itself to our eyes or telescopes. Dark matter gives off no light and interacts with ordinary matter in just one way — through gravity. By measuring how much it tugs on stars and galaxies, we can estimate the…
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